A Question of Power by Robert Bryce [6/10]

We all sense the importance of electricity in our lives and in humanity’s future, and “A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations,” by journalist Robert Bryce, is an exuberant, stylish paean to what he labels “the juice.” The best of this readable polemic is several first-hand accounts of electricity’s vital importance and the problems of electricity failure. A particularly enjoyable chapter digs into the incredible electricity needs of the new tech giants such as Google and Facebook. Bryce is an unashamed champion of the doubling of global electricity over the next two decades, not just for us developed nations but for the sake of the poor of the world, and it’s easy to get swept up in his polished prose. “A Question of Power” is a virile expression of a point of view that seems oddly old-fashioned in the new era of global warming urgency, and Bryce’s “N2N” philosophy – of moving to natural gas then nuclear – is a well-trodden playbook that is rehashed without much life. But even if you feel his unalarmed policy prescriptions miss the point – as I do – there is much to relish in this romp through the Juice.

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