What are some of the best books about renewable energy?

I want to learn a lot more about renewable energy. Could you tell me the best technical books and books on the economics of renewables. I’m looking both for survey type books written at an undergraduate level and more technical books at a beginning graduate level. – John H., NY, NY

Well, John, there are so many great books at varying levels of sophistication, I am hard pressed to find exactly the right ones. Below, I have focused on undergraduate overarching books and articles with some emphasis on economics and value. First, I believe my top three books on economics and environment are: State of the World (the yearly series published by the Worldwatch Institute), http://www.worldwatch.org/pubs/sow/2005/ Earth in the Balance (yes, by former Vice President Al Gore) and Natural Capitalism (written by Rocky Mountain Institute founder Amory Lovins) as well as his other great books including Brittle Power. The second set of four books (some are out of print) would be a compendium Renewable Energy: Sources for Fuels and Electricity (by Johansson, Kelly, Reddy & Williams) published in 1993 by Island Press, Renewable Energy: The Power to Choose (by Deudney & Flavin) 1983 by WW. Norton and Company, The Forbidden Fuel: Power Alcohol in the 20th Century (by Bernton, Kovarik & Sklar) 1982 by Boyd Griffin, Inc., and still in print Seeing the Light, 2001 (by David Morris of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, www.ilsr.org). For do-it-your-selfers, the two classics are: The Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook – now in it’s 12th edition – 600 pages with over 500,000 sold worldwide, and the Consumer Guide to Solar Energy, now in it’s third printing. www.realgoods.com www.bonusbooks.com Third, the best recent articles worth your time are: “Quantifying the Benefits of Solar Power for California”, a white paper by Ed Smeloff, see the “study” under “Publications” at: http://votesolar.org/tools.html, The Renewable Energy Transition: Can It Really Happen?, by Donald W. Aitken – Solar Today, January-February 2005http://www.solarcatalyst. com/solarcircle/Aitken-SolarToday.pdf, The climate stabilization challenge: Can renewable energy sources meet the target? by Donald W. Aitken, Lynn L. Billman and Stanley R. Bull, http://www.solarcatalyst.com/solarcircle/AitkenBull-REW.pdf, Dennis Hayes’ (founder of SUN DAY) recent article: “The Solar Imperative” at Seattle University at: http://www.seattleu.edu/events/detail.asp?sID=4589 and “Solar Water Heating as a Climate Protection Strategy: The Role for Carbon Finance” at http://www.green-markets.org/Downloads/SWH_carbon.pdf. Finally, keeping up on major web sites like RenewableEnergyAccess, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and magazines such as Solar Today always bring timely studies, articles and books to the forefront. Think tanks like the World Resources Institute (WRI), Worldwatch Institute, Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) are worth visiting regularly as well. There is no way to comprehensively suggest all the great resources – past and present – in this small space, but this is a good start. – Scott
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Scott, founder and president of The Stella Group, Ltd., in Washington, DC, is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and The Solar Foundation. The Stella Group, Ltd., a strategic marketing and policy firm for clean distributed energy users and companies using renewable energy, energy efficiency and storage. Sklar is an Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University teaching two unique interdisciplinary courses on sustainable energy, and is an Affiliated Professor of CATIE, the graduate university based in Costa Rica. . On June 19, 2014, Scott Sklar was awarded the prestigious The Charles Greely Abbot Award by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and on April 26, 2014 was awarded the Green Patriot Award by George Mason University in Virginia.

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