Few science books are worth reading each and every page. Climatism, by Steve Gorham, (reviewed here in March) is an exception. Power Hungry is not, but without doubt it contains more than enough great information to make it a terrific buy for anyone with a strong interest in the nation’s energy supply.... A full 54 pages devoted to references illustrate the comprehensive research Bryce has done, as well as the quality of his sources. He is at his best destroying many of the myths regarding renewable energy, providing powerful mathematical proofs that anyone can understand.... The primary theme of this book is the importance of power density. As Bryce thoroughly documents, coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power provide such power density while wind, solar, and biofuels do not. You will not find a book on energy that makes this important point more strongly than this one.
Heartland Institute, September 4, 2010, by Jay Lehr
Bryce deftly sets out to debunk the myths of the ever popular going green campaign and answers more specific technological difficulties and cost containment issues. “The hard truth is that we must make decisions about how to proceed on energy very carefully, because America simply cannot afford to waste any more money on programs that fail to meet the Four Imperatives.” His views will undoubtedly be rejected or disbelieved, but he backs up those views with hard evidence provoking the reader to do the math for themselves, verify statistics and basically, check up on him with more than ninety pages of references, statistical appendixes ,and energy data notes. This is the must-read book for the Twenty-First century.
San Francisco Book Review, August 28, 2010, by M. Chris Johnson
...the promise of renewables has consistently been oversold by the political class. Solar and wind energy both suffer from major structural deficiencies. As Bryce observes, they are “incurably intermittent” and very difficult to store, and have low power density. Because of their low density, solar and wind “require huge swaths of land — which often becomes unusable for other purposes.” ...Our current national energy debate is heavy on passion and hyperbole; it could use a sizable dose of historical perspective and empirical reality. In that sense, Smil and Bryce have done a valuable service. Their new books should be mandatory reading for U.S. policymakers.
The National Review, August 2, 2010, by Duncan Currie
...I have long known that there is nothing remotely "green" about putting wind farms all over the countryside, with their eagle-slicing, bat-popping, subsidy-eating, rare-earth-demanding, steel-rich, intermittent-output characteristics. But until I read Robert Bryce’s superb and sober new book Power Hungry, I had not realised just how dreadfully bad for the environment nearly all renewable energy is. ...Bryce’s book is more than a demolition of renewable energy. It contains a fascinating and detailed account of the shale gas revolution and of the latest developments in modular nuclear technology. It makes a persuasive case that this century will be dominated by `N2N’ energy – natural gas to nuclear – and that the consequence of the rise of both will be continuing steady decarbonisation of the economy. This is the best book on energy I have read. It confirms my optimism – and my rejection of the renewable myth.
The Rational Optimist, July 26, 2010, by Matt Ridley
This is a blatant plug for a wonderfully frank book by Robert Bryce, “Power Hungry: The myths of ‘green’ energy and the real fuels of the future.” It won’t be well-received by greenies and global warmists. Bryce, incidentally, has 3,200 watts of solar photovoltaic panels on his house’s roof, though after breakdowns, monthly roof-top mopping to keep them clean and substantial cost (despite subsidies) to put them there, he wonders aloud “if they were really worth it.” That aside, Bryce sums up his energy policy as simply (and a lot like everyone else’s on earth when you scrape away the faux ideology): “I’m in favor of air conditioning and cold beer.” ...We recommend you break through the media “happy talk,” as Bryce describes it, and the ideologically green Utopian thinking and pick up a copy of “Power Hungry…” Until you’re persuaded he’s right, you can read it by candlelight. But by Chapter 1, you’ll have flipped the light switch on and maybe settled into air-conditioned comfort with a cold beer.
Washington Times, May 31, 2010, by Martin Sieff
Robert Bryce is an energy realist. So reading him is refreshing. First, because most people when discussing matters of energy are either ill- or misinformed, naive, liars, or have a personal stake in the policy outcomes. Second, because everytime I read something by Bryce, I learn something new — and I usually learn a new, persuasive, way to make points that I’ve tried to make previously. In his 2008 book, Gusher of Lies, he showed that he brooks no fantasies, fairy tales, or pie-in-the-sky predictions or proposals about how the United State can (or should) become energy independent, as so many politicians and pundits claim is possible. His latest book — and first in his new role as a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute — Bryce undertakes the same laser-like dismantling of the myth that so-called green energy can displace fossil fuels anytime in the near future. It’s called Power Hungry — and you should read it.
National Review Online, June 17, 2010, by Sterling Burnett
...his magnificently unfashionable, superlatively researched new book dares to fly in the face of all current conventional wisdom and cant. It points out that there is no short-term substitute for hydrocarbon fossil fuels - except for nuclear energy - to maintain adequate quantities of cost-effective energy to sustain prosperity for 300 million Americans through the 21st century. I have never yet found any book or author who does a more thorough, unanswerable job of demolishing universally held environmental myths than Mr. Bryce does. He does not fall back on false environmental fairy tales and fake-science wind farms, which he points out require 45 times the land mass that nuclear power plants do.
Washington Times, May 31, 2010, by Martin Sieff
Bryce douses the green energy movement with a cold shower of facts and figures, ones that collectively remind us that a transition to wind and solar power would take decades, that it would be astronomically expensive, that it would make the U.S. reliant on China for turbines, and that it would lead to “energy sprawl.” For all the intuitive appeal of renewable energy, Power Hungry makes a convincing case that decarbonizing the world’s primary energy use will mean letting the sun shine and the wind blow while embracing natural gas as a bridge to nuclear energy.
Freakonomics blog, May 17, 2010, by James McWilliams
Bryce has produced a well-argued set of challenges to much of conventional wisdom in popular discussions of energy policy. For this reason, I will be adding this book to the syllabus for my fall graduate seminar as a way to introduce students to challenges of energy policy and to get their attention. Power Hungry with do both. Bryce's arguments force a reaction that requires engaging the simple mathematics of energy and emissions. In the end, whether you wind up agreeing or disagreeing with his policy arguments, engaging the arguments and the numbers on which they are based is well worth your time.
Roger Pielke Jr.'s Blog, May 13, 2010, by Roger Pielke Jr.
Bryce shows that just one modern coal mine in Kentucky, the 35th largest in America, produces nearly as much energy as all wind and solar in the U.S. And the natural gas production from just one state, Oklahoma, produces well over nine times as much energy as all U.S. wind and solar.
The American Spectator, May 5, 2010, by Peter Ferrara.
"Power Hungry" unfolds as a brutal, brilliant exploration of this profoundly deluded quest, from fingers-in-the-ears "la-la-la-ing" at the mention of nuclear power to the illusion that we are rapidly running out of oil or that we can turn to biomass for salvation: Since it takes 10,000 tons of wood to produce one megawatt of electricity, for instance, the U.S. will be chopping down forests faster than it can grow them.
The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2010, by Trevor Butterworth
...suffice to say, Bryce has compiled a catalogue of hard facts and statistics that puncture just about every myth you will read in breathless accounts of the coming "Green Economy."
The American Spectator, April 26, 2010, by William Tucker
As it is, Power Hungry provides a grand tour of our energy landscape in the best journalistic tradition of serving the public good, exposing the cant of received wisdom and using the authority and weight of good numbers to put ideas into proper perspective. Bryce’s numbers provide giant shoulders upon which to stand, allowing us to see farther and better, increasing our knowledge and improving the odds for institutional wisdom. There are few things more important to the world’s life, liberty, and happiness than an enhanced ability to convert abundant energy into high power at affordable cost. Robert Bryce, with buoyant bonhomie, marks the way.
Master Resource, April 27, 2010, by Jon Boone