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Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet (The MIT Press)
How solar could spark a clean-energy transition through transformative innovation—creative financing, revolutionary technologies, and flexible energy systems.Solar energy, once a niche application for a limited market, has become the cheapest and fastest-growing power source on earth. What's more, its potential is nearly limitless—every hour the sun beams down more energy than the world uses in a year. But in Taming the Sun, energy expert Varun Sivaram warns that the world is not yet equipped to harness erratic sunshine to meet most of its energy needs. And if solar's current surge peters out, prospects for replacing fossil fuels and averting catastrophic climate change will dim.Innovation can brighten those prospects, Sivaram explains, drawing on firsthand experience and original research spanning science, business, and government. Financial innovation is already enticing deep-pocketed investors to fund solar projects around the world, from the sunniest deserts to the poorest villages. Technological innovation could replace today's solar panels with coatings as cheap as paint and employ artificial photosynthesis to store intermittent sunshine as convenient fuels. And systemic innovation could add flexibility to the world's power grids and other energy systems so they can dependably channel the sun's unreliable energy.Unleashing all this innovation will require visionary public policy: funding researchers developing next-generation solar technologies, refashioning energy systems and economic markets, and putting together a diverse clean energy portfolio. Although solar can't power the planet by itself, it can be the centerpiece of a global clean energy revolution.A Council on Foreign Relations Book
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 02/23/2018
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 370 pages

Digital Decarbonization: Promoting Digital Innovations to Advance Clean Energy Systems
A digital revolution is sweeping the global energy sector. As energy industries produce ever more data, firms are harnessing greater computing power, advances in data science, and increased digital connectivity to exploit that data. These trends have the potential to transform the way energy is produced, transported, and consumed.An important potential benefit of this digital transformation of energy is a reduction in global emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change; the elimination of such emissions from the global economy is known as decarbonization. By enabling clean energy systems that rely on low-carbon energy sources and are highly efficient in using energy, digital innovations in the energy sector can speed decarbonization. Yet they are not guaranteed to do so. In fact, digital innovations could well increase global greenhouse emissions, for example, by making it easier to extract fossil fuels.To determine the potential for digital technologies to speed a clean energy transition and to make recommendations to promote this outcome, the Council on Foreign Relations convened a workshop in New York, on February 22 and 23, 2018. Participants laid out a wide range of areas in which digital technologies are already enabling clean energy systems and could achieve much more; they also cautioned about serious risks that will attend the digitalization of energy and need to be managed; and they articulated actionable recommendations for policymakers in the United States and abroad to ensure that digital innovations bring societal benefits and, in particular, speed decarbonization. Digital Decarbonization summarizes the insights from this workshop and includes contributions from fourteen expert authors delving into these topics.CONTENTSVarun Sivaram: IntroductionStephen D. Comello: Trends in Early-Stage Financing for Clean Energy InnovationDavid G. Victor: Digitalization: An Equal Opportunity Wave of Energy InnovationLidija Sekaric: A Survey of Digital Innovations for a Decentralized and Transactive Electric Power SystemBen Hertz-Shargel: How Distribution Energy Markets Could Enable a Lean and Reliable Power SystemPeter Fox-Penner: The Implications of Vehicle Electrification and Autonomy for Global DecarbonizationRohit T. Aggarwala: Autonomous Vehicles and Cities: Expectations, Uncertainties, and Policy ChoicesKyle Bradbury: How Data Science Can Enable the Evolution of Energy SystemsSunil Garg: Applying Data Science to Promote Renewable EnergyErfan Ibrahim: Managing the Cybersecurity Risks of an Increasingly Digital Power SystemJesse Scott: Managing the Economic and Privacy Risks Arising From Digital Innovations in EnergyRichard Kauffman and John O’Leary: How State-Level Regulatory Reform Can Enable the Digital Grid of the FutureHiang Kwee Ho: Lessons from Singapore’s Approach to Developing Clean and Digital Energy Systems
Publication date: 06/13/2018
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 155 pages