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Keeping the Lights On

Towards Sustainable Electricity

By Walt Patterson

We are making a mess of energy. What we’re doing with it is leaving people in the dark and endangering the planet. But we could do much better. Keeping the Lights On shows how. In immediate, accessible, everyday language it describes a different way to think about energy, what we want from it and how we get it.

Drawn from over 35 years of work from one of the leading voices in the field, the book describes how we have persisted in getting energy and electricity wrong. It suggests how we could go about getting them right, improving energy security and services while reducing costs and vulnerability, globally and rapidly. It offers a concise, focused and coherent presentation of an important central thesis: that electricity is an infrastructure issue, so we have to stop treating it as a commodity issue. The book discusses the timely and heated debates surrounding energy in an accessible and entertaining tone. It also includes a guide to terminology and a list of key organizations and contacts in the field. It gives a comprehensive introduction to the most important issues, providing the reader with innovative and expert ideas and solutions. K eeping the Lights On challenges sterile and damaging misconceptions, with an exhilarating vision of a brighter future. We can make energy use more reliable, more equitable, and more sustainable, for ourselves and our children, starting with electricity, starting now.

“Combining extraordinary historical insight with the sharpest analysis of where we are now, Walt Patterson carves out the most applied and practical of ‘road maps’ as to where we need to go if we are to deliver a genuinely sustainable electricity system for the future.”—Jonathon Porritt CBE, chair, UK Sustainable Development Commission

“Clearly thought out, simply written, and straight to the heart of the major issues in energy today.”—Ronan Palmer, chief economist, UK Environment Agency

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