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Our Renewable Future: Laying the Path for One Hundred Percent Clean Energy

David Fridley Richard Heinberg

June 2, 2016

The next few decades will see a profound energy transformation throughout the world. By the end of the century (and perhaps sooner), we will shift from fossil fuel dependence to rely primarily on renewable sources like solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal power. Driven by the need to avert catastrophic climate change and by the depletion of easily accessible oil, coal, and natural gas, this transformation will entail a major shift in how we live. What might a 100% renewable future look like? Which technologies will play a crucial role in our energy future? What challenges will we face in this transition? And how can we make sure our new system is just and equitable?

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In Our Renewable Future, energy expert Richard Heinberg and scientist David Fridley explore the challenges and opportunities presented by the shift to renewable energy. Beginning with a comprehensive overview of our current energy system, the authors survey issues of energy supply and demand in key sectors of the economy, including electricity generation, transportation, buildings, and manufacturing. In their detailed review of each sector, the authors examine the most crucial challenges we face, from intermittency in fuel sources to energy storage and grid redesign. The book concludes with a discussion of energy and equity and a summary of key lessons and steps forward at the individual, community, and national level.

The transition to clean energy will not be a simple matter of replacing coal with wind power or oil with solar; it will require us to adapt our energy usage as dramatically as we adapt our energy sources. Our Renewable Future is a clear-eyed and urgent guide to this transformation, and a crucial resource for policymakers and energy activists.

Published by Island Press. 2016. Paperback 248 pages. ISBN: 9781610917797.

French version: Un futur renouvelable : tracer les contours de la transition énergétique (Écosociété, 2019)

Praise for Our Renewable Future

One of GreenBiz’s Six Best Sustainability Books of 2016 

“A fascinating look at some of the ways our energy future may play out—and a reminder that every day we delay getting serious about climate change will make the eventual reckoning that much more difficult.”
—Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

“The future of renewable energy is obscured by ignorance, noise, ideology, and all sorts of misconceptions —from both cornucopians and catastrophists. Our Renewable Future describes the reality: the transition is possible, but it won’t be easy.”
—Ugo Bardi, University of Florence and The Club of Rome

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Our Renewable Future from Security & Sustainability Forum on Vimeo.