The renewable and alternative energy markets and energy policy have evolved rapidly in recent years. Although a rapidly expanding part of the nation’s energy portfolio, renewable energy will need to grow significantly if a dominant clean energy paradigm is to be achieved. In this fully revised and expanded third edition author Christopher Simon discusses the basic technical aspects of major renewable energy systems and technological developments and considers the impact of politics on energy policy using contemporary theories of public policy, as well as discussing the evolution of the social feasibility of renewable energy.
Simon addresses the underlying rationale for alternative energies and how policymaking and innovation function in this arena. In-depth coverage of solar, wind, and geothermal energy, as well as other modern fuels, set the stage for the current challenges around energy storage, reforming the power grid, and artificial intelligence in energy markets. Fully revised to bring the discussion up to date through President Biden’s administration, this edition considers nuclear power developments and feasibility in the post-Fukushima policy environment and addresses current international commitment to renewable energy.
Features of the Third Edition include:
Christopher A. Simon (Ph.D., 1997, Washington State University) is Professor of Political Science and a former Director of the MPA Program at The University of Utah. He conducts research in alternative energy policy; civic community and volunteerism; education policy; criminal justice policy; Homeland Security policy; land use policy; public administration; immigration policy/sanctuary cities; international development aid policy; and military sociology. He is co-author of Sanctuary Ordinances: The Contemporary Politics of Immigrant Assimilation in America; The Energy Security Dilemma: US Policy and Practice; and State and Local Government: Sustainability in the 21st Century; and, sole author of Alternative Energy: Political, Economic, and Social Feasibility; Public Policy: Preferences and Outcomes; and To Run a School: Administrative Organization and Learning. He has published articles in numerous academic journals.
In 2008, he was named Technology Educator of the Year by the Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology for his published work on renewable energy and renewable energy course development at the University of Nevada, Reno.
List of Illustrations
About the Author
1Why Alternative Energy and Fuels?
Climate Change and Carbon
Energy and Water
Carbon-Based Fuels: Current and Future Availability
Common Fossil Energy Sources: U.S. Supply and Use
Culture Shifts and the Rise of Green Politics
Green Politics and Environmental Public Interest Groups
New Environmental Paradigm and Alternative Energy
Institutional Change and Influence
Global Demands and Conflict
2Studying Public Policy and Alternative Energy/Fuels
Roles for Public Policy in Alternative Energy/Fuel Development
Bottom-Up Policy Making/Top-Down Policy Making
Collaborative Policy Making
Federalism and Energy Policy
Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD)
Multiple Streams (MS)
Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF)
Punctuated Equilibrium (PE)
Narrative Policy Framework (NPF)
Native Americans, Tribal Lands, and Renewable Energy
3Alternative Energy/Fuels as a Public Policy Innovation
Defining Alternative Energy and Alternative Fuels
What Are Alternative Fuels?
Policy Innovation and Alternative Energy
The Waves of Policy Innovation
Oil Shock I/Pre-PURPA 1970s (1973–1978)
Secondary Oil Shock Period (1979–1982)
Resurgence of Cheap(er) Petroleum and Growth of Deregulation (1983–1999)
Bush I: EPAct Reauthorization (1992)
Clinton and Post-EPAct 1992 Reauthorization (1992–2005)
Bush II: EPAct 2005 Reauthorization, ESIA 2007, FERC Order Innovations, and Electricity Markets (2001–2009)
Obama: ARRA 2009, Coal Rules, and Paris Agreement (2009–2017)
Trump: Resurgence of Coal, Reversal of Climate Policy, Energy Act of 2020 (2017–2021)
Biden: Re-Engagement of Climate Policy, COP26, Infrastructure Renewal, Funding of Energy Act of 2020 (2021-present)
What Is Solar Energy? How Does It Work?
Silicon-Based Photovoltaic Cells
Technical Feasibility of Solar Photovoltaics
Technical Feasibility of Solar Thermal
Economics of Solar Power
Current Solar PV Energy Economic Infrastructure and Levelized Cost of Electricity
Economics of Solar Thermal—Concentrating Solar Power
Economic Development Impacts
Case Study—Heritage Plaza Parking Lot Improvements Project: Solar PV Carport Installation, Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
Federal Solar Energy Technologies Program
Major Federal Solar Incentives
Personal Tax Incentives for Solar PV and Solar Thermal
State and Local Efforts
What Is Wind Power? How Does It Work?
Technical Feasibility of Wind Power Systems
Economic Feasibility of Wind Power Systems
Political and Social Feasibility of Wind Energy
What Is Geothermal Energy? How Does It Work?
Case Study—California Job Growth and Geothermal Development
Safety, Environmental Damage, and Emission-Related Issues: Geothermal Energy
Technical Feasibility of Geothermal Energy
Other Forms of Direct Use
Flash Steam Power
Economics of Geothermal Energy
Federal Geothermal Energy Programming
7New Century Fuels and Their Uses
Fuel as a Concept
Other Alternative Fuels
The Hydrogen Initiative
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
Technical Feasibility Issues
Economic Feasibility Issues
Other Types of Fuel Cells Currently in Use and/or Under Development
Alkaline Fuel Cells (AFC)
Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC)
Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells (MCFC)
Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cells (PAFC)
Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC)
Applications for Next-Generation Alternative Fuels, Fuel Cells
8 Energy Storage Technology and the Automotive Industry
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
BEVs and Consumer Behavior Issues
9Reforming the Power Grid
The Power Grid
RM21-17-000 Building the Future Through Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation and Generator Interconnection
Who Pays for the Power Grid?
Transmission Grid, Public and Native American Lands
10 Artificial Intelligence and Energy
Artificial Intelligence: Origins and Meaning
AI, Alternative Energy, and the Power Grid
Narrow AI, Strong AI, and the Future
The Economics of AI
Economics and AI
Smart Grid, AI, and Public Policy
11Historical Precedents: Alternative Energy/Fuels and Legitimacy Issues
Risk and Culture: Alternative Energy and Hidden Costs
The Rebirth of Nuclear Energy?
12Conceptualizing Alternative Energy Policy and Future Directions
The Movement of Public Opinion
Christopher Simon’s Alternative Energy: Political, Economic, and Social Feasibility, 3rd Edition, is an essential guide for those seeking a deep understanding of the intricate dynamics driving the transition to alternative energy. Simon expertly navigates the intersection of technology, politics, and societal factors, providing a nuanced analysis of renewable energy feasibility. With comprehensive coverage of solar, wind, geothermal energy, and modern fuels, the book addresses key challenges like energy storage, power grid reform, and the role of artificial intelligence in energy markets. Updated to include developments through President Biden’s administration, it critically assesses nuclear power post-Fukushima and evaluates international commitments to renewable energy. Simon’s authoritative and up-to-date analysis makes Alternative Energy an indispensable resource for students, policymakers, researchers, and those interested in understanding the complexities of our global energy transition.
The world is undeniably undergoing a transition, if not a transformation, to a low-carbon economy. How society harnesses alternative forms of energy such as solar, wind, and geothermal is a central component of both understanding and possibly steering that transformation. This third edition of Alternative Energy is pivotal in equipping readers with the understanding they need of history, legitimacy, policy and even politics for engaging with this highly important topic.
Simon’s Alternative Energy provides a comprehensive discussion of renewable energy developments in the United States clearly describing the pathway through historical background to current practices. General policy perspectives and specific policy developments are brought together. The spectrum of renewable energy technology developments are discussed and well-illustrated with case studies. I have found the text to be highly accessible to a broad audience including engineering, natural resources management, environmental and sustainability studies, and business students. Simon has made a unique and important contribution.
This book includes comprehensive and timely information on renewable (solar, wind, and geothermal) and nuclear energy. The third edition significantly expands on the previous editions and adds discussions on energy storage, the power grid, and applications of AI. Readers will significantly enrich their knowledge of the technical, historical, political, and societal aspects of these subjects. My students have used both the first and second editions as the main text in our “Alternative Energy Fundamentals” course. I am eagerly anticipating the implementation of this third edition in the next class.