The best books on the people and places leading the clean energy revolution

Clark A. Miller Author Of Cities of Light: A Collection of Solar Futures
By Clark A. Miller

The Books I Picked & Why

Revolutionary Power: An Activist's Guide to the Energy Transition

By Shalanda Baker

Revolutionary Power: An Activist's Guide to the Energy Transition

Why this book?

There’s no better place to start exploring the revolutionary potential of renewable energy than Revolutionary Power. The new justice tsar at the US Department of Energy, Baker takes you inside the struggle of African American communities with the environmental injustices of fossil fuels. No industry has created more inequality, violence, injustice, pollution, and corruption, worldwide, over its history than energy. The great hope of renewable energy is to solve climate change while also restoring justice: creating new energy technologies and also new practices of energy development, new forms of ownership, and new ways to integrate technology generatively into communities and landscapes. In the story of her life and her community, Baker illustrates why the quest for energy justice and democracy is critical to the success of the clean energy revolution.


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Energy Overlays: Land Art Generator Initiative

By Elizabeth Monoian, Robert Ferry

Energy Overlays: Land Art Generator Initiative

Why this book?

Humans are creatures driven by what we see happening around us and the stories we tell about those events. And, for more and more of us, cities are where daily life happens. So, the future of cities as places and spaces of human engagement and interaction really matters. Energy Overlays and the Land Art Generator’s other amazing books create a window into how renewable energy might transform the future of urban spaces, places, people, and stories. Prompted by a simple question, “What if energy was also public art?” the Land Art Generator hosts bi-annual global design competitions in collaboration with some of the world’s most iconic cities. The result is a rich and magical tour of the urban future, envisioned by leading architects, urban planners, and energy imaginaries.


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Energy at the End of the World: An Orkney Islands Saga

By Laura Watts

Energy at the End of the World: An Orkney Islands Saga

Why this book?

At their best, anthropologists open up for readers the infinite variety of what it means to be human. Laura Watts is the best. More than just an incisive cultural analyst, Watts is a skilled poet and storyteller. Her book about renewable energy innovation in the Orkney Islands takes us, literally and figuratively, to the end of the world. We learn what it means to live in a world wrought by energy technologies. We walk among all different kinds of people who have the imagination and the gumption to try to re-imagine and re-energize that world in radically new ways. And along the way, we begin to see how all of those people come together, in one place, in odd collaborations, to make futures for the rest of us.


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Solar Power: Innovation, Sustainability, and Environmental Justice

By Dustin Mulvaney

Solar Power: Innovation, Sustainability, and Environmental Justice

Why this book?

Power. We all need it. In the future, a lot of it will be solar. By 2050, half or more of global energy will come via photovoltaic technologies. That’s 100+ billion solar panels, with an annual churn of 2-4 billion. Which makes the solar industry one of the most important on the planet. Solar Power takes a hard look inside the solar industry: its materials, processes, facilities, workforces, waste streams, and landscapes. Mulvaney pulls no punches, but his fundamental message is simple: there are a lot of different ways to make and deploy 100 billion solar panels. The choices we make will have huge implications for how the benefits, costs, and risks of solar energy get distributed across different groups of people. Just like any other giant industry.


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Infomocracy: Book One of the Centenal Cycle

By Malka Older

Infomocracy: Book One of the Centenal Cycle

Why this book?

Infomocracy is the most prescient book I’ve ever read. Seemingly, though, it has nothing to do with energy. So why is it here? Because data engineers are writing the future of energy alongside everything else. And Older, more than anyone, grocks that data is not just technology, it’s democracy, and humanity. She also understands that, when technologies leave the lab or start-up company, innovation doesn’t end; it’s only just beginning. Engineers don’t create the future; we all do. We choose technologies. We use them in our own ways, for our own purposes. In the process, we remake technology, and we remake ourselves. Infomocracy teaches us that we engineer technology. That’s the most important lesson about the clean energy future: it’s ours to make, alongside a new human future.


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