The Energy Manager’s Reading List

If you are anything like me and my nerdy colleagues, getting a whole lot more reading done is topping your your list of New Year’s Resolutions for 2018. 

Good news for you, energy professionals: there are bunch of really great new(ish) books out there on the energy transition that are definitely worth adding to your 2018 Energy Reading List.

In this post, we list a selection of some of our favourite titles that will give you a welcome break from those dry-as-dust how-to manuals and calls for tenders. With just the right balance of entertainment and fresh knowledge, let’s give your career (and bookshelf!) a motivational boost:

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The Energy Reading List for Power Professionals

Clean Disruption

by Tony Seba

Are you an energy transition pessimist that thinks the renewables revolution is taking way too long? Here’s a bet – and a book – for you: in Clean Disruption,” Stanford professor and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Tony Seba walks through four reasons why it’s inevitable that the world will be 100% renewably powered by 2030. A glowing recommendation by Hunter Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute can be found here.

Energy and Civilization: A History

by Vaclav Smil

Yes, our history has a lot to do with kings and queens and games of thrones. But Vaclav Smil, a Czech-Canadian professor emeritus at the University of Manitoba, shows that it has even more to do with energy innovation. In Smil’s latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he explains in fascinating detail how our constantly evolving ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind human cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. Oh, and if that’s not reason enough to dive in – Bill Gates is a huge fan.

Navigating the Maze of Energy Efficiency Projects

by Jeff Julia

For many energy managers, especially those just starting out, planning and implementing energy efficiency projects can feel like being lost in a never-ending maze. The lengthy, complex and high-risk nature of energy efficiency projects is what compelled Texas-based energy manager Jeff Julia to help his fellow energy professionals out: he decided to write a book about it. Navigating the Maze of Energy Efficiency Projects is not just your typical dry, boring energy management textbook, either. This award-winning work of fiction explains the energy efficiency business and clearly lays out the six essential energy efficiency criteria for business professionals to make informed evaluations of any project.

BONUS: In this exclusive interview with Dexma, hear from Jeff on what makes a winning energy efficiency project, which technologies fit where (including, yes, blockchain for energy), and how to minimise the biggest risk factors.

The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future

by Gretchen Bakke

This book received a great deal of attention last year and for good reason: it takes a decidedly unsexy topic of an ageing national grid and makes it readable and even, at times, entertaining. Told from the perspective of a cultural anthropologist rather than an economist or engineer, Bakke’s take on the need to upgrade the energy infrastructure that powers our lives is a worthy read for 2018.

The Switch: How Solar, Storage and New Tech Means Cheap Power For All

by Chris Goodall

If Tony Seba’s prediction is too optimistic for you, try reading The Switch. Energy expert Chris Goodall claims that solar photovoltaics will make up the bulk of our global energy supply in just fifty years – both electricity and other fuels that have been manufactured using solar energy. Told through the stories of entrepreneurs, inventors and scientists from around the world, and using the latest research and studies, The Switch paints a powerfully bright picture of our solar future.

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Double bonus: Too busy for books? Try out an energy podcast!

5 Energy Podcasts Worth Listening To

If you are an energy manager that likes to multi-task and get your knowledge on the go, then the wonderful world of podcasts is waiting for you!

All the series you’ll find listed here are free, well-produced and currently churning out episodes.

Here are the 5 podcasts every energy pro should subscribe to:


 The Energy Gang – Although the energy journalism you’ll find here is focused in and on North America, the Energy Gang offers a nice mix of news and views on energy, cleantech and the environment.
The Interchange – Another GTM podcast similar to The Energy Gang, The Interchange takes a deeper dive into energy technology trends, markets, projects, company financials, mergers and acquisitions, policy changes, and market data.
Direct Current Despite being the product of the U.S. Department of Energy, this podcast is anything but dull bureaucratic drivel. If you are a fan the radio storytelling pioneers on This American Life, you’ll enjoy Direct Current with it’s short, snappy and topical episodes
The Energy Transition Show – A must-listen for energy professionals that are obsessed with transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards renewables. Chris Nelder of the Rocky Mountain Institute interviews expert guests while managing to strike a balance between technical depth and insightful commentary.
Columbia Energy Exchange In-depth conversations with the world’s top energy and climate leaders from government, business, academia and civil society discussing today’s most pressing opportunities and challenges across energy sources, financial markets, geopolitics and climate change as well as their implications.

Not so into books or podcasts either?

Check out The Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution – an HBO documentary that premiered on December 11th. Although largely focused on the clean energy transition happening in the U.S., international energy professionals are sure to get a motivational boost knowing just how much the world needs you – after all, The Happening is happening everywhere!

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