Books about energy

For an overview of the trade-offs and dilemmas we face in getting to zero carbon energy in the UK:

For an overview of the different types of renewable energy, how they work and their pros and cons:

For a more technical and in depth textbook on sustainable energy systems,

  • Energy Systems and Sustainability, Godfrey Boyle et al. 2011 (or you can get a copy of the 2003 version quite cheap).

And similar for renewable energy tehnologies:

  • Renewable Energy: Power for a Sustainable Future, Stephen Peake.

For details of how the markets, regulations etc work for gas, electricity and smart grid, the For Dummies guides are helpful:

Organisations with useful resources

Regen – renewable energy advocates and community energy supporters. They publish a lot of very accessible guides to many topics, some of which are referenced in this guide, respond to consultations on behalf of the renewable energy industry, and offer more in-depth training.

Cornwall Insight – energy inustry codes experts who provide a lot of advice to smaller energy suppliers, and offer training on the really detailed regulatory stuff 

Centre for Sustainable Energy

Centre for Alternative Technology

Energy Systems Catapult – government funded research hub for energy systems innovation

RESCoop – renewable energy co-operatives association – EU

Academic work


University of Leeds – sustainable infrastructure

Books about commons and other political themes

Think Like a Commoner: A short introduction to the Life of the Commons. By David Bollier, 2014, New Society Publishers. Readable and inspiring introduction to everything you want to know about commons

Elinor Ostrom’s Rules for Radicals by Derek Wall, 2017, Pluto Press. Overview of Elinor Ostrom’s intellectual legacy on commons. To go into more depth, see his academic book, the Sustainable Economics of Elinor Ostrom: Commons, contestation and craft (2014) 

The Wealth of the Commons: A world beyond market & state. Edited by Silke Helfrich and David Bollier, 2012, Levellers Press. Available to read online: Collection of essays by many different activists and academics, available to read online.

How can we live well within environmental limits? Doughnut Economics, Kate Raworth