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Amy Myers Jaffe brings her enviable experience in the field of energy to bear in her revealing, relevant and rousing book, “Energy’s Digital Future".In an era where the conventional concept of the term energy is almost turning out to be anachronistic, Jaffe’s book is all about the perils of creating path dependencies that may lock in the world in lock step with a set of infeasible alternatives, and the solutions that policy makers, individuals and institutions can employ to extricate the world from such path dependencies. Although primarily written from an American perspective, “Energy’s Digital Future” finds universal bearing across the globe, in so far as its core propositions are concerned.

The concept of electric cars, that is assuming so much of traction these days, was birthed as early as in the 1900s when electric cars, taxis and trolleys were commonplace in the United States. General Electric even developed a charging hydrant called the “electrant” for these vehicles. In fact, Henry Ford and the inveterate inventor Thomas Edison were close to collaborating on a technology involving batteries. However the First World War put paid to the pioneering efforts of the two visionaries.

But as the pitfalls of fossil fuels and the dangers of climate change are becoming all too real, the world is seeing a revolutionary and paradigm shift towards digital energy. Transformational technologies such as on-demand travel services, automated vehicles and robot taxis, data and GPS assisted logistics, decentralized electricity microgrids and 3-dimensional printing all pose significant challenges to the entrenched concept of traditional energy. Even though some of these technologies are extremely exorbitant, it is only a matter of time before the advantages bestowed by economies of scale would start kicking in making these novel technologies common.