Traveling the Power Line


Traveling the Power Line

From the Mojave Desert to the Bay of Fundy

Julianne Couch

Our Sustainable Future Series

240 pages


March 2013


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2013


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2013


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

In our power-hungry world, all the talk about energy—what’s safe and what’s risky, what’s clean and what’s dirty, what’s cheap and what’s easy—tends to generate more heat than light. What, Julianne Couch wanted to know, is the real story on power production in this country? Approaching the question as a curious consumer, Couch takes us along as she visits nine sites where electrical power is developed from different fuel sources. From a geothermal plant in the Mojave Desert to a nuclear plant in Nebraska, from a Wyoming coal-fired power plant to a Maine tidal-power project, Couch gives us an insider’s look at how power is generated, how it affects neighboring landscapes and the people who live and work there, and how each source comes with its own unique complications.

The result is an informed, evenhanded discussion of energy production and consumption on the global, national, regional, local, and—most important—personal level. Knowledge is the real power this book imparts, allowing each of us to think beyond the flip of a switch to the real consequences of our energy use.

Author Bio

Julianne Couch is an independent journalist and essayist. She is the author of Jukeboxes and Jackalopes: A Wyoming Bar Journey and Waking Up Western: Collected Essays.


“In this smart, highly engaging energy travelogue, Julianne Couch offers readers a clear, inside look at the many ways electrical power is produced across the United States. Traveling the Power Line is an indispensable guide to both current practices in energy technology and future possibilities for renewable resources.”—Ann McCutchan, author of River Music: An Atchafalaya Story

“Julianne Couch has a knack for disarming the wonkiest engineers and discovering the intrigue in cooling rods and ‘geothermal brine.’ Her travels along the power line are entertaining, but her book is more than that. From here we can start making smarter, kinder, more realistic and responsible decisions about our energy future.”—Bill Bishop and Julie Ardery, coeditors of The Daily Yonder

“If you’re looking for a complete analysis of the world’s energy problems, look elsewhere (but expect a mind-numbing, 1,000-page, multivolume set). But if you want a crisp, engaging, and insightful tour of the world of energy production, this is your book.”—Jeffrey A. Lockwood, coauthor of Philosophical Foundations for the Practices of Ecology

"In a book that is part travelogue and part news report, Couch lucidly confronts the specter of what she calls the 'new energy crisis.' . . . Couch does not offer any opinions on which fuels are ultimately best for an energy-hungry America. Instead, she presents information clearly and objectively to help readers better discern 'the difference between numbers meant to impress, stories meant to persuade, and facts that prompt action.' Fair, thoughtful and balanced."—Kirkus

"In clear and straightforward terms, Couch demystifies the science and takes an equitable and even-handed approach to the politics involved in energy production. The result is an accessible primer and essential guide to crucial issues surrounding critical challenges."—Carol Haggas, Booklist starred review


"This lucid guide gently encourages readers to think about what goes into creating the electric grid."—Sandy Amazeen, Monsters and Critics

Table of Contents

1. Of Megawatts and Meadowlarks: A Wyoming Wind Farm
2. Angels and Monsters: A Wyoming Coal-Fired Power Plant
3. Fission and Fishing: A Nebraska Nuclear Power Plant
4. Solids, Liquids, and Gases: A Texas Gas Field
5. Homegrown Revolution: An Iowa Biomass Research Facility
6. Journey a Little Way into the Earth: A Utah Geothermal Plant
7. Water, Water, Everywhere: A Kentucky Hydropower Plant
8. Don't Let the Sun Go Down . . . without Capturing Its Energy: A Nevada Solar-Thermal Power Plant
9. Harnessing the Moon: A Maine Tidal Power Project
A Note on Sources


 2014 High Plains Book Award Finalist in the nonfiction category from Billings Public Library

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