Martin Frey’s Wind of Change-A review

By Paul Gipe

I’ve studied engineering and natural resources but my first love is geography. Consequently I’ve become a big fan of German technical writer and geographer Martin Frey.

He’s written some great little books and Wind of Change is one of them. It’s a book woven around a tour to the southwestern US to see renewable energy experts and sites. It’s a theme-a renewable energy tour that Peter Asmus talked about in the early 1990s. I don’t know if Asmus ever did anything with it, but Frey has.

The cover caught me first of all. It’s a sunglass clad American driving through the Luz concentrating solar power plant near Kramer Junction. What’s more American to a European than sunglasses and the American southwest desert.

Frey drove the Tehachapi Pass-among others-that I’ve written so much about. He pays a visit to the small wind turbine manufacturer Southwest Windpower in Flagstaff and Amory Lovins at the Rocky Mountain Institute.

No solar tour of California wouldn’t be complete these days without a visit to solar-powered winery in Napa Valley.

Ok, the book is in German, but for those with rudimentary German skills, it’s accessible and his description of the Geysers geothermal field is worth trying to comprehend the language.

My only complaint is that he took his time to interview SunPower’s Julie Blunden. This is a case where traveling journalists should contact people on the ground before they devote time and space to political operatives such as Blunden. Despite this, the book is gem and a worthy companion to Frey’s far more ambitious and significant work, his Baedeker guide to renewable power in Germany.

Wind of Change: Die USA werden erneuerbar (German Edition) by Martin Frey, paper, $27.90, June 2010, 5 x 8 x 0.2 inches, ISBN-13: 978-3839164631.