Power Shift: From Fossil Energy to Dynamic Solar Power

Robert Arthur Stayton. Sandstone, $22.95 trade paper (332p) ISBN 978-0-9904792-0-8
Stayton lays out arguments for a complete conversion to solar-based power sources in this primer on energy. He wins few points for style; repetitions abound, and his initial section, which addresses the history of humanity’s energy use, reads like a middle-school textbook. However, Stayton clearly enumerates the downsides of fossil fuel use, positioning global warming as a major problem alongside less-discussed global issues such as ocean acidification, military conflict, and rising food prices. Most of this work is devoted to well-reasoned economic and technical arguments for the inevitability of the replacement of fossil fuels by photovoltaic (PV) and other solar energy sources. Stayton employs persuasive statistics to support his assertions and devotes a chapter to explaining that because PV technology “operates at the micro-economic level” and is modular, it can be implemented by individuals and organizations locally, thus allowing for a gradual transition that can build on itself. Perhaps his strongest argument revolves around the fact that “solar power is nothing like our fossil fuel energy stores,” but is a source of “permanent power.” Stayton’s claim that the switch to solar power “will be the last energy transition that humans need to undertake” may be over-ambitious, but the material is worth serious consideration. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 04/13/2015
Release date: 04/01/2015
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