A detailed blueprint for a clean sustainable energy future based on solar photovoltaics. Power Shift explains to a general audience how energy works and why it determines the future of humankind. Power Shift provides historical background on how the human relationship with energy developed, and how that relationship was gradually taken over by fossil fuels, converting us all into energy consumers. Now those fossil fuels are driving global warming and ocean acidification, forcing us to reexamine our energy systems and find alternatives. After reviewing the available choices, Power Shift focuses on solar photovoltaics (PV) as our best hope for the future, and develops a detailed plan that includes worldwide deployment of PV, combined with energy storage and energy efficiency, arriving at a 100% solar future in 50 years. Power Shift acknowledges the resistance to a solar future from fossil fuel corporations, and the reluctance of politicians to take any serious action on global warming. Power Shift describes an alternative bottom-up approach where individuals bypass such resistance and install their own PV systems. Such steps are possible because solar energy is distributed and available to almost everyone. Power Shift enlarges the reader's view of the world through the lens of energy. From that new vantage point, they will see hope for the future.
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)