The Solar Economy: Renewable Energy For A Sustainable Global Future

By: Hermann Scheer

Rating: C

Continuing the deep dive into solar energy. I have to be honest, I really did not like this one. It bogged me down for quite some time. Hermann was quite the cynic. He is a world renowned scholar, but it is really hard for me to stomach cynics for that long.

His main points can be summarized by his propositions.

Author’s 7 Propositions:

  1. Global civilization can only escape the life-threatening fossil fuel resource trap if every effort is made to bring about an immediate transition to renewable and environmentally sustainable resources and thereby end the dependence on fossil fuels.
  1. Making the groundbreaking transition to an economy based on solar energy and solar resources will do more to safeguard our common future than any other economic development since the industrial revolution.
  1. Economic globalization can only be made environmentally sustainable through targeted replacement of fossil fuels by solar energy sources. This is the only way to rein in the destructive imperative of the fossil economy and call a halt to the creeping homogenization of economic structures and cultures. It is the only way to make economic development diverse, sustainable and lasting benefit to both individuals and society.
  1. An economy based on solar energy and solar resources will make it possible to re-establish the links between the development of the economy as a whole and environmental cycles, stable regional business structures, cultures and democratic institutions, links which are essential if the future security of human society is to be guaranteed.
  1. An examination of the entire supply chain for fossil fuel energy demonstrates that its claim to be more economical is a myth. In theory, renewable energy sources have an economic advantage because of their much shorter supply chains. This can be exploited if the atomic and fossil fuel energy suppliers are divested of their numerous state privileges, and technical development and market introduction strategies for renewable energy are refocused on this unique economic advantage. Only then can the switch to renewable energy acquire its own unstoppable momentum.
  1. The primacy of physical laws over the laws of the market. In practical economic terms, this means above all that locally or regionally produced solar energy, foodstuffs and solar resources should be consumed and marketed in preference to otherwise equivalent products.
  1. Only a solar global economy can satisfy the material needs of all mankind and grant us freedom to re-establish our social and democratic ideals.

Interesting Quotes:

“The focus of political and public interest is no longer on green taxes designed to raise the price of fossil fuel-derived energy, but on achieving the lowest possible energy prices for the sake of global competitiveness.”

This one was perhaps the most fascinating to me. A paradigm shift. What if in the future the other countries subsidizing the dog out of solar energy gain a competitive edge. The competitive edge being that their solar energy infrastructure has paid for itself and now their cost of energy is drastically lower than ours. How do we compete then? A thought to wrestle with.

“Fossil-fuelled power corporations present more than just an acute environmental danger. Their control of electricity supplies and their influence on the mineral resources industry, plus the support of the large investment banks, makes them the most powerful element in the economy as a whole. They hold all the cards they need to construct a comprehensive commodity supply and media empire.”

A tangled web indeed.

“As conventional oil and gas reserves will probably be exhausted between 2030 and 2040, the war to end all wars is likely. Only a solar resource base offers any escape.”

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! The only solution is MY recommendation…shaking my head.

“Subsidies are a two-edged sword. On the one hand, they represent an incentive; on the other, they have led to investment in solar energy becoming a by-word for financial pump-priming, with the result that almost every investment decision is taken subject to the availability of state support, even in the case of applications that are financially viable on their own merits.”

This is the crux of solar currently. Subsidies. The thing about other people’s money is that you eventually run out of it. It has to stand on its own merit. Innovation. Free market. That recipe will pull our economy into solar, rather than force it using other people’s money.

I do not recommend this book.

Next Action:

I will finish my selection of solar research books. In the future I will pick 3 highly recommended books rather than 7.

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