Tag Archives: solar economy


Solar-e.com endorses and commends the efforts of John Reed in establishing SOLARDAY 2011 across the United States of America and promoting its incorporation into the calendar of other countries throughout this amazing world that is our home.



This type of focus is just what we need to make the general public throughout the world more conscious of the need for a 21st century solar economy as fast as possible.

For Wise Earth P/L (our parent company) and its staff and management, every day is SOLARDAY!

Therefore, we take seriously this brilliant and visionary promotional idea.  The next 20 years (up to 2030) will be the most important time for human action on Climate Change, in adapting to it and abating it in the medium and long term.

Now is the time the planning for our sustainable energy future.  There really is no choice eventually.

We are absolutely convinced through our own research via our networks of imminent experts throughout the globe, that we need to go solar as fast as possible.

Instead of burning our cheap precious fossil fuels on ‘business as usual’ type developments and maintaining the ‘old fossil fuel economy ‘as long as possible, we really need to be using this cheap energy to produce as much solar energy utilization as possible and every other year from hereon, while it is still abundant.

It then can gain a critical mass and begin to replicate itself before our cheap fossil fuel is wasted.

Solarday 2011: How to get involved

To help get the message out there about SOLARDAY, the following is a personal invitation from John Reed to be involved and a media release for SOLARDAY 2011’s events.  Also here is a list of the contributors and participants of SOLARDAY 2010’s event.

We recommend that you personally, as a non-profit, commercial enterprises and government authorities get on board with this and look at practical and effective ways of networking with solar-e to achieve exactly what this day has already become, and representing a potent symbol of the type of society and economy we need to develop.

I think that all societies and associations should get involved with this initiative.  We need cooperation and collaboration and teamwork to pull off intelligent change.

This should not be a competition!  It is our kids and grand children’s future we are helping to create.

Let’s applaud John Reed’s initiative and get on with it!


Garry Baverstock AM

Solarday 2011 Letter from John Reed

Solarday 2011 Media Release

Solarday 2010 Participants

SolarDay 2011 letter from Doris Matsui from the U.S. Congress

Governance and Solar Energy Interview

An informed opinion by Gary Burke to a basic question by Garry Baverstock AM

Gary Burke is a sustainability strategies consultant, specialising in sustainability-framed economics, and at the time of this article was in the process of finalising his PhD. Gary is also an accomplished musician. He has spent a lifetime thinking and investigating how our economy should be based to maximize true wealth and happiness.

Question by Garry Baverstock

What is stopping the mainstream use of solar and renewable energy?

After many discussions I asked Gary, why he thought governments have not supported a comprehensive switch back to a solar economy, when it is obvious for sometime now that this planet is in a dangerous position due to depleted of many energy resources and fossil fuels, and the huge looming disaster of Climate Change?

Here is Gary Burke’s eloquent response.

Key Issue

For me, the key governance issue is ‘why has solar and renewable

energy not already been implemented?’


The Political/Economic System

The answer is that the systemic parameters that establish the ‘viability’ are inherently non-sustainable. This is a legacy of the dominance of neoclassical economic theory in the policy world; neoclassical economists dominate treasuries and their way of thinking is about as realistic a medicine was in the 19th century when they would use leeches to bleed people as a cure for most illnesses.


What is Sustainable and Understanding the Terminology?


To help clarify the situation, I draw a conceptual distinction between ‘non-sustainable’ – which is system-based – and ‘unsustainable’ – which is behavioural. Using this distinction, we can differentiate between strategies that are needed to remediate behavioural unsustainability (e.g. dumping pollutants in rivers) and systemic non- sustainability (e.g. assessing renewable energy as unviable). Non- sustainability requires policy, institutional and epistemological change — i.e. changes in the way we think about things.


The Solution


The solution is to move towards sustainability, but the problem is that the notion of sustainability has been arrogated by economists, so that, even supporters like you, don’t like to use the word.


So governance for renewable energy means both creating a policy framework that can accommodate the complexities of the real world as we now know it (e.g. biophysical limits to the planet, peak oil, butterfly effect, etc), but also there needs to be a disarrogation of policy from the economists who believe everything has a bottom line measurable in dollars and cents. I argue in my dissertation that when sustainability is disarrogated from neoclassical economists (e.g. abolish meaningless and thought-corrupting concepts like natural capital as representations of nature, human capital as representation of human potential, and social capital as a representation of community development), then a sustainability-framed economics becomes possible.


In other words, with a sustainability concept designed to accommodate complex and dynamic systems, then we can ask ‘what sort of economics do we need to help us manage in this context?’ So, instead of saying ‘is sustainability economically viable’, we assess economic policy to see if provides sustainability.


Switch of Priorities


This ‘mental switch’ of priorities, then makes the governance of solar and renewable energy very viable because it stands up when considered in a sustainability context.


I detail such a sustainability policy framework in my dissertation: it is derived from biophysical parameters and limits, sustainability principles (e.g. precautionary principle, intergenerational equity, cultural respect, etc), processes that accommodate complexity and dynamic ‘learn as you go’ strategies, and perspectives that acknowledge that humans are able to, and need to live and work with nature in ways that enhance well-being on the planet.


This is not pipedream stuff; there is plenty of literature about theory and practice of these aspects: reflexive governance, adaptive management, transition management, community engagement, action research, green accounting, etc. The problem has been that sustainability has been approached with an economic interpretation, rather than as a multidimensional, multifaceted systems phenomenon. I call it the ‘Tragedy of Economism’ because policymakers have simplified the complexity of the issues, and they have arrogated the concept of sustainability, in ways that suit their simplistic, unrealistic, methodologically corrupt approaches to economic management.


Therefore, solar and renewable energy strategies are dismissed as being unworkable. I argue that neoclassical economics is non-sustainable and needs to be reconceptualised, and accounting systems recalibrated to accommodate what is really going on in the world. I detail how this may be done in my dissertation.


Change is Possible


For those who think it is impossible to change, consider the changes made in public health since the end of the 19th century when germ theory was finally accepted after decades of denial: disease was no longer thought of as ‘humours’ from air-borne spirits, but from bacteria in dirty water. The response was a massive investment in

public health and hygiene: engineering, education, social reform… Or consider the abandoment of phlogiston theory in the late 18th century which was still taught when Adam Smith wrote ‘The Wealth of Nations’. Not only did phlogiston theory provide a false account of how the world was constituted (phlogiston was an imagined substance absorbed from the sun and released in combustion as flame) but it also caused scientists to be wrongly focused on trying to understand fire – because it was one of the key elements of the Aristotlean paradigm. When oxygen was isolated (or de-phlogisticated air, as it was known), a group of aware chemists realised that a totally new language and

scientific paradigm was needed to accommodate the world as they now knew it. Hence, the elements of modern chemistry, the periodic table, etc.


This paradigm shift was not done easily, or without conflict. It required a group of dedicated scientists and practical realists to insist that chemistry needed integrity that matched current understanding.


The other example of paradigm change that is particularly relevant to renewable energy is the abolition of slavery. Although the argument for the abolition was essentially a moral and ethical one, the main argument against it (which is pretty well forgotten now) was an energy-based argument. A slave-based economy had become dependent on a source of ‘free’ energy (ie the slaves): surely the economy would crumble if slaves were freed and people had to pay for labour?! It didn’t because correct, moral and ethical decisions create stronger communities and hence, more confidence to engage in economic activity. The collective guilt is lifted and people lighten up.


The parallels with the renewable energy debate are obviously similar: if renewables became mainstream a whole lot of collective guilt would be lifted and people could get on celebrating life and helping to enhance the gifts that life brings.

Paradigm Shift


I argue that a similar paradigm shift is needed to countervail the dominance of the inadequate and iatrogenic neoclassical economic paradigm. I demonstrate in my dissertation how this is best done in a free enterprise economic framework, but one in which sustainability frames the viability of investments.


Without the paradigm shift, and the concomitant change in thought processes, the implementation of renewable energy will be considered unviable because the economic framework that is doing the viability assessment is itself non-viable. Without the shift towards a sustainability policy framework, platitudes and generalisations about more education, government support, etc will continue to be made. Arguing for renewable energy in the contemporary policy framework that is dominated by neoclassical economic arguments is to remain trapped in a cul de sac. The same arguments emerge time and again. Check out the history of renewable energy organisations and movements; pull out the ‘barriers to renewable energy’ research that was done 20 years

ago. It is all there. The problem is the implementation gap that exists because renewable energy cannot be deemed economically viable in an inherently non-sustainable framework.


The good news is that a paradigm shift can be done merely by changing our way of thinking. If we believe that we are homo sapiens, then surely thinking differently is one of the key survival strategies of our species.


The other example of paradigm change that is particularly relevant to renewable energy is the abolition of slavery. Although the argument for the abolition was essentially a moral and ethical one, the main argument against it (which is pretty well forgotten now) was an energy- based argument. A slave-based economy had become dependent on a source of ‘free’ energy (ie the slaves): surely the economy would crumble if slaves were freed and people had to pay for labour?! It didn’t because correct, moral and ethical decisions create stronger communities and hence, more confidence to engage in economic activity. The collective guilt is lifted and people lighten up.

The parallels with the renewable energy debate are obviously similar: if renewables became mainstream a whole lot of collective guilt would be lifted and people could get on celebrating life and helping to enhance the gifts that life brings.


Gary Burke presents his views in a talk entitled: ‘The Tragedy of Economism: How economists are thwarting effective sustainability policy’ in April, 2011 at Curtin University in Western Australia. Please email www.solar-e.com for further details.

Further reading of Gary’s work on this subject is available in the repository section of this web site.



Energy Consumption Growth

By Garry Baverstock AM, Director of Wise Earth P/L

Introduction: Energy Consumption Growth

In 2005 World President of ISES Professor Yogi Goswami of USF in Florida, made a keynote speech at the ISES Solar World Congress in Beijing. There he predicted that most of the world’s uranium, gas, oil and much of the world’s coal depleted.

At many of my talks in Australia and overseas since and in private discussion with fossil fuel, and uranium experts I noticed that I have either been looked at as have ‘two heads’, or the ‘specialists’ simply disagree, but offer absolutely no factual back up for their opinions. I have had the impression that it is yet another instance of an ‘inconvenient truth’ as exposed by Al Gore, or just plain ignorance that gets no response of any worth to anyone except their feelings of security.

This article squarely presents the latest information from the USA that clearly states Goswami and I, by my re-quoting his 2007 facts, have been perfectly correct. Having experts around the world that there is not an issue with population growth, energy consumption and supplies, and worse still denying the climate change effects that are so evident all around the world, with record breaking extreme weather events on the increase. The reasons why are governments moving so slowly and so divisively are complex ad are more to do with human psyche, primordial subconscious desires, rather than facts and data.

Who should we blame for such collective insanity? Surely this places the climate skeptics and ‘anti-sustainability types’ as anti-humanity forces not just an annoying or inconvenient impediment of change, as currently and often portrayed in the media.

It is a simple question but a very complicated answer that will take more resources that I can offer as part of this article.

Suffice is to say that in my opinion, all us thinking citizens of the world need to have a good look at ourselves and our integrity and start to take more affirmative action to move to sustainable energy world as soon as possible and solve ‘Climate Change’ once and for all and save humanity as we know it at present.

Defense and Security Issues

The following information has been researched and supplied by Peter Kasprzak and indicates dire consequences for the world beyond 2050. So indeed Yogi Goswami was correct after all as well as my placing this issue in context of what we should be doing with the built environment.

U.S. defense and intelligence communities are increasingly focusing resources on the operational and national security implications of climate change and energy. With the most recent quadrennial report identifying climate change as a global destabilizing force for the first time, an executive order from President Obama on sustainability across the Federal agencies, and an uncertain and unstable energy market, the challenges before American defense and national security communities to mitigate climate impacts and energy risks, as well as establish a leaner, more effective operational force in a down economy are clear.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration world energy demand will grow by half in less than 25 years.

World Market Energy Consumption Graph

World Market Energy Consumption Graph

The world consumes 500 quadrillion BTU today, but it will need 750 quadrillion BTU by 2035. (BTU or British Thermal Unit is the heat that will raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. One BTU = 1054 joules = 0.000 293 kWh and 1000 BTU per hour = 0.293 kW)

This would seem on the face of it to be a bonanza. When I have brought up the consequences on world population levels I have been accused by some ‘sustainability’ experts as being somehow racist. In fact I am being very reasonable. Instead of short term cashing in on demand for energy and encouraging population growth in the world, I believe we should restricting growth, and if anything working out humane methods of gradually reducing it.

Why? Well have at look at the following predictions for population growth towards the end of the century based on energy supplies. Do you think we have a crisis looming? The predictions are alarming and the security and stability of the world will be in tatters.

Total Energy use by Type Graph

Total Energy use by Type Graph

Energy Use by Source

Energy Use by Source

Population Growth

Also take a look at the World Energy and Population – Trends to 2100 study, which asserts that world population, and therefore energy usage will dramatically decrease in the second half of the 21st century.

This time instead of BTU the energy is expressed in Mtoe (Millions Tons of Oil Equivalent), 1 Mtoe = 39652608749183 BTU

Here is the alarming prediction for world population that we need to take into account very seriously indeed.

Why are we continuing to encourage population growth to ”grow” our economy? It is nonsensical. I have heard predictions that the world population will reach 9 billion. How is that going to happen? Is it the wish of the ‘business as usual’ pundits who make millions out of increased consumption of raw materials, carving up land for housing estates built by large project building companies.

What sort of a world are we leaving for our children and grand children?

World Population Projection Graph

World Population Projection Graph

It is clear to me that business as usual is leading this world clearly to a hellish existence. Is it too late to wake up? A rational thinker would have to say the odds of creating a peaceful sustainable and ecological stable world for our children and grandchildren is not looking good!

If I ever doubted myself for over the last 40 years of pushing ecologically sustainable development and maximum use of solar energy in the built environment to help create a solar economy, then those doubts are now completely evaporated.

In summary, please expect a lot more from me, my allies, ‘converts’ colleagues and www.solar-e.com and my company Wise Earth P/L. I hope you can do the same or join us as we push forward and try to adapt and change, as we will need to within one generation! This includes being solid mentors for the next generation so they can be far more effective in their lifetime.

Solar Energy Optimism

The main message from the recent Australian Solar Energy Society [‘AuSES’] 2010 Conference in Canberra, Australia, was very optimistic about the widespread use of solar energy in all its forms.

Having been involved with International Solar Energy Society [‘ISES’]  since 1979, through the West Australian branch and then the Australia & New Zealand Solar Energy Society [“ANZSES’] as an incorporated body, when it came into being in 1984, one could understand my optimism to see something I have passionately believed in as the most sustainable way forward for mankind, has started to become a reality.

No longer will the use of solar energy in all its forms be considered a fringe, “thing of future” any more.   I have written a series of articles that distil my perceptions of the proceedings from a professional standpoint and the political implications of holding this landmark conference in our nation’s capital, Canberra.

Solar Energy - Watts installed

Graph: showing the explosion of installed PV in Australia in the last decade

The way forward from hereon is the encouragement of more focused research in the various fields of endeavour in the diverse world of solar energy applications.

AuSES is destined to have a pivotal role in the next 50 years to ensure that planet earth no longer lives on the edge of energy and environmental uncertainty.

A series of articles that covers what happened in Canberra will be published on solar-e over the next month or so.

Garry Baverstock AM, CEO of www.solar-e.com

2010 President of AuSES, WA

The following aspects will be discussed in articles posted from December 2010 onwards:

– The Week that Canberra Became a National Focus for AuSES in 2010

– The Role of the Built Environment in Using Solar Energy and Addressing Climate Change – A Viable Direction for AuSES

– Political Will and Systems Thinking for Climate Change Needed – How AuSES Can Help

– Nuclear Politics a Real Danger for Progress of Solar and Renewable Energy Progress – Collaboration Needed Not War

– Open Learning and Presentation of Facts – the Key for Greater Use of Solar Energy – AuSES Leading the Way

– New Solar-e.com Will Soon be Ranking Solar Societies and Associations Conference Papers – First Step AuSES

– The List of  ‘solar-e’ Best Papers at Solar 2010 – AuSES Conference in Canberra

Valuable solar-e links:

An Introduction


Solar Power



Self Realisation & Ethics