A vision of an infinite, clean energy economy

By James W. Johnson

It’s time to look ahead and see what is in store for 2018. Given 2017’s political and regulatory ‘death by a thousand cuts’ roller-coaster ride, wouldn’t it be good news if we had a decisive, once-and-for-all victory strategy? There is a way. It’s bold, but doable. Here’s the scoop.

In the summer of 2017, pv magazine editor Christian Roselund asked, “How do we achieve a clean energy economy?” The answer is, based on the fact the neither the Republicans or the Democrats are inspiring universal loyalty and devotion, is to use our political system to start a national, civil, centrist and moderate political party that reflects a new, inspiring vision for how America will use its influence. We’ll call it “The Sustainability Party.”

If there were a Sustainability Party in every state, we would have same credible voice as the dominant parties. We already have a core of terrific state and national organizations, standards, teaching and certification groups, and advocacy groups, We also have a quarter-million plus solar industry employees, a million-plus homeowners and businesses who have already gone solar, and millions who haven’t pulled the trigger. Think of our political and regulatory battles as a boxing match. To get in the ring, you need to be wearing gloves that pull everything together. That’s a national political network, and we need one.

If we were an established political entity, we could reach out to voters who are ready to throw in with another party, or the vast population of millennials, women and minorities who are not yet engaged with any party. Ask yourself, “If we construct a powerful, inspiring vision that has the potential to launch America on an elevating journey of progress, couldn’t we attract a constituency that would number into the tens of millions?”

The answer is “Yes.” If we can marshal that kind of public sentiment, we’ll win the battles we face. Just ask Old Abe. During a 1858 debate with Stephen Douglas, Lincoln said:

With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.”

I don’t specialize in drafting mission statements, but we could start with something like “Recognizing that each generation are stewards for those to come, we conclude that humanity’s next great frontier lies in “balancing the need to extract resources from the earth with the equally important need to preserve a rich environment for future generations.” The extension of this position could constitutes our nation’s next “we’re going to the moon” BHAG (“Big Hairy Audacious Goal”), to wit:

“Although we do not deny the importance of a strong military, The Sustainability Party advocates that it is in humanity’s best interest to make peace more profitable than war. Towards this end, we support policies that enhance humanity’s ability to harness the sun, and to make energy available throughout the world. We advocate the development of clean, sustainable technologies and systems, and are confident that America can rebrand itself by pursuing these objectives. 

There is a logical foreign policy extension of developing a sustainable technologies and systems sector. Being able to harvest and deliver unlimited, clean energy to the entire planet is not only a liberating scientific breakthrough of epic proportion, it represents the greatest source of wealth humanity has ever seen. Using figures developed by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, it is reasonable to project a multi-trillion-dollar annual global market for sustainability products, services, and systems, particularly in the developing world.

According to The Iron Law, first promulgated in 1978, energy consumption and economic growth reflect each other. If one goes up, the other goes up. This just makes sense, and certainly makes for good foreign policy.

It has been said that, “Sometime, the cards aren’t worth a dime if you don’t lay ‘em down. (Truckin’, The Grateful Dead / Jerry Garcia). I’ll put my money where my mouth is, and am starting The Sustainability Party on January 16th, 2018.

You are invited to come to the Salt Lake City Library on January 16, 2018 at 6:00 p.m., and help establish “The Sustainability Party.” If you can’t come to SLC, not to worry. We are putting up a Facebook page. You can our mailing list, and let us know if you would like to help establish The Sustainability Party in your state.


James W. “Jamey” Johnston is the Director of Vector Solar, a division of Vector Engineers in Draper, Utah. He can be reached by email at james@vectorse.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect those held by pv magazine.