Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Coming Age of Solar Energy

Daniel S. Halacy, Jr.  1919-2002Once in a great while, a discovery is made that at first seems a happy, but small gift. Then, as it is explored it continues to surprise. Even rarer is such a discovery that resonates over years with astounding harmonics. I made such as discovery when I happened upon The Coming Age of Solar Energy in a used book store in early 2007.

The fiercely intelligent eyes that gaze from this page are those of Daniel S. Halacy, Jr. Mr. Halacy was a decorated veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, a prolific author, a professor, and a sailplane pilot. He served two terms as an Arizona State Senator. In 1979 he joined the nascent Solar Energy Research Institute (now NREL) as a Public Affairs Specialist. Six years later, he became the Institute’s first retiree.

I have worked in the solar energy industry and lived in Arizona for many years. I have enjoyed the good fortune to become familiar with many of Arizona’s luminaries in the field of energy. Yet, until I discovered The Coming Age of Solar Energy, I had not heard of Dan Halacy.

The Coming Age of Solar Energy by Daniel S. Halacy Jr.His book is astounding for many reasons, but foremost for its prescience. The initial chapter elegantly and accurately describes the central issues of energy and the environment facing us today. Over the years, I have read many books on these topics. Despite my familiarity with the topics, my initial reading of The Coming Age of Solar Energy impressed me with its clarity and style. It was a crystallizing read. Then, when I glanced at the publication date I was abruptly astounded: Mr. Halacy published this book in . . . 1963!

More than two generations have passed since The Coming Age of Solar Energy was first published. I wonder if Mr. Halacy imagined that his generous gift of words would become an indictment.

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