Sunday, December 6, 2009

Space Based Solar Power

It's coming, or at least, the Pentagon and Washington hope so:

California regulators on Thursday went where no regulators have gone before — approving a utility contract for the nation’s first space-based solar power plant.

The 200-megawatt orbiting solar farm would convert solar energy collected in space into radio frequency waves, which would be beamed to a ground station near Fresno, Calif. The radio waves would then be transformed back into electricity and fed into the power grid.

Most of the United States' economic decline comes not from China, the boomers, bad morals, or Wall Street greed, but from the moment the U.S. became a net importer of energy. Peak Oil in U.S. domestic production triggered an ongoing long-term outflow of wealth. The wealth drain of energy costs was cited specifically by Volcker when he took over the leadership of the Fed in the late 70's.

The U.S. ruling class has fought against this through a long string of reckless wars and alliances which have further drained the country. Space based solar power offers the somewhat fantastical possibility of reversing these setbacks.

It won't come from earth based solar power - with its intermittent energy source, and storage and gathering problems.

1"Solar Plant in Space Gets Go-Ahead" - NYT

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