Thursday, 3 September 2009

Solar power stations in space

I'm not sure building solar panels in space and beaming it back down is the most efficient use of energy research funding right now, let alone the most efficient way (in terms of lifetime operating costs) to make energy originating from the sun available on the earth's surface.

Earth-bound solar, wind and tidal generation seem like a more obvious and immediately available way to get at it.

If you must do it in space, then all those research funds would be better spent now on space elevator development or similar launch technologies - at least then the eventual power plant might actually have reasonable launch costs, by the time the required solar and microwave tech is ready. Oh, and ultra-cheap launch tech might also have one or two spinoff benefits in the meantime...

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