In response to some questions about the feasibility and environmental impact of space-based solar power in a recent Tech Support Forum thread, I posted the following:
Thanks for taking the time to raise some good questions about space-based solar power. Here’s an attempt to provide a reasonable response and additional resources:The feasibility study released by the NSSO addressed these questions which others were asking, too. I agree that hope is not a plan, which is why I believe we need to encourage our political leaders to organize a well defined, long-range plan to acheive energy independence. SBSP offers a long-term solution to fossil fuels, the burning of which release a tremendous amount of CO2. To risk stating the obvious, our fossil fuel reserves are finite and will eventually run out.
The SBSP Study Group found that “to the extent the United States decides it wishes to limit its carbon emissions, SBSP offers a potential path for long-term carbon mitigation.” On page 14 of the study, the supporting statement is:
“Studies by Asakura et al in 2000 suggest that SBSP lifetime carbon emissions (chiefly in construction) are even more attractive than nuclear power, and that for the same amount of carbon emission, one could install 60 times the generating capacity, or alternately, one could replace existing generating capacity with 1/60th the lifetime carbon emission of a coal‐fired plant without CO2 sequestration.”
While energy will probably never be “cheap” again, I think the goal should be “affordable” … and available to everyone.
As far as efforts to develop additional capabilities in space, such as low cost and reliable access to space, in a recent Space Review article, Taylor Dinerman stated “Any dramatic change in the cost of access to orbit will have huge effects on the world’s military and economic balance of power. The US cannot afford not to be the nation where that breakthrough is made.”
I can’t agree more.