Debate Topic – Alternative Energy

The National Federation of State High School Associations – Speech, Debate and Theatre Association (NFHS SDTA) has announced Alternative Energy as the 2008-2009 debate topic. One of the suggested debate resolutions is:

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase alternative energy incentives in the United States.

This is an excellent opportunity for the current generation of students to become aware of and involved in advocacy for space-based solar power. The students of today have much to gain from the development and deployment of space-based solar power since the majority of them will still be alive near the end of the 21st century!

Space-based solar power would make an excellent topic for a high school debate, research paper of perhaps even a science fair project. Whatever the forum, the more folks that learn about the potential for space-based solar power, the more likely that our political and private sector leaders will become aware of it and influence our energy future as a result.

The NFHS SDTA debate topic paper “The Crisis in Energy: Can the United States Live with an Insatiable Thirst for More Fossil Fuels?” outlines the many aspects of energy independence and alternative energies very well, however it overlooks the concept of space-based solar power. I will attempt to contact the authors and provide them with resources to learn more about space-based solar power.

A Brief Introduction to Space-Based Solar Power

The idea of space-based solar power (SBSP), the generation of unlimited electricity from solar power with orbiting collectors and beaming the energy back to earth for distribution and use, has been around since 1968. Due to low fossil fuel costs and high per-payload-pound launch costs at the time, the idea was not financially feasible. The world has changed significantly since then.

From an open source, internet-based collaborative forum and the collective efforts of over 170 contributors, The USG National Security Space Office has issued a 75 page Phase 0 Architecture Feasibility Study titled “Space-Based Solar Power as an Opportunity for Strategic Security”. This study states that “technological challenges are closing rapidly and the business case for creating SBSP is improving with each passing year.”

Today, there are many drivers for the development of renewable (or practically unlimited) energy sources, with national defense, rampant over-population of the planet, quality of life for future generations and concern for the environment all near the top of the list. Yet we seem content to burn the fuels we can gather from our surroundings, much like our ancestral cave-dwellers did for tens of thousands of years before “modern” man’s arrival.

There are links to much more information about Space-Based Solar Power on the Learn More page. Once you have read about this exciting and potentially game-changing technology, go to the Get the Word Out page for suggestions on who to contact and links to assist. If you don’t want to start with a blank e-mail, use some of the text from the Starter Messages page to get started.

However you decide to do it, spread the word about Space-Based Solar Power. Your voice can make a difference for the future of our families … and for our planet.