Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Solar Energy that's far out

Hot on the heels of a japanese proposal to collect solar energy in space and 'beam' that energy back to earth comes this report from Green Inc.

California regulators have approved a utility contract for what would be the nation's first space based solar power plant.

The plan is for a 200 megawatt orbiting solar farm, the energy collected in radio waves which would be beamed to a collecting station on Earth.

As Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission pointed out "This technology would offer around-the-clock access to clean renewable energy, and while there’s no doubt this project has many hurdles to overcome, both regulatory and technological, it’s hard to argue with the audacity of the project."

Not least is the cost of putting the equipment into orbit - a cost many times that of building a similar plant on Earth.

“I’ll be the first to admit our reach may exceed its grasp,” said Mr. Peevey of the utilities commission.

You can read the full article on Green Inc by clicking here.

photo credit: denniswong

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