Friday, January 21, 2011

Economics of Solar Power Satellites

Reading my local paper yesterday, I learned that the cost of building new, modern, nuclear power plants was much higher than I had thought. The Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) is considering a 20% share of a new 2 Gigawatt plant – at a cost of $2 Billion. The total cost of the plant is $10 Billion – or $5 Billion per gigawatt.

This seems horribly expensive, but the resulting steady, cheap, zero-carbon electricity apparently makes the capital investment worth while.

The cost is indeed high, which is good news for Space Based Solar Power: it may be possible to profitably launch the components directly from Earth to build a Solar Power Satellite (just barely).

But as I have argued in previous posts, there is a much less expensive way to build Solar Power Satellites: build them in orbit using asteroids which provide all the raw materials we need (just add tools and workers).

As a side benefit of great importance to most of the readers of this blog, my plan requires the building of permanent orbiting space habitats, self-sufficient, rotating for gravity, and using the slag from iron smelting as radiation shielding – a topic I’ve discussed before.

My next several posts will discuss various aspects of Space Based Solar Power built using asteroid materials, from some high-level design considerations to construction techniques and ultimately to revenue generation and return on investment.

I am more convinced than ever that we can expand humanity into space using ground-based profit motive, with benefits of lower energy costs, near-zero carbon emissions, and, did I mention, HUGE PROFITS?


fraNKlin said...

Solar energy is abundantly available in the world and is perhaps the only freely available source of energy, with little or no pollution contribution. Its conversion to usable forms of energy has become possible in recent years and more and more advanced and optimized methods are available to us to harness its full potential.

Solar Power Queensland

Karthika Qpt said...

I know solar is very interesting topic to learn.Its very nice.As of now, solar power and solar related devices are expensive. But it may be reduced if most of the people start using it. Let us see the future of solar power.

rocketsciencesense said...

Also we can place emphasis on the safety of solar power satellites. All other energy currently used has intrinsic safety and environmental concerns. The misrepresented dangers of Nuclear meltdown, deep-sea oil drilling, Fracking, and mining (etc.).