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The world is full of tradeoffs, and sometimes 'renewable power' activists fail to recognize that. Solar energy collectors must displace a tremendous amount of natural landscape to produce any significant amount of energy. And anything less requires a great deal of financial expenditures for very little and very inconsistent power.

Ben Lieberman

Lunar Solar Power

A Brief Description:

Lunar Solar Power (LSP) is one of the two general concepts that have been proposed for delivering solar power to Earth from space. One proposal calls for a huge satellite in geosynchronous orbit around Earth that gathers solar power in space. LSP is the second concept which envisions solar power being collected on the moon. In both ideas, many different beams of microwaves would deliver power to receivers at sites located worldwide. Each receiver, called a rectenna, would supply commercial power to a given region.

Prosperity for everyone on Earth by 2050 will require a sustainable source of electricity equivalent to 3 to 5 times the commercial power currently produced. Solar power generation is viewed as one of the solutions to meet the requirement. Although energy coming directly to Earth from the sun is renewable, weather makes the supply variable and their energy output is too expensive to collect, store, and dependably distribute. Unlike sunlight, microwaves pass through rain, clouds, dust, and smoke. In both scenarios, power can be supplied to the rectenna at night Several thousand individual rectennas strategically located around the globe, with a total area of 100,000 km2, could continuously provide the 20 TW of electric power, or 2 kW per person, required for a prosperous world of 10 billion people in 2050.

The concept of LSP came about to address the estimated huge costs to launch the sattelite based power generation and its environmental impacts. The Moon has no atmosphere, rain, or clouds to block sunlight as does the Earth. Doing the construction on the Moon is far less expensive than sending raw or processed materials to deep space for an orbital solar power generation system. There are fewer manufacturing operations. You do not have to build the platform. All the necessary technologies are believed to be in place to implement LSP.

26 Jun 2010 13:33:00

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