An international group of scientists says space-based solar plants could help meet the world’s energy needs within 30 years if governments are willing to provide the early funding.
Space-based solar technology, in which satellites are launched into space to collect the Sun’s energy and beam it back to Earth, could be “technically feasible” within two decades, according to the new study by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).
But, while the study does not offer a cost estimate for such a project, it suggests that the development and deployment would likely cost tens of billions of dollars. Since the private sector would be unlikely to invest in an unproven technology on its own, the IAA says governments should take the lead in showing that it is an economically viable solution to meeting the world’s energy needs.
While skeptics say the technology is not feasible — in large part because of the high costs involved — the study contends the economic case has improved in recent years, largely as a result of increased government incentives for green energy.
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.