gdi-2011-politics-master-file-mercury

6 9 8 space review knights in shining armor

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Unformatted text preview: arth, land used for generating solar power is not being used for other things. Rooftop space may not be valuable, but acres of farmland are. There is also only a limited number of available slots in geosynchronous orbit where a satellite could be placed to continuously beam power to a specific receiver. Where land is at a premium, a satellite would have an advantage over a ground-based system. For places with plenty of sun and available land, satellites couldn’t compete with generating solar power locally. It would be difficult to argue for the need of an orbital system if every place had San Diego’s weather and climate, but since this isn’t the case there would be demand for beaming solar power to locations that couldn’t generate it otherwise. Using solar panels here on Earth though is far easier and less expensive, so much of the focus on renewable energy solutions is not on satellite systems. High cost of launching Another barrier is that launching anything into space costs a lot of money. A substantial investment would be needed to get a solar power satellite into orbit; then the launch costs would make the electricity that was produced more expensive than other alternatives. In the long term, launch costs will need to come down before generating solar power in space makes economic sense. But is the expense of launching enough to explain why so little progress has been made? There were over 60 launches in 2003, so last year there was enough money spent to put something into orbit about every week on average. Funding was found to launch science satellites to study gravity waves and to explore other planets. There are also dozens of GPS satellites in orbit that help people find out where they are on the ground. Is there enough money available for these purposes, but not enough to launch even one solar power satellite that would help the world develop a new source of energy? In the 2004 budget the Department of Energy has over $260 million allocated for fusion research. Obviously the government has some interest in funding renewable energy research and they realize that private companies would not be able to fund the development of a sustainable fusion industry on their own. From this perspective, the barrier holding back solar power satellites is not purely financial, but rather the problem is that there is not enough political will to make the money available for further development. Gonzaga Debate Institute 2011 164 Mercury Politics Space Solar Power – Unpopular – Lobbies (1/2) Plan politically unpopular – coal and oil lobby ensures backlash Glaser, mechanical engineer and former president of the International Solar Energy Society, 8 [Interview with Dr. Peter Glaser, by William Ledbetter, past president of the NSS of North Texas, Spring 08, Ad Astra, “Space Based Solar Power” http://www.nss.org/adastra/AdAstra-SBSP-2008.pdf, accessed 7-4-11] AD ASTRA: In light of the growing demand for dwindling hydrocarbons and the dangerous increases of greenhouse gases, do you think that the world is now primed to s...
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This note was uploaded on 01/14/2013 for the course POL 090 taught by Professor Framer during the Spring '13 term at Shimer.

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