gdi-2011-politics-master-file-mercury

Digitaltrendscomcooltechall energy could be renewable

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Unformatted text preview: evelopment of space-based solar power because so many areas have to be negotiated and agreed upon, not only within the United States, but with our allies around the world, too. Strong energy independence legislation is the first step that needs to be taken immediately. Treaties and agreements for the military and commercial use of space must be negotiated and put into place. Universal safety measures must be agreed upon and integrated into related legislation and treaties. Getting widespread voter (i.e. tax-payer) support to prompt Congress to take action may be the highest hurdle of all. Gonzaga Debate Institute 2011 163 Mercury Politics Space Solar Power – Political Capital (2/2) Space Based Solar Power lacks political and budgetary support Boswell, speaker at the 1991 International Space Development Conference, 4 (David, The Space review, “Whatever happened to solar power satellites,” 8/30/2004, http://www.thespacereview.com/article/214/1, Access: 7/6/11) AC At the end of June, a conference about space based solar power generation was held in Granada, Spain. The conference provided progress reports from groups in Europe, the US, and Japan who are working on concepts and plans for building solar power plants in orbit that would beam electricity down for use on Earth. It sounds like the perfect solution for our future energy needs. The Sun is constantly sending energy to the Earth and all we need to do is catch it and then use it. Unlike current energy sources, we are not going to run out of sunlight anytime soon, it wouldn’t contribute to global warming, and it is available everywhere (or to put it another way, we don’t need to get most of our sunlight from a politically unstable region). The idea of generating power in space has been around for a while, but has never really gotten off the ground. Concepts for solar power satellites were being discussed in the 1960s and they have received varying amounts of interest since then. If solar power satellites are such a great thing, why haven’t more people been more excited about them? The theory of the concept is sound, but there are a number of hurdles that are holding development back. Earth based solar power Why bother putting solar panels on a satellite when you could generate electricity by putting them on the ground or on rooftops here on Earth? The obvious problem is that any point on land is in the dark half of the time, so solar panels are useless during the night. During the day clouds can also block sunlight and stop power production. The idea of generating power in space has been around for a while, but has never really gotten off the ground. In orbit, a solar power satellite would be above the atmosphere and could be positioned so that it received constant direct sunlight. Some energy would be lost in the process of transmitting power to stations on the Earth, but this would not offset the advantage that an orbiting solar power station would have over ground based solar collectors. There are also opportunity costs associated with both options. On E...
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