A Skeptic’s Take on Beaming Power to Earth from Space

Delivering sustainable economic growth
Jun 18, 2024 | IEEE Spectrum

Because of the physics of powertransmission from geosynchronous orbit, space power satellites must be enormous- hundreds of times larger than the International Space Station and evendwarfing the tallest skyscrapers - to generate electricity at a competitive price.The challenges for their engineering and assembly are equally gargantuan. Inhis article for IEEE Spectrum, Henri Barde offers a road map of thepotential chasms and dead ends that could doom a premature space solar projectto failure. Such a misadventure would undermine the credibility of the spaceagency initiating the project and waste capital that could be better spentimproving less risky ways to shore up renewable energy sources, such asbatteries, hydrogen, and grid improvements. Champions of space solar powercould look at this road map as a wish list that must be fulfilled beforeorbital solar power can become truly appealing to electrical utilities.


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