PG&E makes deal for space solar power

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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Main Question or Discussion Point

California's biggest energy utility announced a deal Monday to purchase 200 megawatts of electricity from a startup company that plans to beam the power down to Earth from outer space, beginning in 2016...
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30198977/
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Its about time this idea picked up some pace. I've had this idea since I was 12 and can't believe its taken so long for someone to try an implement it. Perfect source of energy if you think about it, that is if you ignore the possibilities of this thing missing its target and frying new york or something.
 
  • #3
minger
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Is this the same company that is going to manipulate weather?
 
  • #4
chroot
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I'm going to have to remain pretty skeptical. PG&E refuses to actually invest in the technology or accept any risk for it. The FCC has not yet given permission for the plan. The GPS system, of comparable complexity, took 21 years to design and build; even if modern engineering practices are twice as productive, seven years is still a breakneck pace.

- Warren
 
  • #5
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drbuzz0 & his friends tear this idea apart over here:
http://depletedcranium.com/?p=2313 [Broken]

I dont know if their objections ( a bunch of stuff about antenna sizes) make sense or not.
 
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  • #6
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The only real valid arguments I see from the blog are 1 and 5. Keeping the correct attitude and orientation with the precision that thing requires is a major engineering challenge.
 
  • #7
mheslep
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The only real valid arguments I see from the blog are 1 and 5. Keeping the correct attitude and orientation with the precision that thing requires is a major engineering challenge.
There are issues but I don't those are much trouble. Hubble points with 7/1000th arcsecond at moving targets, and I believe military star wars tech improves on even that.
http://hubblesite.org/the_telescope/hubble_essentials/quick_facts.php
The blog might have been mistakenly thinking of pointing the entire array moment, when only the antenna needs that kind of accuracy.

I also think the bloggers overestimate the mass when using space station figures. IIRC, the space station uses common crystal solar cells. The http://www.nss.org/settlement/ssp/library/nsso.htm" [Broken] had its eye on lightweight solar (thin film?): paper thin, lightweight, more compact for lift. Divide by the blog mass estimate by ~five at least. The DoD report is THE study on this idea at the moment, I have the impression the bloggers havn't read it.
Edit: yes on quick review the DoD report planned (pg 21) on either thin films or just mirrors and concentrator photovoltaics. Simple reflectors could have a mass on the order of grams per square meter.

Other PF threads on SBS:
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=1999539&highlight=space+power#post1999539
 
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  • #8
mheslep
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DoD targets for an SBSP satellite is 3000 MT, not 20,000MT, for a 1200MWe delivered system.
 
  • #9
mgb_phys
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PG&E is pledging to buy the power at an agreed-upon rate, comparable to the rate specified in other agreements for renewable-energy purchases,
It's a no lose deal.
In the extremely unlikely event that it works, PG&E get to fulfill their eco power quota for the same price as they can already buy it from solar panels in the desert.
If it doesn't work then PG&W are still at the forefront of investing in a clean safe high tech future for the dear sweet children (please ignore the coal plants behind the curtain)
 

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