Interesting article in the Toronto Star today- apparently $80-a-barrell gas, increasingly violent global conflict, and the risk of widespread environmental collapse has made solar power, the perennial whipping boy of the alternative energy movement, a going concern.
Here's the pitch: put a million solar cells in earth-orbit, take advantage of the constant solar radiation, and beam massive amounts of clean energy back to earth. Here's what a report by scientists using big words had to say on orbital solar:
"A single kilometre-wide band of geosynchronous Earth orbit experiences enough solar flux in one year to nearly equal the amount of energy contained within all known recoverable conventional oil reserves on Earth today. There is enormous potential for energy security, economic development, improved environmental stewardship, advancement of general space faring, and overall national security for those nations who construct and possess (the) capability."
Sold. Of course, it won't be cheap to put a million solar panels in space. But if we've got no problem pouring money into the Oilsands, then this is a no-brainer. In fact, the Americans could have built one already, had they not spent $21 billion on a genie-in-a-bottle, otherwise known as 'nuclear fusion'.
Mind you, I am a bit peeved that solar is getting all sorts of fancypants scientific attention again, while my 'One million underground hamsters-on-their-wheels-connected-to-energy-generating-dynamos' plan languishes in obscurity.