Economics of Solar Power Satellites

Source:  Economics of Solar Power Satellites    Tag:  satellite radiation shielding

Reading my local paper yesterday, I learned that the cost of building new, modern, nuclear power plants was much higher than I had thought. The Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) is considering a 20% share of a new 2 Gigawatt plant – at a cost of $2 Billion. The total cost of the plant is $10 Billion – or $5 Billion per gigawatt.

This seems horribly expensive, but the resulting steady, cheap, zero-carbon electricity apparently makes the capital investment worth while.

The cost is indeed high, which is good news for Space Based Solar Power: it may be possible to profitably launch the components directly from Earth to build a Solar Power Satellite (just barely).

But as I have argued in previous posts, there is a much less expensive way to build Solar Power Satellites: build them in orbit using asteroids which provide all the raw materials we need (just add tools and workers).

As a side benefit of great importance to most of the readers of this blog, my plan requires the building of permanent orbiting space habitats, self-sufficient, rotating for gravity, and using the slag from iron smelting as radiation shielding – a topic I’ve discussed before.

My next several posts will discuss various aspects of Space Based Solar Power built using asteroid materials, from some high-level design considerations to construction techniques and ultimately to revenue generation and return on investment.

I am more convinced than ever that we can expand humanity into space using ground-based profit motive, with benefits of lower energy costs, near-zero carbon emissions, and, did I mention, HUGE PROFITS?