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My Boss came into the office today talking about an acquaintance of his who was working on cracking the U.S. Government to begin a project to put solar receptors into orbit around Earth which will convert the solar power into microwaves which will be beamed down to the surface and converted back into power.
This was a plan created by MIT guys in the 70s but the government wasn't interested then. Now, however, with the quest for alternate and clean fuel sources in full swing, they've changed their minds.
Those working on making this come to reality are under the firm belief that this should not be a United States only project and should be an international effort. What the government doesn't see eye-to-eye with the scientists about is this issue. They wouldn't want a hostile nation to be able to shut down our power as part of an attack or retaliation.
In any case, this is some awesome news for science.
A history of the technology (it dates back a long way) can be found on Wikipedia
"We now have the technology to convert the sun's energy at the rate of 42 to 56 percent... We have made tremendous progress. ...If you can concentrate the sun's rays through the use of large mirrors or lenses you get more for your money because most of the cost is in the PV arrays... There is a risk element but you can reduce it... You can put these small receivers in the desert or in the mountains away from populated areas. ...We believe that in 15 to 25 years we can lower that cost to 7 to 10 cents per kilowatt hour. ...We offer an advantage. You don't need cables, pipes, gas or copper wires. We can send it to you like a cell phone call -- where you want it and when you want it, in real time."
Power beamed ANYWHERE.
Think what it could do for remote research facilities or even military applications.