Though it may sound like it comes out of a science fiction novel, space may be our best hope in taking advantage of solar energy. The SPS-ALPHA, a theoretical concept developed by John Mankins of Artemis Innovation Management Solutions, would collect solar energy from outside our stratosphere and send it via energy beam to earth, which would then be distributed among the cities of the nation that owned the satellite. SPS-ALPHA stands for Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large PHased Array.
Wireless power transmission, a pioneer concept currently being developed, promises to be a safe way to emit energy not just from the SPS-ALPHA to earth, but also to stations further out in space. It also wouldn’t be affected by the current problems of solar power as a sustainable energy source, such as cloud cover and other weather based issues.
Mankins, who spent 25 years with NASA, is currently working on a one year proof of concept project, would revolutionize how the human race receives energy. His team is currently reviewing the feasibility of this project to see if it is even possible, and if it is, whether or not the project is worth the money a country would have to put in to it. The other issue with this stunning new technology is how long it would take for this to be a viable energy alternative.
While this seemingly far future answer to the problem of Earth’s energy crisis may ultimately be what mankind comes to rely on, it’s important to still devote research to other effective methods of sustainable energy.