PG&E makes deal for space solar power
Utility to buy orbit-generated electricity from Solaren in 2016, at no risk
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.
Solaren would generate the power using solar panels in Earth orbit and convert
it to radio-frequency transmissions that would be beamed down to a receiving
station in Fresno, PG&E said.
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, company spokesman
Jonathan Marshall said.
... Spirnak said Solaren's system would be "competitive both in terms of
performance and cost with other sources of baseload power generation."
He said the agreement called for 800 gigawatt-hours of electricity to be
provided during the first year of operation, and 1,700 gigawatt-hours for
subsequent years. The larger figure is roughly equal to the annual consumption
of 250,000 average homes.
Apparently somebody on the Pacific coast has lost their mind,
and the customers and stockholders will suffer, no power for customers,
no dividends for stockholders.
NASA could not accomplish that if the entire NASA budget was
dedicated to that one project, and a start-up company has big ideas,
by apparently a good line of BS to get a power company to even listen.
How will they reduce power quick enough to avoid blowing up
equipment with the communication delay?
What will the power company do with that much power at night,
there is a surplus of power at night now.
Never mind, it will never get to orbit, NASA has trouble
just ejecting the wind shroud.
On Wed, 15 Apr 2009 11:36:26 +0000 (UTC), email@example.com
I read enough, if a company signs a contract, they need to
have funding in place, and that can disrupt funding an optional source.
I understand it very well, you will probably see a follow up
where I wrote that 200 megawatts is power equivalent to 4 large
jet engines (240,000 HP x 746 watts), so that the company planning
on building the power station could generate the same power at
a cost of about 800 million dollars or less for the equipment.
And the gas turbines would only need to run during peak
periods, and only part of the year.
The Air Force and others have tested jet engines on 50 percent
biofuel, and will probably test with 100 percent biofuel in warm
Biofuels are carbon neutral, so nothing is to be gained by
space power, even at a cost of 40 or 50 times what the power
can be generated for on Earth.
Also, space power would be at high risk in war time,
always at risk of asteroid encounters, and is even a high risk
venture, the largest experiment with transmitted power was
recently at low megawatt power and only a few miles distance
with a little more than half power received of that transmitted.
Transmitted power is in its infancy, large space structures
have never been built, and there are many other problems that
the dreamers do not think of.
I have been a science fiction fan since 1938, and the idea
still does not make sense, economically or operationally.
It isn't going to happen, 200 megawatts is such a small amount
of power, 100 years of full capacity would not pay for launch costs.
Many power companies sell to big commercial users at close
to two cents a kilowatt hour, while California has had to pay over 30
cents during peak periods.
The average big bomber radial engine in WWII was more
than 2,000 horsepower, that is about 1.5 megawatts.
Only insane people would consider space power when the
relative power numbers are understood. I responded to an
engineer working on airliner design for fuel cell propulsion technology,
2 megawatts sounded like a lot to him, but 2 megawatts is not enough
to get a modern airliner off the ground.
Convert all power numbers to horsepower and reality sets in,
be thankful there is the nuclear option, and that at least some hydro
If the nuts close any coal plants, there will be a lot of
people either freezing or sweating.
Maybe bed warmers will become popular again.
Try it for 10 years, then try to find a suitable launch
I hesitate to say, but scroll down to electric rates, would
converting from megawatt hours to KWH mean moving the decimal
point 3 places?
Most homes can get by with very little power, it is summer
peak daytime and evening that seems to be the problem, so it
is peak power that is needed, all power companies have base
So is interest on investment.
Chances are the capacity will catch up to the slowing demand,
it may depend a lot on how many go back to Mexico because of job
I wouldn't doubt but that the power company doesn't even
think the power will ever be delivered they may be just doing public
interest or looking good to the AGW nuts.
Maybe not, there is conflicting language.
"A cogeneration configuration can be over 90% efficient."
"A typical large simple cycle gas turbine may produce 100 to 300
megawatts of power and have 35–40% thermal efficiency. The most
efficient turbines have reached 46% efficiency."
Note the word "simple". These machines can be built in one
year or less and can be started much faster than steam boilers of any
kind. Good planning should include a mix of cogeneration machines.
Peak generation is needed, and this is the lowest cost way to
buy it or use.
If space power is ever implemented, fine, but don't count on
it, the capacity would take so long to manufacture and launch, any
existing fossil plants will live out ther design life.
(except maybe for the old dogs in New York that are the
Max efficiency = 1 - (temp output/temp input).
Temp in absolute.
"Carnot's theorem only applies to heat engines"
That does not discuss "cogeneration" which makes the gas
turbine power plant far more efficient.
Actually, with a cascade of boilers, turbines and condensor
units, very high efficiency can be reached, they just don't do it
on large plants.
A high school auto repair class connected a car engine to
a generator and a heat pump and delivered _better_ than 100
percent energy to a house.
That would work good if the same amount of heat and
electricity was needed year around.
On Fri, 8 May 2009 14:59:58 +0000 (UTC), firstname.lastname@example.org
No, I should find the article, they probably got about 20 percent
from the driveshaft, and 85 percent from the waste heat, does it
matter, the object until alternate energy is available is to get the
most energy possible from fuel used.
I'm glad you objected, I found this very interesting page;
I wonder what is going on, are high schools more
advanced than colleges?
All of the energy from the fuel ends up as heat.
Some of the energy is also used to pump some heat from point
A to point B as part of the process *in addition to the heat from
the fuel* which is still released in the end.
No free lunch.
With a modern high efficiency furnace, the efficiency is
probably in the 90+ range, so that is one the things to compare
I have gas space heaters and a gas kitchen range that
I only use during power outages, the gas range may be 90+
percent, but it takes a lot of oxygen and makes fumes, but
the gas stoves require changing the air 5 or 6 times an hour
and are less than 70 percent efficient.
I thought the high school project was excellent for
teaching innovative ways to get as much useful energy as
possible from the fuel.
"Efficiency" is the useful enery over the consumed energy
in actual practice, there is only one context for the energy used.
Well, they use a different term for heat pumps for that
reason, which should be made more widely known, many
people think heat pumps are no good, when they actually
may be the only way that enough space heat can be used
or afforded in the future outside the sun belt.
There is no way any gas stove or light bulb can give
more than 100 percent, but the heat pumps and the high school
No, you are fixated on a theoretical concept, and I find
A scientist or engineer that allows himself to be closed
minded to a concept of "anything is possible" may deny himself
the pleasure of new discoveries.
In 1975 how many aerospace engineers believed that
an all aspect fighter jet could be made almost impossible to
track on radar?
How many now think that space propulsion requires
ejection of mass in the opposite direction.
How many economists think that the government must
either tax, borrow, or print every dollar it spends.
These types of things need to be discussed with an
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