lecture: Saving the World with Space Solar Power
or is it just PEWPEW?!
Space Solar Power station, such as SPS Alpha, could overcome some issues that renewable energy plants on Earth suffer of structural basis when challenges such as energy transfer from orbit to Earth are solved. But will this solve the Earth's problems in a peaceful way?
The increasing demand on energy seems to be one of the greatest challenges for modern society. [1,2] Power generation approaches of the 20th century, such as coal, oil, or nuclear plants come with certain issues limiting the scalability and/or questioning even the approach itself since they may harm nature and environment on a longterm time scale.
Renewable energy generated e.g. with solar cells, wind mills, or tidal stations are on the rise but they usually depend to certain locations, weather, storage capabilities, and in some cases even on political climates. 
Space based Solar Power generation [4,5] overcomes some of these issues: solar cells in orbit are independent of atmospheric influences and weather (e.g. clouds), solar harvesting satellites can be placed in orbit so they always face sun and generate power continuously, and there is enough space to scale the plants in order to serve the power demands. Solar power is an infinite power source (at least in the time scale for humanity)
The bottle neck with this approach, however, is the transfer of the power from orbit to Earth. But if solved, this technology can supply power to locations on Earth, that are remotely located, that lack other power generation capabilities (e.g. due to a natural catastrophe), or that come with varying demands on power consumption.
Some questions still remain: Is it possible to transfer power wireless over such a long distance with a sufficient efficiency? [6-8] How would that influence life on Earth? And who is in charge of the orbital death laser?!?
- Glaser Patent 1973
- SPS Alpha report 2012
- Japanese Approach
- JAXA report of 2004
- Chinese CAST MR-SPS Approach