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Space Frontier Foundation's Views on the NSSO-Sponsored SBSP Study Report

Space Frontier Foundation's Views on the NSSO-Sponsored SBSP Study Report

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Published by: Space Frontier Foundation on Jun 10, 2012
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Space Frontier Foundation Page 1 October 10, 2007
Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP):Meeting Humanity’s Energy, National Security,Environmental and Economic Development Needs
 
Views on theNSSO-Sponsored SBSP Study Report
National Press ClubWashington, D.C.Wednesday, October 10, 2007
For more information, or comments, contact:Margo DeckardSBSP Project Manager Space Frontier Foundationmardeckard@aol.com 937-367-4080
 
Space Frontier Foundation Page 2 October 10, 2007
There are 6 billion human beings inhabiting this world. Six billion humans who place demands on this Earth. Humans who want the Western standard-of-living and who justifiably want all the conveniences of modern life. A fundamental challenge in thiscentury is how to provide for the world's growing energy needs. While meeting thischallenge, it is vital that we also protect the Earth's fragile biosphere. Space-Based Solar Power, or SBSP, may be part of a combined solution for both energy and theenvironment. SBSP has the potential to produce renewable energy in very large amounts,in an economic and environmentally-friendly manner.The Space Frontier Foundation commends the National Security Space Office(NSSO) for requesting the study to examine SBSP and the appropriate roles of government and private industry in its development. The Space Frontier Foundationagrees with 100% of the recommendations in the NSSO-led study report.The Space Frontier Foundation, which has opposed many other federally-fundedspace programs as being wasteful and/or ineffective — strongly supports a new nationalinitiative for the U.S. Government to finance and incentivize the private industrydevelopment of SBSP. We urge the current White House, the existing Presidentialcandidates, the U.S. Congress, and U.S. industry to heed the NSSO-led study’s findingthat “
 space-based solar power presents a strategic opportunity
” for America that “
merits significant further attention on the part of both the US Government and the private sector.”
The NSSO-led study reports that the United States has spent over $20 Billion onfusion energy research in a steady and sustained manner. In fact, the White House hasrequested $418 million for fusion research in FY2008, which is 5 times the total amountthis nation has invested in SBSP over the last 40 years. The Space Frontier Foundationagrees that “
SBSP requires a coordinated national program with high-level leadershipand resourcing commensurate with its promise, but at least on the level of fusion energyresearch or International Space Station construction and operations.”
For the last 40 years, the biggest challenge to space-based solar power has not beentechnology. The biggest challenge has been figuring out “How can SBSP everbecome economically affordable, compared to alternatives?”
Perhaps the biggest news of the NSSO-led study is that the team uncoveredsomething new that might forever change the economic equation for space-based solar  power. The report estimates that the Department of Defense (DoD) is paying about $1 per kilowatt-hour for electricity in forward bases in Iraq, when all indirect costs areincluded. This is an order of magnitude higher in price than what Americans pay for electricity in their homes. These higher electricity prices are not caused by gouging, but by the realities of war and how electricity is generated for the warfighter. Currently, we pump oil out of the ground in the Middle East or the continental United States, and thentransport the oil to the Gulf coast where it is refined into kerosene. We then pump thekerosene onto tankers, which must be guarded by the U.S. Navy, and transport it to theGulf region. We then pump the kerosene off the tankers into individual trucks, which
 
Space Frontier Foundation Page 3 October 10, 2007
must be heavily guarded by American ground forces. Then, these convoys, which are primary targets for asymmetric attacks by improvised explosive devices, must run adangerous gauntlet through a war zone. Finally, the kerosene is delivered to the forward bases, where it is converted into electricity.The NSSO-led study report finds that:
o
 
Petroleum products account for approximately 70% of delivered tonnage to U.S.forces in Iraq—total daily consumption is approximately 1.6 million gallons.
o
 
Significant numbers of American men and women are killed and injured whilethey are defending these supply chains.
o
 
The estimated cost of $1 per kilowatt hour does NOT include the cost in lives of American men and women.In other words, if space-based solar power existed today it would be saving thelives of American men and women in Iraq. It is this fundamental finding that creates the possibility that the DoD might become an early adopter, and anchor tenant customer, for SBSP. The possibility that the Department of Defense might be willing to sign up asanchor tenant to “
 pay for SBSP services delivered to the warfighter in forward bases inamounts of 5-50 MW continuous, at a price of $1 or more per kilowatt-hour 
”, changesthe entire economic equation of SBSP.
For this reason, the business case for Space-Based Solar Power may close in the verynear future with reasonable and appropriate actions by the U.S. Government.
In order to close the business case, and begin the development of SBSP, theFoundation urges the Administration and the U.S. Congress to enact the followingspecific recommendations by the NSSO-led study report.
1.
 
DoD as Anchor Tenant Customer
:
The key to every business is having dependableand reliable customer(s).
 
The availability of a dependable anchor tenant customer,who is willing to pay $1 or more per kilowatt hour for large amounts of power, is amajor step forward.
 
 
The SBSP Study Group recommends that the DoD should immediately conduct arequirements analysis of underlying long-term DoD demand for secure, reliable,and mobile energy delivery to the warfighter, what the DoD might be willing to pay for a SBSP service delivered to the warfighter and under what terms and conditions, and evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of variousapproaches to signing up as an anchor tenant customer of a commercially-delivered service, such as the NextView acquisition approach pioneered by the National GeoSpatial-imaging Agency.
2.
 
Extend Federal Incentives for Other Carbon-Neutral Energy Technologies toSBSP
:
The U.S. Government is providing major incentives to many other energytechnologies, in support of energy independence and clean renewable energy

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