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Pre-Phase A System Study of a Commercial-Scale Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP) System for Terrestrial Needs

Programme Reference
23-P-M- TEC-01
Start Date
End Date
Pre-Phase A System Study of a Commercial-Scale Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP) System for Terrestrial Needs

The growth of the human population, industrialization of developing countries and rising living standards for the population are continuously increasing global energy demand, that in the next 30 years is forecast to double.

In the meantime most European countries have decided to phase out coal use in the power sector, some even by 2030 or by 2040 at the latest. Coal phase-out and current uncertainties over the supply of other types of fossil fuels (e.g., oil, natural gas) coupled with the phase-out of nuclear power plants in some countries would result in a significant decrease in baseload generation capacity. The increasing share of intermittent renewables alone cannot solve the growing demand from the electrification of modern economies. Their load profile is volatile due to their fluctuating and intermittent nature.

Following the above considerations we need to urgently investigate a variety of sustainable, affordable, secure and scalable energy sources in order to contribute to the collective objective to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and fulfil the Paris Agreement.

SBSP system could largely contribute to the decarbonisation of the European energy sector in the upcoming decades, with the potential to turn solar power into a renewable baseload capacity. It has the potential to generate green electricity throughout the year with little interruption and without any direct greenhouse gas emissions.

Satellites in orbit are illuminated by the sun without being limited by constraints on ground (e.g. daylight/nightlight cycle and wheatear conditions) resulting with a solar intensity substantially greater than received on ground. Space Based Solar Power is the concept of collecting this abundant solar power in orbit, and beaming it securely on earth. Its main advantage over wind and terrestrial solar energy is the ability to deliver energy day and night throughout the year and in all weathers. It has good grid integration characteristics and is scalable, safe, resilient and secure.