Japan’s Plan To Supply All The World’s Energy With A Power Plant On The Moon

Kelvinsong (CC)

Kelvinsong (CC)

Jeez, why can’t we just leave the moon alone? The United States and the Soviet Union wanted to to nuke it, NASA now wants to turn it into a vegetable garden, and the Japanese want to turn it into a power plant. The latter story from Quartz:

Shimizu, a Japanese architectural and engineering firm, has a solution for the climate crisis: Simply build a band of solar panels 400 kilometers (249 miles) wide (pdf) running all the way around the Moon’s 11,000-kilometer (6,835 mile) equator and beam the carbon-free energy back to Earth in the form of microwaves, which are converted into electricity at ground stations.

That means mining construction materials on the Moon and setting up factories to make the solar panels. “Robots will perform various tasks on the lunar surface, including ground leveling and excavation of hard bottom strata,” according to Shimizu, which is known for a series of far-fetched “dream projects” including pyramid cities and a space hotel. The company proposes to start building the Luna Ring in 2035. “Machines and equipment from the Earth will be assembled in space and landed on the lunar surface for installation,” says the proposal.

If that sounds like a sci-fi fantasy—and fantastically expensive—it’s not completely crazy. California regulators, for instance, in 2009 approved a contract that utility Pacific Gas & Electric signed to buy 200 megawatts of electricity from an orbiting solar power plant to be built by a Los Angeles area startup called Solaren. The space-based photovoltaic farm would consist of a kilometer-wide inflatable Mylar mirror that would concentrate the sun’s rays on a smaller mirror, which would in turn focus the sunlight on to high-efficiency solar panels. These would generate electricity, which would be converted into radio frequency waves, transmitted to a giant ground station near Fresno, California, and then converted back into electricity.

Unlike terrestrial solar power plants, orbiting solar panels can generate energy around the clock. The part-time nature of earthbound solar power means it can’t currently supply the minimum or “baseload” demand without backup from fossil-fuel plants. However, the cost of lifting the solar panels into orbit would be far higher than for building a photovoltaic power plant on earth…

[continues at Quartz]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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15 Comments on "Japan’s Plan To Supply All The World’s Energy With A Power Plant On The Moon"

  1. I have difficulty imagining the ballsack it must take for the Japanese to expect anyone to trust them with power generation at this point. We’re talking about something the size of a beanbag chair. These guys must need wheelbarrows just to get around the house.

  2. Rhoid Rager | Dec 1, 2013 at 9:09 am |

    You can’t build solar panels on a holographic projection.

    • Simon Valentine | Dec 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm |

      the thalmor plan to take credit as part of a plot to undermine the internet by over-governing the cats.

    • Anarchy Pony | Dec 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm |

      “The moon is just a spy satellite put there by Oprah and Minister Farrakhan, and not the Minister Farrakhan you’re thinking of.” -Tracy Jordan

  3. My cut and paste for this: “China is taking American discovered, American developed, American proven viable, Thorium nuclear technologies: safer, cheaper, scalable, plutonium free, 99% fuel efficient, near waste free, with benign waste after 300 years sequestration, to a new level. They rebirth,
    research, re-engineer, modernize, improve, Thorium LFTR styled
    technologies as we speak. Will this newer, safer, nuclear technology,
    already proven in working reactors in U.S., and brought to a new
    Chinese level of sophistication, eventually supplant the suicidal,
    dirty, inefficient, expensive, dangerous, Plutonium creating, current
    American enriched Uranium systems? Could China give birth to a new
    nuclear age? For all mankind? Remember: Uranium is in limited supply
    on earth. Thorium yields much higher energy per unit of fuel and
    Thorium is a much more plentiful fuel on earth. China speaks of a
    debut of Thorium in 2017. Can this newer fissioning technology
    supplant coal, oil, and enriched uranium (humanocidal, dirty) systems
    currently in use? at par or lower overall costs? Will China’s
    ‘politburo of seven’ enact this by law, as they have the electric
    car? More electric trains? More electric bullet trains? Larger
    population? My Question: Can a blinkered corpocracy like America keep
    up, compete, maintain itself beside this raging communist giant?

    Will the stagnant Corpocracy fade away
    with its fiat fairy money, from the world scene? China’s Thorium
    systems to debut in 2017?

    See: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4971

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UT2yYs5YJs Kun
    Chen from Chinese Academy of Sciences on China Thorium




  4. Mark White | Dec 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm |

    I’d like Japan to invest in a titanium shell for Japan. to keep the radiation and stupid ideas contained. Seriously. This from a nation of donut heads. http://i.huffpost.com/gen/790015/thumbs/o-BAGEL-HEADS-570.jpg?4

  5. Too many people seem to be losing their frickin’ minds all at the same time . . .

  6. Ron Chandler | Dec 6, 2013 at 11:07 am |

    Didn’t anybody read the moon astronaut’s logs? there are ALIENS up there! It’s off-limits!

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