I recently published an ebook about the StratoSolar-PV solution: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/233901. There is a link on the StratoSolar home page but I expect it will be easily overlooked. If you read it please give us feedback on what could be better, either as comments to this blog or in the “contact us” from the StratoSolar home page. Also please pass on the link to anyone you think might be interested.
The US spent/will spend over $150B on clean energy between 2009 and 2014, over $58B of which was one time ARRA expenditure. $108B went on deployment of mostly wind and solar. What did we get for $108B? About two thirds went to double our capacity of wind power and one third on ethanol subsidies. Doubling wind sounds impressive, but wind only accounts for about 3% of electricity generation, and less than 0.5% of overall energy. That means the new wind added accounts for less than 0.2% of total energy. The reduction in CO2 from this is not perceptible. To have had an impact of 20% of energy, spending would have to have been 100 times greater, or about $5T. This is clearly not affordable and gets to the crux of the matter. The only rational argument for spending so much for so little is that it will eventually result in lower cost energy. However all the evidence is that wind energy is getting more expensive, and will continue to do so. Wind turbines don’t scale, and most manufacturing efficiencies have been exploited. New sites are less productive or need transmission investment, which raises cost. Offshore wind costs two to three times as much and is the majority of projected wind growth.
We seem to have a classic impasse. There is the camp where cost is the issue and CO2 is ignored or argued away, and the camp where CO2 is the issue and cost is ignored or argued away. We need a camp where both cost and CO2 matter.
Say we had spent the $108B on building prototypes of new nuclear power plants, or infrastructure elements like CAES storage, CCS, thermal storage, high temperature solar receivers, high altitude wind, large scale electrolysis and fuel synthesis to name a few. Now we would be six years ahead in building and testing new things that would be adding to or subtracting from the deployable technology list as opposed to the speculative drawing board list. $18B a year could fund 36 $500M a year projects. To avoid factional fighting a rational plan would have CO2 reduction at affordable cost as the only determining factors.
Clearly StratoSolar should be on the list.
President of StratoSolar