UK Government’s New Net Zero Plan Might be Its Most Idiotic Yet


By Paul Homewood

h/t Me GrimNasty

I don’t know whether Grant Shapps ever took out a subscription to Look and Learn when he was young, but circumstantial evidence would suggest that he might well have done. It was in the long-defunct children’s magazine, I have a vague recollection, that I first read about the idea of beaming solar-generated power down from space. Shapps is now so taken with the idea that he has just approved a £4.3 million grant to UK universities to help develop it. A quarter of Britain’s energy, he claims, could one day be obtained in this way.

I don’t begrudge the technologists their public money. It is a perfectly proper role of government to fund the development of science and promising technologies which might otherwise struggle to obtain private funding in their early years. And who knows, maybe it will one day turn out to be a practical means of generating energy. Up in space, of course, it is always sunny – and the sunlight is much stronger, having not had to travel through the Earth’s atmosphere.

But a quarter of the UK’s energy, and in time to help Britain reach its 2050 net zero target? Dream on. There is a reason that the exploitation of solar energy from space has remained a pipe dream for the past 50 years. It is fantastically difficult. First, you have to design solar panels which are light enough to launch into space and will continue to generate massive amounts of power without maintenance for many years – not just generating enough electricity to power a few instruments for a few months, as a solar panel on a space probe flung into outer space might do. But the far bigger issue is, how do you then transmit the power down to Earth so that it can be used? The Californian Institute of Technology says it has succeeded in beaming a small amount of energy wirelessly from a satellite to Earth. But there is a long, long way to go between that and commercial operation.

Shapps’ enthusiasm can be quite endearing. “People thought it was impossible to land a man on the Moon, or impossible to split the atom. You follow the science and the impossible becomes possible,” he said in backing the UK’s effort for harnessing solar energy from space. What he didn’t do, of course, was to list the many miracle technologies which have remained pies in the sky. Everyone remembers President Kennedy’s promise in 1961 to put a man on the Moon by the end of that decade. 

Few recall Nasa’s promise to put a man on Mars by 1980. Nor have the promised tourist jaunts to the Moon yet materialised. What is possible and what makes commercial sense are two very different things. No-one yet knows what the price of solar power generated in space will be – if it ever comes to fruition. Nor, incidentally, do we yet have the nuclear fusion-generated power which the head of the US nuclear energy industry told us in 1954 would be ‘too cheap to meter’ by his grandchildren’s day. In fact, we still don’t have a single functioning nuclear fusion power station.

I’m no Luddite. Let’s have a go at all this stuff. Trouble is, though, that the government has committed Britain to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 27 years’ time on the presumption that multiple as-yet unproven technologies will miraculously arrive in time. There is a fine line between optimism and Panglossian foolishness, and Grant Shapps, I fear, is on the wrong side of it.

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June 15, 2023 6:16 am

Parliament has decided – and the school houses are all agreed – that the peasantry must do as it is told…. Net zero choice on that.

It probably sounded more convincing in 1660

Reply to  strativarius
June 15, 2023 1:18 pm

Thankfully, ultimately, it will be the masses who decide

Joe Gordon
Reply to  Energywise
June 15, 2023 1:42 pm

By then, they will literally be powerless to do anything (except sleep and eat bugs).

Joao Martins
Reply to  strativarius
June 16, 2023 3:49 am

1660? Do they still chop royals’ necks?

Martin Pinder
Reply to  strativarius
June 16, 2023 12:30 pm

Yes, net zero really stands for net zero choice.

June 15, 2023 6:17 am

Our council used to be a mix of Greens, Covert Greens (aka Independents) and Lib Dems. They got in the time before this on the strength of a terrible Conservative Westminster government.

This time they are no longer in power. Imagine how bad you have to be to lose BACK to the Conservatives currently?

They were, and remain obsessed by #NetZero. To the exclusion of all else, including sanity. And the rate paying public. Who did notice. Their Citizens’ Climate Assembly was a rigged farce.

So I find it rather sweet anyone thinks their votes one way or other made, make or will make any difference now. The spirit of Mrs. Johnson lives on…


Philip Mulholland
June 15, 2023 6:34 am

Shapps’ enthusiasm can be quite endearing.

I don’t think so.

June 15, 2023 6:38 am

All Net Zero plans are idiotic, but some are more idiotic than others.

June 15, 2023 6:41 am

Don’t place yourself between the transmitter and receiver of the giant microwave beam.

Reply to  karlomonte
June 15, 2023 12:24 pm

From the papers I have read, the energy density of these beams are quite low. It’s like sunlight, you need square miles of receiving antennas to be able to receive a usable amount of energy,

Martin Pinder
Reply to  MarkW
June 16, 2023 12:38 pm

Depends on the beam width. Imagine 100 square metres cross sectional beam area transmitting say 10 gigawatts. that’s a power density of .1 gigawatts per square metre. Definitely dangerous! If the receiving antenna arrays are as large as you say, they will be as, or more, environmentally damaging than current solar arrays.

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  karlomonte
June 15, 2023 7:08 pm

G’Day karlomonte,

Don’t place yourself between the transmitter and receiver of the giant microwave beam.”

You might read “The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space.” Your local library might have a copy, or should be able to get a copy for you. It deals with space colonies manufacturing solar to microwave power stations. The US had the technology in the 1970’s, but not the money or the will.

After the 1980 election funding for the studies was stopped. Senator William Proxmire, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee responsible for NASA’s budget and an aggressive critic of government failure. His response was: “It’s the best argument yet for chopping NASA’s funding to the bone …. I say not a penny for this nutty fantasy”. He successfully eliminated spending on space colonization research from the budget.

June 15, 2023 6:52 am

I think that this scheme would work best if they install it “where the sun don’t shine”

Of course the UK and other world governments would first have to remove their heads from that location in order to make room for the scheme …..

Ron Long
Reply to  Shytot
June 15, 2023 9:39 am

I agree, Shytot, install it “where the sun don’t shine”. I’m happy to see we both think Canada needs help.

June 15, 2023 7:28 am

Isn’t a huge space satellite microwave laser a weapon? If it drifts off the receiver target, it could fry a whole lot of GB.

Reply to  JamesB_684
June 15, 2023 12:25 pm

Energy densities are not high enough to be that dangerous.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  MarkW
June 15, 2023 12:59 pm

That means it is probably not worth doing.

Replacing the French interconnector’s current contribution of 3.59GW isn’t a big objective.
Using a receiver area of 1 hectare, about two NFL pitches, means that energy is arriving at 359,000 W/m^2.
Sounds intense to me.

Reply to  MarkW
June 15, 2023 1:01 pm

Let’s let Yoko Ono and Erin Brockovich decide as the senior scientists and arbitrators.

Onthe Move
June 15, 2023 7:30 am

What if we run a cable from space with an European type plug at the end? That might do it

Reply to  Onthe Move
June 15, 2023 7:56 am

If the satellite was geosynchronous, and the plug was at the equator, it could theoretically work. The cable would need to be really strong…

Richard Page
Reply to  JamesB_684
June 15, 2023 1:19 pm

First build a beanstalk, then attach an array of solar panels to the top. That’d work.

Joe Gordon
Reply to  JamesB_684
June 15, 2023 1:53 pm

There’s a really old Michael Crichton novel that deals with this concept. Before he was even using his own name on novels. Most of it involved traveling up and down the cable on some sort of scooter wearing a magic spacesuit, but the concept has been around a long, long time.

One thing to consider is the physics of such a cable and the forces involved at either end as the cable is subject to atmospheric pressures and simply the forces of traveling in sync with the earth’s rotation.

I think the wireless approach is a better one, but, as always, what is the cost of creating anything at a scale to be worth using? I agree with the author – good to fund some research, but irresponsible to count on at any fixed point in the future.

Curious George
Reply to  Onthe Move
June 15, 2023 8:15 am

Right on. I believe the grant is not for launching mirrors, but for finding a way to get the power down without a cable.

George Daddis
June 15, 2023 7:38 am

“…People thought it was impossible to land a man on the Moon, or impossible to split the atom. You follow the science and the impossible becomes possible…”

Statisticians might call this comment an example of “Texas Sharpshooting”.
Fire at a barn wall and then draw the target around it.

I’d suggest Schapp peruse copies of 1950’s Popular Science and use those predicted future developments as a basis for his optimism.

Of course Tesla opined that wireless transmission of power would be possible. Too bad no one attempted to develop that technology since that time. /sarc

Reply to  George Daddis
June 15, 2023 8:07 am

“Texas Sharpshooting”.

Fire at a barn wall and then draw the target around it.

Brilliant analogy.

Reply to  George Daddis
June 15, 2023 9:02 am

“…People thought it was impossible to land a man on the Moon, or impossible to split the atom. You follow the science and the impossible becomes possible…”

In both of those cases, failure would not have negatively impacted society as a whole. That is the significant difference. Our future was not dependent on their success. If these ideas fail and we give up what currently works, what are the consequences.

Betting our future on technologies that do not currently exist is a horrible bet.

George Daddis
Reply to  Tony_G
June 15, 2023 10:25 am

I believe that was the original meaning of the Precautionary Principle before the 1st Rio Climate Conference turned it upside down.

June 15, 2023 7:41 am

The sad part is people will believe this possible and use it as another reason we should stop using FF. It’s amazing how many people believe now that we can run the world on solar and wind generated energy thinking there are batteries capable of storing that much energy for no wind/sun periods.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
June 15, 2023 9:16 am

Yes nailed it..

It’s building a false feeling of confidence about the future, among ill-educated, gullible & naive people, thereby enabling the contemporary screws to be tightened even further

Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
June 15, 2023 1:23 pm

Fear not, in 5 billion years time, the Suns coming right to us, no need for fancy gadgets to harvest it

Richard Page
Reply to  Energywise
June 16, 2023 2:46 am

Ah no – they have a plan to avoid that. They’re going to use technology developed in about a million years time, then something happens, and the problem is solved, simples! sarc

Martin Pinder
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
June 16, 2023 12:51 pm

‘And technology is improving all the time’ is yet another phrase used by these unicorn believers when challenged.

Frank from NoVA
June 15, 2023 7:48 am

‘It is a perfectly proper role of government to fund the development of science and promising technologies which might otherwise struggle to obtain private funding in their early years.‘

Actually, it isn’t. Which is why we’re currently suffering the ill economic, social and health effects of government-funded science. Your results may differ, but in the US, north of 90% of what the Federal government does is unconstitutional.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
June 15, 2023 1:25 pm

Agree, science should never be politicised

June 15, 2023 8:05 am

Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.

A man who left school with 5 ‘O’ Levels. For our overseas friends, this is the most basic school leaver qualification in the UK (now superseded by GCSE’s (General Certificate of Secondary Education)), and 5 of them is nothing to be proud of. Nor do they mention at what grade they were – A,B and C are passes – D, E and F are fails, but a certificate is still awarded.

His employment and business experience runs to selling photocopiers then setting up an online printing company.

What this man know about energy, far less energy security, defies logic.

Of course dealing with NetZero is easy. Figure out how to hand out taxpayers money as subsidies to renewables businesses that could not survive without them.

This, I’m afraid, is the standard of British politics.

Reply to  HotScot
June 15, 2023 12:25 pm

“…Of course dealing with NetZero is easy. Figure out how to hand out taxpayers money as subsidies to renewables businesses that could not survive without them…”

It’s a little more complicated than that. You also need to figure out how to set yourself up to legally skim part of the largess.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  HotScot
June 15, 2023 12:42 pm

I have been referring to him as “Shapps the idiot” for many years before this latest hare-brained scheme. I just now realise that I am doing a great disservice to idiots.

Reply to  HotScot
June 15, 2023 1:35 pm

Great comment – Shapps did manage an HND in finance, which still makes him illiterate and incompetent in anything from a technical or Engineering perspective
He does like the glitzy presentations the wind & solar, ex used car salesmen show him just before he writes them a taxpayer funded cheque, subsidy or CfD contract
Anyone peddling battery cars, smart meters, heat pumps or renewables in the nut zero selection box, is a fool, or benefitting

Richard Page
Reply to  HotScot
June 16, 2023 2:56 am

C’s in Maths, Eng Lit, Eng Lang, B’s in Geography and CDT, he got a U (unclassified – not a pass) in combined science. He did go on to get a diploma in business and finance from Manchester Polytechnic.

Reply to  Richard Page
June 16, 2023 5:32 am

Well dug up. I couldn’t find any further information than that I posted.

My electricians mate told me the other day that he has two degrees and a masters. He was made redundant and at 60 years old couldn’t get a job in his field.

Reply to  Richard Page
June 16, 2023 7:28 am

Well as far as politicians are concerned that’s about the par for the course.

Their egos/ambitions are writing checks that their qualifications/abilities can’t cash.

Our future in the (unsafe) hands of these incompetents – what (more) could possibly go wrong!

** when I went to Manchester Polytechnic I needed some A levels as well as decent O levels to get on my course.

Lee Riffee
June 15, 2023 8:05 am

Trying to bring solar energy down from space would have many of the same issues that ground based solar has. Namely, cloudy skies – if it’s cloudy (as is often the case in the UK) it doesn’t matter how much energy is up there, if you can’t get it down here. Then you will have atmospheric conditions like fog, dust, haze, etc, that will attenuate the energy beam.
These issues are one of the main reasons that laser weapons on the battlefield are very limited in scope and use. For an energy beam to do its job (warfare or energy transmission) it has to have ideal atmospheric conditions.
Something like this would work fabulously to bring power to a future moon colony, as there is no weather and atmosphere to deal with. But here on earth you will have the same problems any other solar energy projects currently have.

Reply to  Lee Riffee
June 15, 2023 11:43 am

The energy beam would be microwave not optical and go right through clouds and such, and be probably a kilometre wide or more so specks of dust wouldn’t be an issue.

Not that I’m saying solar power satellites are a good or even just a possible option – just putting in my toonie’s worth of knowledge.

Jim Gorman
June 15, 2023 8:20 am

Can you imagine moving the number of required solar cells to account for the inclination and precession of the earth.

June 15, 2023 8:29 am

Can’t the numpties do simple multiplication? So you’ve got some solar panels that are 25% efficient and abracadabra Nobel you’ve discovered the 100% efficient solar panel. 100% times zero is still zero at night stoopids.

Reply to  observa
June 15, 2023 11:47 am

Up in space there is no night or day – the solar power satellites over the night side would still be able to get lit by the Sun. In the rare case of being eclipsed by the Earth, the satellites also would act as power transmission satellites, receiving power from lit up satellites. They would also be able to pass power around wherever it’s needed over the globe.

June 15, 2023 8:32 am

A large, convex, inflated mylar reflector in space in synchronous ofbit could solve the UK;s problem with solar power. Every solar panel in the UK would be aimed at the reflector, not the sun.

As a bonus there would be no need for street lights and the growing season on the UK would be much longer. The UK would now be a tropical holiday delight.

Rod Evans
June 15, 2023 8:55 am

Ha ha! And you all thought they had reached peak barking mad when they promised battery back up for grid scale electrical generation.
This is a whole new level of unexpected stupidity but don’t think they won’t come up with something even more bizarre that this.
I would like to remind Grant S, we only had one semi serious space launch system from here in the U.K. and it recently went bust following failure. The idea we would be able to launch the necessary to create 25% of our grid energy demand is so far along the wishful thinking road, even Dorothy and Toto didn’t go that far. They were just expecting to meet a wizard!…

Reply to  Rod Evans
June 15, 2023 11:14 am

They are getting pretty enthusiastic about reviving old power generation ideas. What have they done with pyramid power lately?

Rick C
June 15, 2023 9:56 am

There were 2 James Bond movies that centered on beaming energy from space. “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Goldeneye”. If they can’t develop useful solar energy transport, maybe they can make a really cool weapon.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Rick C
June 15, 2023 12:51 pm

There was a third, “Die Another Day” had a similar plot to “Diamonds Are Forever”, basically a remake/update.

June 15, 2023 10:17 am

Clearly satellite-derived solar power would have to be sent down to Earth in an incredibly powerful beam of energy. What could go wrong?

What happens if the beam loses direction by a fraction of a degree and hits a nearby city? What happens to the intensely heated column of air through which the beam passes? What kind of weapon would this beam be?

Look at human history. My judgment is that this is a bad idea.

Reply to  kwinterkorn
June 15, 2023 12:34 pm

What would happen? Nothing.

A 1MW beam that covers one square kilometer would work out to an energy density of 0.01 Watts per centimeter square.
Depending on the altitude of the satellite, the beam could easily be wider.

The expense of these schemes is not just getting the satellite into orbit, it’s building the receiving antenna..

John Oliver
June 15, 2023 10:19 am

Don’t worry the Wundertechnologie will be coming online any day now

June 15, 2023 10:21 am

UK Government’s New Net Zero Plan Might be Its Most Idiotic Yet


Kevin Kilty
June 15, 2023 10:57 am

John Holdren of Obama Science Czar fame touted two energy sources that would be available by the 1990s in his 1972 Sierra Club Battlebook entitled “Power: A crisis in Energy” or maybe the title was “Energy: A crisis in power” — Fusion and Orbital solar with microwave beamed to Earth.

Need I elaborate?

June 15, 2023 11:05 am

I remember reading O’Neils plan for the solar power satellites back I think in the 80’s and I think I might still have the book somewhere. It required Apollo levels of investment, not for 10 years but maintained for about 3 decades – and it only was viable because they leveraged a moon base for the actual material for the panels. The only thing coming up from Earth was the equipment needed for the original moonbase with its linear accelerator train to space, and for the orbiting foundry and factory processing everything and making the panels.

The planned called for a shuttle-derived lifter remarkably like the useless guilt-pig Artemis rocket, so at least reality is better in that Starship will be available in a few years and be cheaper than O’Neill envisioned, and I think solar efficiency is basically at what was assumed, but our time’s robots and manufacturing tech might make things faster and cheaper than the original plan.

But ready for multiple GWs in place by 2050, at a meter price that people can afford – no way.

June 15, 2023 11:49 am

A solar collector large enough to supply a quarter of the UK’s total energy demand would have to be much larger than the International Space Station, which has required hundreds of launches of European, US, and Russian rockets to build and supply. How much fuel would need to be burned to launch the rockets to build such a huge solar collector in space?

Such a satellite would have to be in geosynchronous orbit, meaning that it would have to be over the Equator, at an altitude of about 35,800 km above the earth’s surface or about 42,100 km from the center of the earth. From the point of view of the satellite, the earth would subtend an angle of about 17.3 degrees, meaning that the satellite would be in the earth’s shadow for over an hour each day. If it was over the Greenwich Meridian, the beam would be interrupted for an hour right around midnight, so the British would have to burn the midnight oil in the absence of electricity.

Then there is the question of how to transmit the beam from space to somewhere in the UK. The beam would have to be well-focused so that it does not scatter to a much larger radius when transmitted through over 35,000 km of space. Also, since the UK is north of 50 degrees latitude, the incident beam would be less than 40 degrees above the southern horizon, with the possibility of scattering when passing through the atmosphere.

The beam would also have to consist of high-energy (high frequency, short wavelength) light to be able to penetrate clouds, which are frequent over the UK. Visible light can be scattered by clouds and the atmosphere, and some ultraviolet is filtered out by the ozone layer. This means that the beam would have to be in the far-ultraviolet to X-ray part of the spectrum. While people and airplane pilots could be warned to stay away from the beam, birds and wildlife that stray into the beam would be fried to death.

Then there is the question of how to convert the energy of the beam to electricity. What kind of materials would need to be used to withstand the intense radiation? Who could maintain the power station, and how would such personnel be protected from the radiation, and possible burns and genetic damage?

But I’m sure lots of university students would love to share 4.3 million “quid” to write a report to Grant Shapps that the whole idea is unfeasible.

Reply to  SteveZ56
June 15, 2023 1:39 pm

And it would have to miss all the space junk

June 15, 2023 12:00 pm

He’s claiming that because somethings that some people thought to be impossible turned out to be possible. Therefore everything that is currently thought to be impossible will someday turn out to be possible.

Peta of Newark
June 15, 2023 12:26 pm

and here’s another, not so bright, idea but no great harm is done – tho it could have been. Methinks some engineers saved the day.

Involving batteries again = a Chinese Ponzi Scheme……
Headline:China is Throwing Away Fields of Electric Cars
the toob

Now remind me how Renewable Energy, a really fantastic Bright Idea, was/is going to be made viable and cheap using battery storage….

June 15, 2023 12:27 pm

So at last the cat is out of the bag. UN chief denounces carbon capture plans thus proving that the intention isn’t to decarbonise the worlds energy but to impoverish it’s population

UN chief says fossil fuels ‘incompatible with human survival’ | The Times of Israel

Reply to  b13mart3in
June 15, 2023 1:41 pm

Anything the UN has its grubby hands on, should be taken with a pinch of WEF

ethical voter
Reply to  b13mart3in
June 15, 2023 4:59 pm

The UN chief is an idiot just like most other UN delegates. The UN is a dumping ground for useless hasbeen leftist politicians. Defund the UN and make the world a better place.

June 15, 2023 12:41 pm

Did they really manage to put a man on the moon travelling unprotected through the Van Allen belts and a few other questions?

I wonder!

June 15, 2023 12:58 pm

I’ve got some green swamp land to sell them… space.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
June 15, 2023 1:42 pm

Does it have a bridge? Not interested if no bridge involved

June 15, 2023 1:05 pm

It does not matter if it works, it just needs to be listed on the London exchange with politico backing.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
June 15, 2023 1:42 pm

ESG Larry will fund it

June 15, 2023 1:16 pm

Shapps, armed with his HND in finance, is hardly competent to assess anything nut zero – he believes wind energy is our saviour, because some turbine salesmen told him so
From battery cars, to heat pumps, to smart meters, to renewables – all as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike from an Engineering perspective, but Grant thinks these are the new messiah, because he’s been told so by activists and other conmen
When the nut zero chaos really hits home, financially and socially and the civil unrest is unbearable, Grant will have retired in comfort, it’ll be someone else’s s**t to shovel

Tom Abbott
June 15, 2023 1:53 pm

Well, the Chicoms plan on having a working solar power satellite in orbit by the year 2030.

And there is this:

I favor building a solar power satellite out of a balloon. Cover the outside with solar cells, pack it into your space launch vehicle, and when it gets to orbit, the balloon can be inflated.

One Gerard O’Neill plan was to launch a deflated balloon such as this, using a space shuttle launch, which would be one mile in diameter when inflated, and could be inflated using 40 pounds of helium gas. I forget what the power output was..I’ll have to look it up. Space Studies Institute and Gerard O’Neill did a lot of work on these things.

The balloon doesn’t have to be aimed at the sun, half of the solar panels will always be lit.

The main holdup back in the 1970’s when these were first discussed was the flexible solar cells that would be required to cover the outside. A lot of progress has been made in that area since that time.

There will be uses for solar power satellites in orbit to power habitats and orbital transfer vehicles and all sorts of good things.

Now, will the Chicoms beat us to building the first solar power satellite in space? If left up to our governments, the answer would be yes, but we have a few forward thinkers, not in government, who might make this happen for us.

Here’s Space Studies Institute:

June 16, 2023 12:58 am

Wonderful, and if a stray satellite or other space debris happens to destroy this agglomeration of solar panels, we lose up to 25% of all our power generation in one fell swoop? Not to mention, given that it’s in space, it’ll probably cost more billions and take a decade to build another set and get it up there. Where’s the Picard facepalm gif when you need it…

Eric Harpham
June 16, 2023 5:45 am

27 years. About 9700 days. A lot to do in that time. 22million residential heat pumps plus 8 million commercial premises. 32 million electric cars to sell/buy plus 6 million commercial vehicles plus an appropriate number of chargers installed. You can all add things that need doing that are in your area of expertise. And only 9700 days, 233,000 hours but only 77000 working hours working 8 hour days 7 days a week and no holidays
Do your own maths as I have. Will somebody in power get real.

I haven’t even mentioned availability of materials.

The Real Engineer
June 16, 2023 8:41 am

Obviously poor Grant knows nothing about radio transmission or microwaves. Strangely there a rather large number, known as the free space path loss for radio signals. Light has the same but happens to travel at just the right range of frequencies for it to be small to space, hence we get sunlight. However at reasonable microwave frequencies the number is quite large, and the signals interact with various of the atmospheric constituants, particularly water and water vapour. This is the simple reason why radio transmitters have such high radiated power, nearly all of it is lost! This will also need to be a geostationary satellite too, so that it points to a fixed location on Earth to receive the power, and the beam will need to be of the order of tens of meters wide at 25,000 miles distance, so the sending antenna will need to be both extremely accurate and probably many miles across. Interesting satellite!

June 16, 2023 8:45 am

What fun. If the energy beam is narrow and drifts off the receiver, surrounding areas will be summarily fried.
If it is a broad beam, it will warm the country and specifically cause warming of the surface, which is likely what these retards do not want.

Martin Pinder
June 16, 2023 12:28 pm

I see that the UK government is to ditch the proposed hydrogen levy. They have finally realised that hydrogen will never replace natural gas for home heating. This plan for satellites converting solar radiation into electric power, though theoretically possible, is yet another far-fetched idea. Imagine the size of such a satellite & its solar array for a multi gigawatt station. Our politicians are no engineers.

Steve Richards
June 17, 2023 1:43 am

An interesting idea but at the scale needed, horrifically expensive, potentially dangerous and an ideal military target.
We have the technology already.
Old style magnetrons each feeding slotted waveguides would work out of the box but you would need millions of them!
You could go ultra modern and have planar arrays using semiconductor modules, many millions of them.

Then what do we do when the signal arrives on earth? Millions of slotted antennas, each with a microwave detector diode.
Yep, all of the technology is available and it could work but it would be astronomically expensive.

June 17, 2023 8:10 am

My thermodynamics prof in the mid 1970s had spent the summer working on a NASA project to investigate space-based grid power. When it came to transmitting the power to earth you had two primary options:

Disburse the power “beam” so widely that it was harmless to the folks on the surface. But the ground-based receivers would be so large you might just as well have terrestrial solar arraysConcentrate the beam which would necessitate dangerous “no go” zones in the sky and on land and a potential “death ray” weapon if the beam became misdirected.Both schemes were subject to significant weather-based attenuation.

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