Joint Study Group Recommends U.S.-India Develop Space-Based Solar Power

A Joint Study Group Report between the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Institute India recommends that “relevant U.S. and Indian government agencies should conduct a joint feasibility study on a cooperative program to develop space-based solar power with a goal of fielding a commercially viable capability within two decades.”

The Report also states: “One area that would engage scientists and engineers in both countries’ energy and space sectors is space-based solar power. This technology would involve very large solar arrays in continuously sunlit orbit that collect electrical energy, beam it to Earth, and receive it on the surface. A 2007 report by the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Security Space Office explicitly listed India as a potential partner for this technology, which admittedly would require considerable joint cooperation before it was economically viable. A successful effort, however, could provide unprecedented levels of clean and renewable energy.”

The Joint Study Group comprised business, policy, and thought leaders from the United States and India, and was co-chaired by Robert D. Blackwill, Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy, and Naresh Chandra, chairman of National Security Advisory Board. The full 67-page Report, The United States and India: A Shared Strategic Future (September, 2011), is available online.

The report’s recommendation parallels efforts on the part of the National Space Society and former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, in the Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative to promote space solar power.

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