The Federal Government is launching satellites and satellites mirrors to deflect solar winds, a move that could avert catastrophic climate change. The Government has taken a giant step forward in the development of large-area broadband networks, and is backing space-based project Astra Sky to create a new space based solar power satellite that is expected to provide electricity to all parts of the world around 2030. At the time of writing Space-Based Solar Power was in a private phase of development, but the Government has given it its backing today in a submission to the Global Warming Policy Forum in Rio. The Government’s proposal follows an extensive review and analysis by the National Research Council. “The Government has decided to make Astra Sky an official Australian Government program. In doing so, we believe Astra will prove to be a significant tool in helping achieve our objective of having the world’s largest high-bandwidth, high-power satellite infrastructure,” said Minister for Science and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.
The Government’s decision is a milestone towards putting in place a clean energy network on a global scale that would be able to provide power to about 1 trillion people by 2050. At present, Australia’s grid is dominated by aging, inefficient fossil fuel-based power infrastructure.
“Australia’s policy response so far has been to build a clean energy system we can afford and one that we are confident we can meet,” Mr Macfarlane said. “With Astra, I believe we’ll give Australia the best opportunity to have a clean energy future for the billions of people who depend on reliable globalised energy supply and distribution systems.” The Government acknowledges that the current policy framework for supporting a clean energy future may prove difficult to maintain.
The National Space Policy Forum in Rio is being supported by Australia’s leading clean energy think tanks, including Australian Institute of Marine Science, Environmental Defence Institute, Centre for Australian Climate Change Adaptation, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Sustainable Development Solutions and the Australia Foundation.
The Forum also recently accepted the recommendations of Australia’s expert panel on solar power. The panel was tasked with proposing the most cost effective and effective ways to build, install and operate small and medium sized solar photovoltaic solar power projects in Australia.