SSP and Electric Cars
In an Aug. 11 letter [“SSP Won’t Lessen OPEC Dependence,” page 26], Molly Macauley falsely asserted that space solar power (SSP) won’t lessen oil dependence. While correctly pointing out that, thanks to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, America generates little electricity from oil, she neglected to notice that all the major auto makers are planning plug-in hybrids, which will partially replace gasoline propulsion with electric power from the grid. For example, the Chevy Volt is expected to travel up to 40 miles [64 kilometers] on electric power alone, and most car trips are less than 40 miles. Beyond hybrids, it should be noted that Israel and Denmark are planning an infrastructure-driven switch to all electric cars starting in the next few years.
In the long term, when plug-in hybrids and all electric cars may well be common, SSP can supply vast quantities of extremely clean electric power anywhere in the world. If we had gotten serious about SSP in the 1970s, it’s quite likely that we would not be in the global warming and energy pickle we find ourselves in today. Let’s make sure we’re not saying the same thing in 2040.