Friday, February 03, 2006

[National] Energy Independence @ 2 cents / KWH

Wednesday, I stumbled across (Thank you, BoingBoing !) a discussion of airborne windmills. One tethered version posits two cents per KWH, which ain't shabby, but has to ground when thunderbumpers start sparking, or Auntie Em's house flies by. Not suited for the tropics, but better for high latitudes, places (like Oregon) which really need the power (to keep back The Ice?) Given that China's now alleged to be the cause of 1/4 of LA's smog, I certainly hope someone Over There's looking at this tech, too.

Add in microwave power transmission as the esteemed First Blogger explained in Fallen Angels, and the tether could be non-conductive; therefore, lightning nearby would not require grounding it, and availability of power from the Skymill(TM) goes up. I think this would surely benefit The Republic For Which We Stand, by reducing the opportunity for energy shortage-driven panics to lead to corporate-imperial adventurism.

At very least, this would enrich the near-space environment and makes it easier to work off the surface for long periods of time. Combine that with the incrementalist approach of JP Aerospace and their plans to use three different designs of blimps for a slow but very safe and very very cheap replacement for rockets, and we'd be far better off investing in this, rather than extracting oil at gunpoint.

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