Amusingly enough, just two days after my post on photovoltaics
in which I mentioned the possibility of orbital power generation plants that send the power back to Earth via microwave transmission, National Geographic
ran a story on exactly that
This technology is one that's been of interest to people for quite a while, and has been showing up in science fiction for decades. Apparently the Pentagon is also interested in space-based solar power
, and the South Pacific nation of Palau has expressed interest in being part of a proof-of-concept implementation of the technology.
The details are all in the article
, but essentially Palau has an uninhabited island where they propose building the rectifying antenna to receive the power from space. This would demonstrate the possibility of the technology as well as the safety. Apparently, this project could be completed as early as 2012 for about $800 million.