Holy Cow.. We might just make it off of this fragile eggs-in-one-basket planet after all. Cheap power from space is but the first step towards harnessing the resources of the planetary system beyond earth.
Jerry Pournelle proposed space based power systems beaming solar derived energy as microwaves to ground receivers back in the 70s. I first read about those ideas in his “A Step Farther Out“, first published in 1979. I think my copy is from 1984.
A pilot project for a 200 megawatt system using a 1 Kilometre wide mylar concentrator mirror has recently been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. By that proposal, power is supposed to be flowing by 2016.
Can’t wait to hear what Jerry Pournelle may have to say about this.