10 October 2010

US-India Friendship Net identifies Space-Based Solar Power as a Big Idea

From: Ram Narayanan <ramn_wins@roadrunner.com>
To: Undisclosed-Recipient@yahoo.com
Date: Sunday, 10 October, 2010, 7:04 AM

Dear Friends:

A keen observer of US-India relations writes:

"Based on several conversations in the last two weeks in Washington, it’s obvious that teams of dedicated government officials are working very, very hard in advance of President Obama’s trip to India to make it a success. Much effort is being expended to break down interagency barriers on previously trenchant issues. One expects positive developments could be seen in areas such as export control and the Entities List."  "As the search for big ideas continues, one of the focus areas for the future of security dialog is likely going to be security of the ’Global Commons’. India and the US can and must work together as large democracies to set norms for behavior in the Commons." 

"In the context of ’big ideas’, IDSA recently released a paper by USAF Lt. Col. Peter Garretson, who was visiting on a Council on Foreign Relations fellowship. The paper suggests solar satellites as a joint project between the US and India as a possible vehicle to take the partnership to the next level. "

"This is the type of big idea that both bureaucracies and political decision-makers could get their arms around as being ’unique’. In the initial phases, the study of the applicability of such technology to Indian and American needs, as well as its export potential, would not be prohibitive and on the Indian side could interest entities like BHEL and ISRO."

Peter A. Garretson was a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) International Fellow in India, and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) New Delhi. He is an active duty Air Force officer on sabbatical as an Air Force Fellow. He was previously the Chief of Future Science and Technology Exploration for Headquarters Air Force, Directorate of Strategic Plans and Programs, and is a former DARPA Service Chiefs’ Intern, and former Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Service Academy Research Associate. He is a published author on Space Grand Strategy, and is a recipient of the National Space Society’s (NSS) Space Pioneer Award.

His paper is titled,

"Sky’s no limit: Space-based Solar Power, the next
major step in the Indo-US Strategic Partnership"

The paper "provides a policymaker’s overview of a highly scalable, revolutionary, renewable energy technology, Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP), and evaluates its utility within the context of the Indo-US strategic partnership. After providing an overview of the concept and its significance to the compelling problems of sustainable growth, economic development, energy security and climate change, it evaluates the utility of the concept in the context of respective Indian and US political context and energy-climate trajectories. The paper concludes that a bilateral initiative to develop Space-Based Solar Power is highly consistent with the objectives of the Indo-US strategic partnership, and ultimately recommends an actionable three-tiered programme to realize its potential."

The paper can be read at


Ram Narayanan
US-India Friendship

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