A Japanese firm announces its innovative solution to the nation’s energy problems – a 250 mile-wide belt of solar panels on the moon
There is a general acceptance that Japan, which shut down its last functioning nuclear reactor in September, will need to restart its nuclear plants in the short term, but the disaster has focused new attention on alternative – and safer – forms of energy.
Shimizu first came up with its Luna Ring proposal before the accident at Fukushima, but the ongoing crisis means it is attracting renewed interest.
Shimizu is reluctant to put a price tag on the construction costs involved but, given adequate funding, the company believes construction work could get under way as early as 2035.
Robots and automated equipment would be developed to mine the moon’s natural resources and produce concrete and the solar cells required for the scheme.
Once completed, the belt would stretch 6,800 miles around the equator and ensure constant exposure to the sun – without the interference of cloud cover – and an equally constant transfer of energy to the Earth.
Shimizu believes that “virtually inexhaustible, non-polluting solar energy is the ultimate source of green energy”.