1980 Societal Assessment of SPS

IV. RECOMMENDATIONS Since SPS effects on human activities have not been fully explored or defined, the framework and scope of a continuing societal assessment should be established. It should be broadened to look beyond impediments and near-term effects to examine issues which defy easy quantification. For example, two issues which were of greatest concern to the groups in the Public Outreach Experiment—centralization of power (in all its aspects) and opportunity costs—received incommensurate emphasis in the completed Societal Assessment. This broadening of the research approach should yield a more balanced appraisal of SPS, emphasizing those positive aspects of the concept as well as those which may prove to be obstacles. Further research in the area of resource availability and institutional arrangements is recommended, particularly in the areas of rectenna site acquisition mechanisms and SPS labor and training requirements. Materials availability and net energy analyses should be performed as the SPS materials list and net energy analysis methodologies are updated and improved. Extending the Participatory Technology Process to include a broader spectrum of participation (domestically and internationally) would greatly enhance the results of future SPS developmental activities. A regional needs analysis should be conducted to examine SPS from a global and regional perspective, taking into consideration regional and national concerns relative to U.S. interests. Programmatic or policy alternatives could then be defined in order to reduce identified conflicts. This regional effort should determine the capability of Third World countries to participate, and clarify how international financial institutions could assist. Domestic and foreign institutional barriers to international participation should be identified in order to determine to what extent the SPS would compete with or complement alternative central station electricity technologies of countries whose utilities are nationalized. This study would also be aimed at identifying any controls on the transfer of SPS technology which could hinder international participation as well as identifying agencies of the U.S. federal government with purview over SPS operations abroad. In order