15, November 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-11074
Open Date: 10/11/2021 13:42 CEST
Closing Date: 22/12/2021 13:00 CEST

Agenda 2025 identifies the objective of pursuing technology breakthroughs and investigating space-based services to support climate neutrality in Europe. Specifically, it recalls that “Energy is central to environmental sustainability. Space missions have to be energy-efficient and require advanced recycling and robotic technologies – especially for exploration – as well as innovative materials sciences. Breakthroughs in all these areas will be pursued and commercialised to support a circular economy and climate neutrality in Europe. Space-based services to support the energy transition, and potential space-based solar power generation deserve to be further investigated. ESA will strongly support market creation efforts for new applications in these areas.” Several ESA Member States have published ambitious climate neutrality and energy sector transition goals. The European Commission announced the objective of climate neutrality by 2050. In light of recent developments in space transportation and technology, several ongoing initiatives at the international level are casting a fresh look on the concept of Space-Based Solar Power i.e. acquiring solar energy directly in space and transmitting it to the terrestrial energy grid to provide clean sustainable energy. Among others, these include a recently completed study commissioned by the UK government (Space-based Solar Power, De-risking the pathway to Net Zero, Sept 2021), two operational demonstrators planned in the US (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Caltech) in 2021-2022 and the EU H2020 SOLSPACE project (2020 – 2025). While the principle technical feasibility of space based solar power plants has already been confirmed, including by ESA studies conducted 15 years ago, the relatively high upfront implementation costs of SBSP has been one of the main factors against its development. The dramatic reduction in launch costs in recent years, and the falling costs of space hardware through mass production processes require the proposed reassessment of the economics of SBSP. Additionally, an up-to-date benefits analysis is needed, tailored to European specificities, comparing the use of SBSP to alternative sustainable energy pathways proposed to meet the 2050 carbon neutrality target. The proposed study is aimed at providing a holistic assessment of the required investments, associated costs and risks and expected environmental, economic and societal benefits of adding this space-based energy source to the European energy mix to meet Net Zero carbon by 2050.

Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. Quality
Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Gian Lorenzo Casini
Initiating Service: TEC-SF
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0600-05 – Preparation Element
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 26-OTHERS
Products Keywords: 2-P-Other

If you wish to access the documents related to the Invitation to Tender, you have to log in to the ESA Portal.