And that is the likely goal!
Remember, it is the Templeton Foundation (they of the Templeton Prize) funding this research. This is just a wild-goose-chase that will add another pseudo-argument to the quiver: "See, Intelligent Design it is plausible. "Science" has looked for Dyson Spheres and didn't find any! Therefore we must be alone in the universe and therefore we must be the special unique creations of God."
They even get to pretend to be impartial because they funded it. Ugh!
Having spent 2 days at a Renewable Energy conference talking to power generators, utilities and distributors recently, this is exactly what I asked of the people who are justifying building these projects.
Unfortunately, while it seems logical that we should be able to take into account our children's children's fresh air/current coastline/climate/etc., nobody seems to be able to do this. Without some significant technological leap in efficiency or materials, it appears renewables cannot compete on a purely economic calculation without government subsidies. Unfortunately, that means we are dependent on the changing political will of each subsequent congress/administration.
What was particularly telling was the chart I saw showing MW of Wind Generation added per year. There would be significant installations (100s of MW) in one year, then almost nothing the next, because the Federal Installation Tax Credit was not renewed that year. The next year the installations spiked again due to new tax credits. The following year, bupkis, due again to no tax credits.
There are three kinds of people: men, women, and unix.