Solar Events

Vision of an entirely Sun-powered Europe

A report commissioned by the German government proposes a cooperation between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East to feed electricity from massive solar farms in desert areas into a multi-continent High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) electricity grid.

The recommended solar technology is CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) using mirrors to generate temperatures high enough to drive any of a number of alternative generating systems.

‘The mirrors are very large and create shaded areas underneath which can be used for horticulture irrigated by desalinated water generated by the plants. The cold water that can also be produced for air conditioning means there are three benefits. “It is this triple use of the energy which really boost the overall energy efficiency of these kinds of plants up to 80% to 90%,” says Dr Knies.’

The report estimates that such a system, built now, would compete on even terms with oil at $50 per barrel, but that this price would drop to about $20 per barrel equivalent over a deployment period between now and 2050.

The report deplores the recent decision by 30 countries to spend US$12.6bn on an experimental fusion reactor in France, which it considers a bad bargain by comparison.

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