Wed Jul 22nd, 2009 at 05:52:54 AM EST
A few years back here on ET, someone wrote a diary about how we could power Europe through solar collection in the Sahara (who are you out there??). I thought it was a great and smart idea at the time. Well a few days ago the Financial Times posted an article about how this idea is now being officially developed:
FT: Solar power plants planned for the Sahara
Around a dozen companies are set to launch a renewable energy initiative on Monday that its backers claim could within a decade provide Europeans with electricity generated from the Sahara - at a cost of 400bn ($557bn). Munich Re, the German insurer, Deutsche Bank, utilities RWE and Eon and industrial conglomerate Siemens are among the bluechip names that will form a company to explore the technical and geopolitical challenges of peppering the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East with solar mirrors.
By joining together hundreds of solar thermal power plants and wind farms with high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission cables under the Mediterranean sea, the founders of the Desertec Industrial Initiative hope one day to supply 15 per cent of Europe's electricity needs.
Concentrating solar power plants use the sun's heat to generate electricity. Hundreds of mirrors focus the sun's rays on to a receiver containing a heat transfer fluid, such as oil. This heat energy is used to produce steam which drives a turbine, much like in a traditional power station. Unlike photovoltaic solar cells, CSP plants are able to generate electricity at night or on cloudy days, by storing the heat they produce.
And today comes the news, from WSJ:
Group of 12 European companies agreed to push forward on a solar-power project intended to feed electricity to Europe from the Sahara.
You heard it here at ET First (I'll try and track down that prescient diary...)
Update: Our original writer about Desertec stepped forward - the article was
World Energy 2.0 – by Melo written on June 25th, 2007. (h/t to Melo!!)