(OrganicJar) Can you imagine harnessing sufficient quantities of solar power to supply electricity to cities in Africa and cities in Europe, maybe the world? Did you know if just 0.3% of the Saharan Desert was used for a solar plant, it would produce enough power to provide all of Europe with clean renewable energy. Well, 20 blue chip German companies are discussing plans and investments to create such a massive project. Both the meeting and project are being promoted by the Desertec Foundation, which is proposing to erect 100 GW (gigawatt) of concentrating solar power plants throughout Northern Africa.
The red squares in the above map represent the land area necessary to meet the energy demand of the world, the EU (European Union) and MENA (Middle East and North Africa) according to 2005 data. The last square represents the land necessary for the proposed project to generate 100 GW of concentrating solar power. The project being proposed by Desertec would not all be situated in one location, but scattered throughout politically stable countries. Taken as a whole, the project qualifies as the world’s largest solar installation. The power generated would be transported over high-voltage DC lines across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, where it would supply 15% of the energy demand.
Even more frightening than the energy crisis is the water scarcity that is set to occur even sooner. Taking this into account, the project hopes to combine desalination plants and agriculture along with the solar plants to provide fresh drinking water and grow crops in arid desert region. Concentrated solar power will provide energy and waste heat to create freshwater from seawater. Some of that water would then be used to irrigate nearby crops, while the rest would supply fresh drinking water to local populations. This concept is very similar to the Sahara Forest Project.
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