Concentrated Solar Power to get major boost

Concentrated Solar Power, or CSP, is another possible technology to generate electricity from the sun. While it can store energy and thus provide electricity after the sun went down, the global current capacity is still around 5,000 MW, compared to solar PV’s being above 220,000 MW.

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Morocco wants 42 percent renewables by 2020

If you think that solar energy is just fad dedicated to rich nations, read on : Morocco  has a ” goal of increasing installed renewable energy capacity to 42 per cent by 2020 and becoming a renewable energy industry leader. “ The African Development Bank Group has been demonstrating its support to scaling up renewable … Read more

Saudi Arabia to invest massively in cleantech

Yes, you read that right : the oil superpower is willing to tap into its significant solar potential by installing no less than 41 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2032. The project is estimated to cost $109 billion (84 billion euros).

Out of the 41 GW of capacity, 16 will be brought by solar photovoltaic (PV) and the remaining 25 will be coming from Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). This will be a smart use of the Kingdom’s huge deserts.

As Green Prophet notes the project will enable the country to save half a million barrels of oil per day. Solar would then account for a third of the electricity production.

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Desertec gets international support

According to Enerzine [Fr] and other sources the Desertec Project is getting international support as several companies from Europe, America and Africa are joining the Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii). The US company First Solar was the first to join in and five more companies from Morocco, Tunisia, France, Spain and Italy followed suit. Desertec is … Read more

My humble opinion on Bill Gates’ speech at TED

Last month the founder of Microsoft gave a speech on low carbon energy and climate change at TED, a renowned event on Technology, Entertainment and Design.

To Mr. Gates we need five means : carbon capture and storage, nuclear power and renewable energies (solar PV, Concentrated Solar Thermal and Wind power). I agree with that.

To him, we need 20 years to research on the needed breakthroughs to achieve zero emissions energy sources and twenty other years to apply them. I beg to differ on this.

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World Bank funds solar projects in North Africa

Solar energy in desertsThe World Bank via its Clean Technology Fund is investing $750 million (522 million euros) in eleven concentrating solar plants in the Middle East and North Africa region. This is due to spur additional investments worth $4.85 billion.

These projects are due to add nearly a gigawatt of capacity to local grids within three to five years in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia and would triple the current concentrated solar power (CSP) capacity.

I wonder if this could be a significant boost to the DESERTEC project as it is exactly about building renewable energy facilities in these countries.

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Storing solar electricity with molten salt

One of the main hindrances of solar energy is that when there is no more sun, there is no more electricity as well. This problem is being solved with the molten salt technology which stores energy for seven hours. A Californian company is willing to build a 150 Megawatt plant – The Rice Solar Energy … Read more

Concentrating solar needs huge amounts of water

A solar thermal plant in a desertConcentrating Solar Thermal is a fantastic energy source and some experts estimate that it could answer a quarter of the global electricity needs by 2050 if large plants were installed in sunny deserts.

However the New York Times notes that this energy source use significant amounts of water. Since this resource is already scarce in these areas this energy source already triggers tensions.

This is a further example of how no energy source is perfect and that energy efficiency and conservation are absolutely vital to our civilization.

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Is Desertec a sound idea ?

small-desertec-mapThe fact has been known for years:  harvesting the energy provided by the sun to a tiny fraction of the Earth could supply all the energy Humankind needs without greenhouse gases emissions or pollution due to operation.

This week many blogs and websites published articles on Desertec, a foundation that would like to install many concentrated solar thermal plants in the Sahara desert to provide a fraction of the electricity Europe needs.

But many problems will have to be solved : funding the project, transmitting the electricity through the desert and the Mediterranean sea and so on.

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A quarter of global electricity can be provided by solar thermal by 2050

A solar thermal plant in a desertI was writing in a comment that solar thermal could and even should provide electricity to the nations of  the Middle East and how it would much better than nuclear. It seems I was quite right.

Published by an environmental NGO and various official bodies specialized in solar energy, a study notes that concentrated solar power (CSP) in deserts could bring a quarter of the global electricity by mid-century.

To date, CSP provides a mere 430 MW worldwide but things could change fast as this energy offers multiple advantages such as virtually zero greenhouse gases emissions.

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The underestimated potential of solar thermal

solar-thermalSolar PV seems to be everywhere in the environmental news as many companies around the world are working in this segment. Meanwhile, little is written on the amazing potential of solar thermal. This may change soon.

A US company specialized in solar thermal claims that Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) could bring 90 percent of the country’s electricity just by using the equivalent of 10 percent of the Nevada desert.

Even if this sounds too big to be true – as with the Pickens plan –  if only a fifth was actually carried out, it would change for ever the way we look at renewables.

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