Is Desertec a sound idea ?
The 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.
Concerning the financing of the project, the problem could be solved as a consortium of 20 German companies plan to raise no less than 400 billion euros ($554 billion).
To Solve Climate, the area installed with concentrated solar thermal plants would be 6,500 square miles, or around 17,000 square kilometers. This is indeed a lot of space…
Then transmitting the electricity would be an other problem altogether as a lot of energy losses would occur with so long distances. Indeed, we are talking about thousands of kilometers or miles.
This brings me to another problem I have with the project: the lines would be like pipelines waiting for to be blown up by extremists of all kindS. They also could be interrupted by countries when political troubles arise between nations.
Moreover, to TreeHugger, the grids and electricity systems vary within all the 27 members of the European Union. This would be another problem that would have to be solved.
But what if all Mediterranean countries could benefit from this project ? This would be a fantastic project for the Union for the Mediterranean…
This project reminds me by its scale the huge wind energy project in the North Sea which could provide more energy that the Middle East does with its oil.
My conclusion: even if this seems to be totally surrealistic by its scale and the amounts of difficulties that could arise at any time and doom the project, I look forward to reading from them and wish them success.
In any case, be sure that I will keep you posted !