Jun 18, 2009

Europe finally running entirely on clean energy, thanks to the desert

Green energy in the desert and enough of it to supply the whole old continent. An utopia? What has long been an idea which was hindered by technological complications and the implied high costs of realization is now being embraced on by a consortium of German companies headed by the world´s biggest reinsurance company. The 400 billion euro project is supposed to be initiated in the African desert on an area equal to the size of 130 by 130 km.

The tricky part about this project which appears “morally” long overdue, is the implied cost of transportation and transformation of the costless and abundant energy in the desert into electricity usable in European (and other) households. While a study by Greenpeace considers it rentable in the long run, the topic is hotly debated. But once we accept that other energies are essentially provided at a too low cost compared to their social cost (remember the stuff which comes out of al these big towers in France and gets just dumped under the surface) the project appears viable to me.

Apart form the more relevant concern regarding the cost efficiency, the debate has brought forward some more comments which I just cite here since they speak for themselves:

Frank Asbeck, the boss of the biggest German Solar company Solarworld, criticized the project for its choice of the location: "Building the power plants in politically instable countries, puts oneself in the same type of dependence as it is the case for oil".

Thomas Hüsken, University of Bayreuth: "No North Africa state has an interest in solving Europe's energy problem"

1 comment:

Laura Z said...

it makes more sense than using german subsidies to put solar panels in germany like they've been doing! :)