Promoting Clean Technologies ^ Forging Cross-Industry Collaboration

Solar power from Sahara step closer | Business | guardian.co.uk

In cleantech, Energy, Power Grid, Solar, Sustainable on November 1, 2009 at 11:31 am

by Ashley Seager for guardian.co.uk, Sunday 1 November 2009 14.20 GMT

The German-led Desertec initiative believes it can deliver power to Europe as early as 2015

The technology is not new – it is the scale of the Desertec initiative which is a first…

A $400bn (£240bn) plan to provide Europe with solar power from the Sahara moved a step closer to reality today with the formation of a consortium of 12 companies to carry out the work.

The Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII) aims to provide 15% of Europe’s electricity by 2050 or earlier via power lines stretching across the desert and Mediterranean sea.

The German-led consortium was brought together by Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer, and consists of some of country’s biggest engineering and power companies, including Siemens, E.ON, ABB and Deutsche Bank.

It now believes the DII can deliver solar power to Europe as early as 2015.

“We have now passed a real milestone as the company has been founded and there is definitely a profitable business there,” said Professor Peter Höppe, Munich Re’s head of climate change.

“We see this as a big step towards solving the two main problems facing the world in the coming years – climate change and energy security,” said Höppe.

The solar technology involved is known as concentrated solar power (CSP) which uses mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays on a fluid container. The super-heated liquid then drives turbines to generate electricity. The advantage over solar photovoltaic panels, which convert sunlight directly to electricity, is that if sufficient hot fluid is stored in containers, the generators can run all night.

The technology is not new – there have been CSP plants running in the deserts of California and Nevada for two decades. But it is the scale of the Desertec initiative which is a first, along with plans to connect North Africa to Europe with new high voltage direct current cables which transport electricity over great distances with little loss.

via Solar power from Sahara step closer | Business | guardian.co.uk.

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