Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Holy Gigawatts: World's Largest Solar Project Planned for Saharah

What's all that sand, sun and vacant land good for anyway (link)?

If just 0.3% of the Saharan Desert was used for a concentrating solar plant, it would produce enough power to provide all of Europe with clean renewable energy. That is why 20 blue chip German companies are gathering together next month to discuss 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 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 and MENA in 2005. 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 - 80 times larger than the PG&E and BrightSource project planned for the Mojave Desert. 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. The project is still 10-15 years from going online, but that’s why major players are getting started now.


To build the 100 GWs worth of solar power a total of €400bn investment is

- Brewskie


  1. This is the future of energy, I believe. I remember reading somewhere that Saudi Arabia wanted to do this same thing so they can keep a strangle hold on world energy. Smart buggers, I must say.

    I also wonder how collecting all this energy will affect global temperatures. Will it actually help negate global warming?


  2. It will be interesting to watch this. Seems like a long way to transport electricity--especially since France is nuking up. Mini-nukes are cheap and fast.
    The secret to global cooling...read up on Krakatoa, the volcano.
    Shouldn't be hard to cool things off--if there even is global warming. Ice Ages worry me. B Cole

  3. Instead of depending on Russia form gas, we will depend on friendly regimes like Libya and Algeria. Great Idea!!!

  4. Anon,

    You're European I assume? Welcome aboard. In terms of natural gas, there's currently festive interest in developing shale gas resources in Europe that are similar to America's. These are abundant around the world; their development is in its infancy stage currently, and you're going to hear a lot more about these in the years to come.

    In terms of depending in Libya and Algeria for solar... hey, at least you won't have Putin's cold stare looking down at ya!

  5. Strangelove,

    In terms of green house gases... first, we're not spitting out CO2 with the production of solar energy; though the production of photovoltaicis energy-intensive, and the delivery and construction of large solar installations does emit CO2 (of course the construction of coal power plants does too).

    It's been said that if humanity can capture 1% of 1% of sunlight that hits the earth, humankind will have more than enough energy to meet its needs.