Friday, November 30, 2007

EUMENA-DESERTEC Concept takes root in Brussels

On Wednesday, in my capacity as a representative of TREC-UK, I attended the presentation of The White Book "Clean Power from Deserts - The DESERTEC Concept for Energy, Water and Climate Security" to the European Parliament by His Royal Highness Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, former President of The Club of Rome.

The book is based on the studies by the German Aerospace Center on the potential of deserts to supply clean power to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (EU-MENA).
It proposes a solar co-operation between the technology belt and the sun-belt, between Europe and the MENA region, to fight climate change in an economical and technically feasible way. Key technologies in the DESERTEC Concept are concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) plants with solar heat storage for day/night operation, and low-loss high voltage direct current transmission lines to bring clean power to Europe from the deserts of MENA. A seven year action plan for kicking-off the DESERTEC Concept was announced, setting down the roots for the vision to become reality: CSP plants stretching across the deserts, connecting into a supergrid network bringing clean electricity to Europe, Middle East and North Africa.

The DESERTEC Concept has been developed by the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC) in collaboration with scientists at the German Aerospace Center. The presentation in the European Parliament was staged by four Members of the European Parliament - Matthias Groote, Vittorio Prodi, Rebecca Harms and Anders Wijkman - and by the Club of Rome initiative TREC.

“Every year, each square kilometre of desert receives solar energy equivalent to 1.5 million barrels of oil. Multiplying by the area of deserts world-wide, this is nearly a thousand times the entire current energy consumption of the world.” said Dr Franz Trieb, Project Manager for a set of reports on trans-European renewable energy networks. Not much desert would be required. As the map above demonstrates, the larger red square on the left shows an area of 254 km × 254 km of hot desert that, if covered with concentrating solar power plants, would provide electricity equivalent to the current electricity consumption of the whole world. The smaller square (110 km × 110 km) shows a corresponding area for the European Union (when it included 25 countries). Time now to translate vision into action.

The white book can be found at: DESERTEC



Julian Shinn said...

I've just recently taken a more active role in the green movement and have become aware of this exciting proposal.

It gives me great hope, both in terms of it's potential to meet our energy needs but also the possibility of shared political and cultural purpose it could bring to the EUMENA regions.

Thanks for your succinct piece of information and the useful links.

The Lazy Environmentalist said...

Yes, CSP really has the potential to be the BIG solution for the future - and I for one am a huge fan. It is also progressing rapidly and I hope to be reporting soon on further developments. So keep tuned and spread the word. One of the biggest problems I encounter is that people are not aware that we actually have remarkable solutions at our fingertips, that just need the right governmental support and frameworks to be implemented.

marie said...

I am working for a renewable energy company in Australia and find all this so amzing and exciting. We also have a vast expanse of desert in our country and are looking at constructing our own solar power plants but don't have the partnerships and collaboration as EUMENA does, it would be such an amazing experience to be part of something like this. I wonder if there would be any way of getting Australia part of this massive movement.