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