Solar Power | Europe To Switch On Saharan Solar Power By 2015
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Solar Power | Europe To Switch On Saharan Solar Power By 2015

There are probably easier ways to meet Europe’s thirst for clean energy than importing it from vast solar farms in the Sahara. But it is very tempting. According to the European commission’s Institute for Energy, it would require the capture of just 0.3% of the light falling on the Sahara and Middle Eastern deserts (an area around the size of Wales) to meet all of Europe’s energy needs.


Several groups have come up with plans to harness the sun in Africa to make electricity, which could then be exported to Europe, or use it to turn desert into forests by using the power to desalinate sea water. And how far is this from a reality? In a recent interview, European energy commissioner Gnther Oettinger said that Europe will be importing hundreds of megawatts of solar-generated electricity from north Africa within five years. The EU is committed to sourcing 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Most advanced in the planning is the German-led Desertec Industrial Initiative , which aims to provide 15% of Europe’s electricity by 2050 or earlier, via power lines stretching across the desert and the Mediterranean. Its $400bn plan is supported by some of Germany’s biggest companies, including Siemens, E.On


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