At a Euroscience Open Forum in Barcelona, an EU science and policy hotbed
Arnulf Jaeger-Waldau of the European commission's Institute for Energy unveiled
a visionary plan, which he says could satisfy all of the EU's energy
demands in coming years.
Mr. Jaeger-Waldau proposed blanketing the Sahara Desert, an expanding
uninhabited swath of wasteland, with solar panels. He says that if just
0.3% of the intense solar energy falling on the Sahara was captured, it could
power all of Europe. Such a feat would require a solar platform far
beyond current installations, approximately the size of Wales. Still,
when viewed against the backdrop of the vast, mostly uninhabited Sahara the
large chunk of land looks no bigger than a postage stamp.
A broad variety of solar technologies were discussed as possibilities for the
deployment. They included parabolic
dish collectors, a growing solar field, which focuses light via mirrors on
water, boiling it. Also discussed were the more traditional silicon based
solar power plants consisting of arrays of photo-voltaic panels.
The researchers are also considering the construction of a supergrid of very
high-power DC lines. These lines would connect the Sahara solar
infrastructure, wind power from the UK and Denmark, nuclear power plants across
Europe, and excess geothermal energy from Iceland. The grid would use its
multiple varied sources to balance loads. As DC lines lose far less
power, the plan promises to be economical where AC lines (currently used in
almost all power grids) would not be.
The plans have support from French President Nicholas Sarkozy and British PM Gordon
Scientists are particularly excited about getting energy from the Sahara, as the
panels are expected to generate nearly three times as much energy as those in
Europe thanks to the intense, more direct sunlight. Mr. Jaeger-Waldau and
proponents of the plan admit it will take a great deal of work.
Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and other Mediterranean nations currently are
poorly interconnected in power grids. While a power cable does exist
between Morocco and Spain it is insufficient for the intense amount of power
proposed, and would need to be expanded or replaced. The fully implemented
DC-ready grid is projected to cost around $70B USD. Ultimately the
project would require an immense amount of construction, but this could have
economic benefits for Europe, creating new jobs.
The plan follows current trends, though. Algeria, which is located in
Northern Africa and contains part of the Sahara, is already planning to export
6 GW of power to Europe by 2020. To reach the final goal of complete
power independence, scientists and politicians are proposing a more modest
stepping stone goal. They want by 2050 100 GW worth of power to be
generated from solar projects in the Sahara. The project would cost a
lofty €450bn (approximately $700B USD), but would be staggered over many years
and would yield power capacity equivalent to all electrical power currently
generated in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Jaeger-Waldau believes that the larger solar farms will bring down costs
for consumers. He states, "The biggest PV system at the moment is
installed in Leipzig and the price of the installation is €3.25 per watt.
If we could realize that in the Mediterranean, for example in southern Italy,
this would correspond to electricity prices in the range of 15 cents per kWh,
something below what the average consumer is paying."
The new plan comes from the commission's joint research centre (JRC), which is
planning the EU's energy future. Giovanni de Santi, director of the JRC,
also speaking in Barcelona, stated of the new plan, "It recognises
something extraordinary - if we don't put together resources and findings
across Europe and we let go the several sectors of energy, we will never reach
The JRC plans on building infrastructure in a broad array of alternative energy
classes, among them fuel cells and hydrogen, clean coal, second
generation biofuels, nuclear fusion, wind, nuclear fission and smart
grids. The JRC is tasked with accomplishing the EU's energy plan -- to
cut the EU's energy consumption by 20 percent and to have 20 percent of the
remaining consumption provided by alternative energy by 2020.
quote: p.s. Please don't put the solar panels in the Middle East, I'd rather pay more and have them somewhere else.
quote: If the countries are converted to ISLAM, then you won't have stife with your buddies in North Africa would you?
quote: Of course being Europeans, you guys can generate strife with anyone.
quote: Yep. Africa. An area that's only slightly more stable than the Middle East.
quote: The absolutely last thing I'm going to do is put my entire country's future energy supply in the hands of a foreign nation.
quote: Africa is more stable than the Middle East?
quote: Most countries do this to some extent already. Certainly, much of the world (including most of Europe and North America) relies on energy (namely oil) from some of these allegedly unstable Middle Eastern countries.
quote: I said slightly :) I know exactly what your trying to get at, but facts remain that many of the Sahara nations are only partially tolerant of "western" ideals. A simple polical/religious shift would be disasterous.
quote: Once again.....I said FUTURE energy supply. Oil is one thing. Tomorrow, we could completely stop the importation of all oil from the middle east. There are other sources for oil. Instead, let's pump 70+Billion into infrastructure plus the cost of the solar station itself, that could become completely worthless as the polical winds change. If you don't see the difference, your truely lost.
quote: To reach the final goal of complete power independence, scientists and politicians are proposing a more modest stepping stone goal. They want by 2050 100 GW worth of power to be generated from solar projects in the Sahara.
quote: Do research, you might find that sometimes, people hide the truth to get their point across.
quote: Libya's state shipping company says it has halted oil shipments to Switzerland in protest at the brief arrest of leader Muammar Gaddafi's youngest son.
quote: approximately the size of Wales
quote: The plans have support from French PM Nicholas Sarkozy
quote: My own back-of-the-envelope calculation
quote: The Sahara Desert is often described as a bleak and barren plain. In truth, it is very beautiful and full of different Sahara Desert plants....
quote: Half the Sahara area gets only 2cm of water per year, and sometimes multiple years without any rainfall, which is not enough water necessary for plant life.
quote: solar power requires nuclear
quote: still falls into an old way of seeing power generation. That of the massive centralized production point feeding into a one way push down grid. The same sorts of grids that will experience continuing instability in North America, and other industrial countries
quote: Nuclear plants almost always run over budget, over time
quote: masher2: What else is a massive Saharan solar farm feeding all of Europe but massive, centralized production?
quote: masher2: Sure, because every plant faces legal challenges from environmental groups that stall contruction for years, and adds billions in costs and interest. That's not a fault of the technology, though -- it's a fault of the people who protest it.
quote: (But it seems in the US everything is split in half, on/off, either/or, with us/against us. Very much not needed and at the same time totally unrealistic)
quote: quote: > "During the fifties Iran had a real Pro western leader...British MI6 and CIA set up plan...to get the Shah(2) in power" Your history here is wrong in several places. First of all, the Shah of Iran was *already* in power long before the West got involved.Mossadegh was Prime Minister -- a position below that of Shah -- and once elected, began attempting to assume dictatorial control over government and to rig elections to ensure retaining his position.CIA involvement was limited to a minor propagadanda campaign, essentially no more than convincing the Shah to exercise the power he already had to dismiss Mossadegh.As for the actual overthrow of Mossadegh, most scholars today attribute it to his radical policies causing loss of support among hardline Shia clerics-- the same people ultimately responsible for the deposing of the Shah.Getting your history from Wikipedia is dicey at the best of times. For articles on controversial, politically charged topics such as this, it's no better than a conspiracy website.
quote: > "During the fifties Iran had a real Pro western leader...British MI6 and CIA set up plan...to get the Shah(2) in power"
quote: Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it;Those who fail to learn history CORRECTLY.. are simply doomed.
quote: In any case, why are you so anxious to attack me that you carry an ancient argument from another thread to here?
quote: In fact, a nation like Britain -- more so than probably any other nation, including African ones -- should bear *less* blame, due to its stringent efforts it made to stamp out the slave trade,
quote: Nice try, but Rockwell's article actually differs very little.
quote: If Mossadeq’s regime had been permitted to continue, it is entirely possible that Iran could have evolved into an authentic democracy. American interventionism destroyed that opportunity and set the stage for many of the tragedies currently haunting the Middle East.If America is ever to have even remotely cordial relations with Iran, we must accept responsibility for the terrible effects of Operation Ajax and admit that we had no right to intervene in a controversy that was wholly the business of the Iranian people. That exploit was unworthy of the Land of Washington and Jefferson.
quote: As Mackay notes:With Mossadeq leading the charge against Iran’s economic master, the Majlis, on March 15, boldly nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company…On April 29, the same Majlis elected Muhammad Mossadeq prime minister. While the shah sat on the throne as a mere shadow, Muhammad Mossadeq basked in the acclaim of the vast majority of Iranians, who for the first time in decades gave their genuine respect, devotion, and loyalty to their recognized leader .
quote: In essence, the United States had engaged in a massive covert operation designed to remove a democratically elected leader from power and reinstall an authoritarian monarch (a move which makes a mockery of our currently stated desire to "spread democracy" in the Middle East).
quote: OutcomeOperation Ajax was the first time the Central Intelligence Agency was involved in a plot to overthrow a democratically-elected government. The success of this operation, and its relatively low cost, encouraged the CIA to successfully carry out a similar operation in Guatemala a year later. Former president Jacobo Arbenz GuzmÃ¡n on the cover of TIME magazine in June 1954 after his overthrow Operation PBSUCCESS was a CIA-organized covert operation that overthrew the democratically-elected President of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz GuzmÃ¡n in 1954. ...
quote: This affair had several disastrous ramifications for the future of American-Iranian relations. First, the Shah, from that point forward, was viewed as a creature of America. Consequently, America became an accessory to his every oppressive act during the subsequent 26 years of his rule. Second, the American embassy in Tehran was permanently marked as a "nest of spies" in the eyes of the Iranian populace. And third, Iranian democracy was strangled in its crib.
quote: The CIA broke no laws, it invaded no country, it extorted no funds. It simply helped to convince some Iranians to remove a budding dictator and replace their prior ruler. End of story.
quote: As Mackay notes:Muhammad Mossadeq basked in the acclaim of the vast majority of Iranians, who for the first time in decades gave their genuine respect, devotion, and loyalty to their recognized leader.
quote: You couldn't possibly be more wrong. If I pick up the phone and call a friend, thereby delaying them five minutes and causing them to get hit by a car, am I guilty of murder?
quote: The CIA campaign certainly had a huge effect on Iran. But it was in no way "wrong". If it was, then every diplomat for every country in the world is evil...their entire purpose is to influence other nations into particular courses of action.
quote: Err, the Brits *did* do this.
quote: Sophomoric demagoguery. Iran agreed to the terms of the contracts. No one forced them to sign.
quote: Nationalization, however *is* theft. Ethically, it's an idious act, and economically, it's incredibly destructive.
quote: ........are simply doomed.
quote: You demonstrate quite well the logical fallacy known as 'The Bandwagon'. Truth doesn't depend on how many people believe or disbelieve in it.
quote: Glad to oblige! After the Shah reinstated Mossadeq, he demanded (and was granted) emergency powers to set any and all laws he desired, be it financial, judicial, or otherwise. He then moved to dissolve the Parliament, giving him sole power over the entire country, exiled the Shah (though he lacked the constititional authority to do so) and pro-Mossadeq supporters were soon in the streets, threatening anyone who opposed him with violence.
quote: His forces also rigged the 1953 elections, tossing out votes for his opponents.
quote: His radical policies of nationalizing industries and seizing land from the gentry antagonized the powerful Shia clerics. Also, the Western sanctions against Iran meant the lower classes were suffering more, despite his attempts to redistribute wealth.
quote: When pro-Mossadeq forces fought in street riots in late 1953, they fought against tens of thousands protestors opposed to him. Protesters that were Iranian. Not American, or British...but Iranian citizens.
quote: Now you're just being childish. Time called him part Gandhi, part Machiavelli. You have any idea who Machiavelli was?
quote: The US and Britain both acknowledge Iran an independent country. So what's your point?
quote: btw you do know whits Mackay is quoted here i hope?
quote: Err, those contracts ware signed by a British colony run by the British government.How the hell can you even say they warned forced????
quote: engaging in war fair to prevent future conflicts.
quote: last time I checked the US doesn't do much in... Africa.
quote: Lower, but not zero. There is still demand...and what is going to generate it, if the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing?
quote: Unfortunately, quite a few environmentalists are...which explains why they are blocking the construction of any new nuclear, hydro, or coal power plants
quote: The more wind power is used, the less nuclear, coal, etc power is used so the less we need to contaminate.
quote: A: People tend to be sleeping when its dark
quote: When it's dark, people are in bed and factories are closed.