solaire captée dans les déserts du Moyen-Orient et d'Afrique
du Nord est susceptible de satisfaire les besoins de la région en
électricité, et par extension ceux de l'Europe. [Texte
complet en anglais]
Energy from deserts could supply Europe: parabolic
mirrors reflect and concentrate solar energy in thermal power plants
Deserts in the Middle East and North Africa could generate vast quantities of electricity to sell to Europe, according to two German research reports.
The studies found that concentrated solar power plants, occupying less than 0.3% of the desert area in the region, could provide 15% of Europe's electricity needs by 2050.
The high transmission losses of 10-15% over the full cable length from North Africa to Europe would be offset by the sheer volume of electricity produced, says the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC), a network that helped conduct the studies.
"Every year, each square kilometre of desert receives solar energy equivalent to 1.5 million barrels of oil. Multiplying by the area of deserts worldwide, this is nearly a thousand times the entire current energy consumption of the world," says Franz Trieb, project manager for the two reports at the German Aerospace Center.
| Solar thermal power plants use mirrors to
concentrate solar energy to create steam and generate electricity, creating
the cheapest electricity available — costing less than US$0.06/kWh.
Excess heat from the plants could be used for water desalination, providing much-needed fresh water in desert regions.
But while renewable energy from the desert is plentiful and inexhaustible, implementing such a project, estimated to cost over US$500 billion, takes time.
"It would take about 10-15 years for the countries of the region to generate enough clean power from the deserts to provide for their own local demand," Gerhard Knies of TREC told SciDev.Net.
"Realistically they could start exporting
to Europe in about 30 years."