Libya is one of the world’s largest petroleum producers with annual exports of nearly $12 billion, representing 70% of total exports from the country, which also boasts reserves of crude oil estimated at about 48 billion barrels.
Even with this much dependence on oil, a recent study revealed that the potential for solar energy was even greater. According to the research, if 0.1% of Libyan land was used to harness solar power, the equivalent of 7 million barrels a day of oil would be produced, which compared to their present production of 1.4 million barrels, amounts to about five times the current production.
Even though solar critics say that the energy source uses up so much land, land is something Libya has in excess with the desert providing enough open space for solar power installations.
With sufficient daily sunlight, Libya could even become a solar power exporter to neighbouring countries in Africa and Europe. Also, the African nation’s wind power potential is quite good, meaning that sometime in the future, Libya could depend solely on clean energy.
However, with oil being part and parcel of Libyan lifestyle and economy, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon, though the researchers confirmed that the government was showing reasonable interest in renewable energy, with funding expected to come from oil and gas export proceeds.
With such enormous potential for solar and wind power practically being ignored, the same can certainly not be said of crude oil, which can hardly be ignored, to put it mildly. Still, that is the present trend as massive amounts of solar energy go to waste without being harnessed throughout the world