In the desert of Sahara, in North Africa, a solar farm has been built. The area is slightly smaller than Wales but some scientists said yesterday that it could one day generate enough solar power to supply all of Europe with clean electricity.
The scientists with to create of a series of huge solar farms that could produce electricity either through photovoltaic cells, or by concentrating the sun’s heat to boil water and drive turbines – as part of a plan to share Europe’s renewable energy resources across the continent.
Energy losses on DC lines are far lower than on the losses on traditional AC lines, which make transmission of energy over long distances uneconomic.
The grid proposal has political support from both Nicholas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown, because answers the old criticism that renewable power (solar or wind) will never be viable because the weather is not sufficiently predictable. The supporters of renewable power argue that even if the wind is not blowing hard enough in the North Sea, it will be blowing somewhere else in Europe, or the sun will be shining on a solar farm somewhere.
The scientists say that harnessing solar energy from the Sahara would be effective because the sunlight in that area is much more intense: solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in northern Africa could generate up to three times the electricity compared with similar panels in northern Europe, where sun power is more dependable on seasons.