Etopia News anchor Marc Strassman reads a statement from Siemens AG outlining their support for the DESERTEC project to generate massive quantities of solar electricity in North Africa for export to Europe via high-voltage direct-current power lines, recorded in Los Angeles, California, on June 26, 2009
Cutting-edge projects and pioneering engineering achievements have always been typical Siemens merits – from intercontinental telegraph links to the Shannon project for the electrification of Ireland. “Desert power for Europe“ is again one such visionary project.
There is an enormous dormant energy potential in the desert regions on our Earth’s solar belt: There the sun is available for power generation for over 4800 hours a year, which is equivalent to more than three times the total annual insolation in Germany. Within 6 hours the Earth’s desert regions receive more energy from the sun than mankind consumes within a year. An area measuring 300 by 300 square kilometers fitted with parabolic mirrors would be sufficient to meet the world’s entire power demand.
Why shouldn’t we develop CO2-free power generation across continents in the 21st century, just like we developed intercontinental telecommunications in the 19th century. This unites sustainability, technological competence and visionary entrepreneurship. And precisely these aspects have been our focal areas for over 160 years.
The Desertec concept describes sustainable power supply for Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa based on renewable energy sources. The power is to be generated by solar thermal power plants primarily located in northern Africa and by wind farms off the coast of northern Africa and northern Europe.
Together with a number of renowned industrial companies Siemens has a commitment in the Desertec Industrial Initiative (Desertec II). The objective of this initiative is to develop over the mid-term a technical and economic concept for solar power from Africa. Work will also focus on the clarification of legal and political issues.
The technology for implementation of the Desertec concept is available. Solar thermal power plants have a track record spanning 20 years and will experience a boom that is currently still difficult to assess. Low-loss, long-distance transmission of large quantities of power is also technically feasible, and is already being successfully implemented in China and India.
Siemens is a world leader in offshore wind farms and steam turbines for solar-thermal power plants. Through its equity stake in the Italian company Archimede Solar Energy, Siemens can also offer solar receivers and thus a further key component for the construction of solar power plants. By combining these two technologies we will enhance the efficiency of these plants and further reduce solar power production costs.
Siemens is also a leading company in the field of high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission, which is essential for low-loss power transport over long distances to Europe’s load centers
A fundamental prerequisite for the successful implementation of such large-scale projects like Desertec is, however, common political will at international level.
Siemens is backing the concept with its solutions. Desertec could in the future make a contribution toward a clean power generation mix.