Constructing a large array of solar panels in the Sahara desert can provide enough electricity to supply all the power needs of the entire Europe, a research expert said this week.
“It [North Africa] could supply Europe with all the energy it needs,” Dr. Anthony Patt, a research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, in Austria, told scientists at this week’s climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. “The Sun is very strong there and it is very reliable.
He said that falling costs combined with recent technological advances has made it realistic to consider North Africa as Europe’s main source of imported energy.
“There is starting to be a growing number of cost estimates of both wind and concentrated solar power for north Africa… that start to compare favorably with alternative technologies. The cost of moving [electricity] long distances has really come down.”
Dr. Patt estimated that only a fraction of the Sahara, probably the size of a small country, needed to be covered with panels in order to extract enough energy to supply the whole of Europe.