Clean power from deserts

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LETTER FOR PUBLICATION

Dear Editor,

Tony Blair and Arnold Schwarzenegger are to be congratulated on their new agreement to collaborate in the work of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

With luck, this collaboration will make Tony Blair aware of a technology for producing pollution-free electricity that has been pioneered in California and completely eliminates any need to build any new nuclear power stations. I am referring to 'concentrating solar power' (CSP), which means using mirrors to concentrate sunlight to create heat and then using the heat to raise steam and generate electricity in the conventional way. CSP - which is very different from the better-known photovoltaic panels - has been producing electricity successfully in California for nearly twenty years.

Of course, the UK is a long way from the kinds of deserts where CSP comes into its own. But a new report commissioned by the German Government argues that it is feasible and cost-effective to transmit solar electricity over long distances using modern, highly-efficient 'HVDC' transmission lines. This 'TRANS-CSP' report, which can be downloaded from www.dlr.de/tt/trans-csp, calculates that CSP electricity would be one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, and that includes the cost of transmission. For a whole range of reasons that are detailed in the report, worries about security of supply in the TRANS-CSP scenario would be significantly reduced compared with our current sources of energy.

Further information, with links to other sources, may be found at www.trec-uk.org.uk/.

Sincerely,

Gerry Wolff

+44 (0)1248 712962, www.trec-uk.org.uk.


Last updated: 2009-08-20 (ISO 8601)