Egypt worships sun again with mega-solar in deserts.

An idea gathering force among a growing number of engineers, scientists and academics around the world is the plan to build large solar plants in the Sahara desert to provide enough electricity for the Middle East and North Africa and enough to export to Europe. Costing the Earth reports on the viability of solar power and visits Egypt where one of the first plants that could provide us with electricity is under construction.

Listen to this report here. (30mins)

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7 Responses to Egypt worships sun again with mega-solar in deserts.

  1. the Grit says:


    I want one!

    On the other hand, you do realize that solar power can’t be the only source of electric generation without vast advances in energy storage technology? There’s also going to be problems with power loss over those long distribution lines, not to mention the havoc a good sandstorm is going to play with the glass surfaces of the solar panels. Still, one has to start somewhere, and if it works in the Sahara, the US has enormous amounts of almost unused land out West. On the gripping hand, I suspect the animal right’s groups are going to be mighty upset at the damage to the sand beetles’ ecosystem.

    Much better, I think, that they build a large and profitable test station on my back forty. While we don’t get as much sunshine, if they lift the solar arrays 10 feet or so above the ground, the local off road enthusiasts will provide a free source of security and it rains frequently enough to keep most of the bird poop washed off. Trust me, whatever electricity I don’t use personally, I’ll email to Europe 🙂

    the Grit

  2. matt says:

    That’s mighty good of ya there Grit.

    Good point on the sandstorms and yup, I was thinking transmission loss too. Anyhow, the world’s a desperate place right now and all the kooky ideas are coming out of the closet for the new energy race.

  3. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    I think you captured the essence of our situation with “desperate,” which is unfortunate as we’re not really near that point yet. As to kooky ideas, keep in mind that many of the things we take for granted today were considered such not all that long ago. Communications satellites, water beds, cell phones (especially since mine flips open and I have a never ending impulse to say beam me up Scotty!,) and the availability of computers in general have all been the stuff of science fiction during my lifetime, and have all been put down by the established scientific community. I’ve always felt that the old saying, “where there is a will there is a way,” has value, so I suspect we, as a collective, will figure out a solution to our problems. One of those kooky ideas will work, we just have to keep testing.

    the Grit

  4. matt says:

    Grit, that was a hellova speech. It brought a tear to ma eye. I never knew you were such an optimist.

  5. Dan says:

    Heard this on Radio4 too. It was not very long ago that most people saw solar PV as a silly technology that was only for people who want to look good by putting it on their roof – now with these plans gaining ground and Nanosolar’s $1/Watt technology, it is starting to become believable! Hurray!

  6. matt says:

    There’s a hell of a lot going on, driven by high oil prices, dangerous oil zones racked by terrorism and an acceptance that climate changes are real now. In some ways Grit is right, we are entering an exciting era of new energy technology and the world finally seems to be connecting up on this. 🙂

  7. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    You pretty much have to be an optimist as a fundamental requirement to be a farmer, or any other form of gambler. Beyond that, we. as in the human race, seem to have a pretty good record at solving problems over the long run. With our history in mind, I can only explain the doom and gloom crowd by an imbalance in brain chemistry, a pill for which I expect will be on the market any time now.

    Glad you liked the speech.

    the Grit

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