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The DESERTEC concept

Please lend your support to an online campaign to make politicians aware of the importance of the 'DESERTEC' concept developed by the 'TREC' international group of scientists and engineers (www.trecers.net ). The main page for the campaign is at www.trecers.net/yourvoice.html where further information may be found.

In brief, the DESERTEC concept is a very important 'vision' for future energy supplies and other benefits in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (EUMENA). The main elements of the concept are these:

* Deep cuts in CO2 emissions from electricity generation throughout EUMENA using a wide variety of renewable sources of energy, with a phase-out of nuclear power.

* An important part of the energy mix is carbon-free electricity from areas of hot desert, taking advantage of the truly enormous quantities of solar energy in those regions and the simple, effective technology of 'concentrating solar power' (CSP).

* Transmission of renewable electricity throughout EUMENA via a 'supergrid' of highly-efficient 'HVDC' transmission lines. By allowing surplus electricity in any one area to be moved to areas where it is needed, the supergrid will also have an important role in reducing wastage of renewable energy that would otherwise occur.

* Additional benefits including:

- Desalination of sea water using waste heat from CSP plants - a valuable bonus in arid regions.

- Shaded areas under the mirrors of CSP plants are protected from the full glare of harsh tropical sunlight and may be used for many purposes, including horticulture using desalinated sea water.

- Reduced tensions arising from shortages of energy and water.

- Improved relations amongst people in EUMENA via a collaboration that yields benefits for all. This is a positive alternative to the confrontational policies of recent years.

- Jobs and earnings throughout EUMENA.

The DESERTEC concept is described in detail in the 'MED-CSP' and 'TRANS-CSP' reports, commissioned by the German government. They may be downloaded via links from www.trec-uk.org.uk/reports.htm . Further information may be found at www.trecers.net and www.trec-uk.org.uk .

Gerry Wolff is Coordinator of TREC-UK, www.trec-uk.org.uk

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