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Renewables & efficiency - July 21

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More wind than we thought?

Michael Bomford, Energy Farms
Global distribution of annual average onshore wind power potential (W/m2) for 2006 (Lu et al. 2009)Global distribution of annual average onshore wind power potential (W/m2) for 2006 (Lu et al. 2009)
A new study of the global potential for wind-generated electricity (Lu et al. 2009) concludes that windmills can meet the world’s energy demand with plenty of power to spare.

The open access paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that a global network of windmills operating at 20% of capacity could produce 2,470 exajoules (EJ) — about five times the current commercial energy consumption of the planet (~500 EJ). The latest estimate is much higher than the first evaluation of global wind power (Archer and Jacobson 2005), which estimated a similar network’s output at 443 EJ.

The paper’s state-by-state analysis of the potential for wind power in the US offers some surprises. The area where wind generation looks like a feasible alternative to fossil fuel power has grown dramatically. The old US-Department of Energy map (right) shows places like Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi as blank slates of white with no real potential for wind power. The new analysis (below) colors these states yellow, and concludes that each of them could replace their fossil fuel consumption entirely with wind power and have energy to spare...
(20 July 2009)

On the Brink of a New Era in Energy
interview with Siemens CEO
Spiegel Online
The biggest solar energy project in the world is about to get off the drawing board. And leading German firm, Siemens, is just one of around a dozen organizations getting behind Desertec. SPIEGEL asked Siemens CEO Peter Löscher about his company's role in the project.

Top companies lined up on Monday to get behind the world's most ambitious solar energy project. They signed a memorandum of understanding in Munich to set up the Desertec Industrial Initiative which involves what is being called a "solar technology belt" across the Middle East and North Africa, with a huge undersea "super grid" then delivering the power back to Europe.

The aim of the €400 billion ($560 billion) project is to provide carbon-free energy that could supply up to 20 percent of European energy needs by 2050.

...The meeting formally established the Desertec group, which should be followed by firm plans for the project within two to three years time and then actual energy production for Europe within a decade. SPIEGEL spoke to Siemens Chief Executive Peter Löscher about his firm's involvement with what would be the biggest green energy project in the world.

SPIEGEL: This Monday, the representatives of around a dozen businesses will meet in Munich to facilitate what is possibly the most ambitious industrial project they have ever undertaken. What sort of role will Siemens be playing?

Löscher: We will be covering the whole chain of energy conversion, from efficient and environmentally friendly power generation via transport and distribution right up to end uses of electric power. Desertec is not just about solar and wind energy, it is also about energy superhighways for the low-loss transmission of power over thousands of kilometers and the management of such complex systems.
(13 July 2009)

Gerry Wolff at TREC-UK updates the Desertec story
Marc Strassman, Etopia News

Gerry Wolff, TREC-UK coordinator, talks about the July 13, 2009, meeting in Munich, Germany, that created the Desertec Industrial Initiative to implement a network of concentrating solar collectors in North Africa for the generation of green electricity for local and European use, recorded from Wales, UK.
(16 July 2009)

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