Europe must look to renewable energy
If Europe is serious about meeting its climate change goals and staying in line with the Paris agreement, then it must stop investing in fossil fuels and push hard for renewable and sustainable energy.
A plan has been submitted to the Tunisian government to allow an energy company called TurNur to build a massive solar power plant in the Saharan desert. Kevin Sara the chief executive of TurNur noted that “60% of Europe’s primary energy is currently imported from Russia or the Middle East” mainly from fossil fuels.
TuNur says that they expect construction work on a €5bn plant to begin by 2019 in southwest Tunisia. Once completed The 4.5GW mega-project would pipe electricity to Malta, Italy and France. It also has the potential to create roughly 20,000 jobs in the region.
(Can Sahara power Europe? TurNur’s plan for Gigantic Solar Farm might make it possible.)
Naysayers have noted that a similar project, the €400bn Desertec initiative completely fell through despite Desertec having more experience than TurNur does. However, I really believe that to actually change the way the planet is headed we need people to dream big, take risks and think of schemes like this.
If completed the solar farm would be a type of concentrated farm that uses large mirrors to reflect sunlight onto central solar towers. These towers would contain molten salt that can store solar electricity as heat. This means of collecting energy means that it is able to store the energy for longer.
This ambitious plan comes in the same week as the recent news that offshore wind farms in the U.K will be built for a record low price over the next decade. This comes after developers bid far more aggressively than had been expected for a multimillion-pound pot of government subsidies.
(The world’s largest floating solar power plant is seen on a lake in Huainan, China)
In an interesting change of events, China is now the global leader in Solar and wind power. With America (trump) going back on many of its climate goals, the example being set by China, long known for its use of coal, is one that Europe should attempt to emulate. China has doubled its solar energy producing capabilities in one year. China announced it would invest 360 billion in renewable energy by 2020 and by then half of electricity generated in the country will be from either solar, wind, hydro and nuclear power.
Europe must follow China down this path if we hope to not destroy our planet.
“5 Ways China Is Becoming the Global Leader on Climate Change” Eco Watch, 2017. https://www.ecowatch.com/china-clean-energy-leader-2348002028.html
“Huge boost for renewables as offshore windfarm costs fall to record low” The Guardian, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/11/huge-boost-renewable-power-offshore-windfarm-costs-fall-record-low
“A Solar Plant in the Sahara Could Help Power the EU” Popular Mechanics, 2017. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/news/a27639/sahara-solar-plant-power-the-eu/