New solar power much cheaper than oil, says report04/07/2006 - 10:49:01
A study released today claimed that Europe cut emissions of CO2 from electricity generation by 70% by the year 2050 and phase out nuclear power whilst meeting all its electricity needs.
The report, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, supports the gradual replacement of old power plants that rely on dwindling supplies of fuel with a greater range of non-polluting sources of energy.
“Every year, each square kilometre of desert receives solar energy equivalent to 1.5m barrels of oil,” said the study’s project manager, Dr Franz Trieb.
“Multiplying by the area of deserts world-wide, this is nearly a thousand times the entire current energy consumption of the world.”
"We can tap in to this energy by using mirrors to concentrate sunlight and create heat. The heat may be used to raise steam and drive a generator in the conventional way.
“This kind of ‘concentrating solar power’ (CSP) — which is very different from the better-known photovoltaic ‘solar panels’ — has been producing electricity successfully in California for nearly twenty years.
"The cost of collecting solar thermal energy equivalent to one barrel of oil is about $50 (€39) right now - already less than the current world price of oil. This is likely to come down to around $20 (€15.61) in future.”
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