The other night, while tuned in to the BBC World Service, I happened upon a fascinating interview with Nicholas Dunlop, co-founder of the Climate Parliament. He was saying that the answer to the climate problem would be the creation of a Renewable energy supergrid. Here is a transcript of part of the interview:
“This is a really key idea for finding our way out of the climate problem. If we share our clean energy resources, our solar and wind and hydroelectric power and geothermal and the others, over a wide area, over a whole region or a whole continent, then we can actually switch the whole world economy to clean energy much more quickly than most governments currently imagine.
The way you do this is you use high-voltage direct current cables to link up the region, and these can can transmit energy over long distances – thousands of kilometers – with very little loss of energy along the way. They work well under water. You can bury them so they are out of sight.
And what that would enable us to do is to draw essentially unlimited solar energy from the world’s deserts and dry lands, where you’ve got the sun shining all day everyday, and you can harness that energy through photovoltaic panels, but also through solar-thermal power stations which use mirrors to concentrate the sun’s heat and boil water and drive a steam turbine.
Secondly, you can make wind energy a much more reliable resource. We all know that if you are in just one location the wind comes and goes, but over a wide area the wind’s always blowing in some places, so if you harness wind over a wide area you get a very steady supply.
And thirdly, we could link everybody to the big hydro-electric dams in the mountain ranges so that we could use hydro power as back-up to solar and wind energy to enable us to get a hundred percent reliability and make it a hundred percent reliable.
In the process, many parts of the world are going to make a lot of money. ¬†For example Scotland, which is the Saudi Arabia of wind and rain, could actually become a major exporter of wind power. Or Rajasthan and India, which has wall-to-wall sunshine year round in the Rajasthan desert, could be a solar power house for the India sub-continent, and so on …”
For more info on these ideas check out the Eparliament web site.