About two weeks ago I blogged about an article on Desertec that asserted, based on an interview with Desertec industrial initiative CEO Paul van Son that Desertec changed its focus and now does not want electricity from Northern Africa exported to Europe.
That seems to have been a misunderstanding. Now a spokesman of Desertec industrial initiative says that there are no changes in the Desertec strategy.
Let’s just say that there will not be much export happening right now. You need to build the power lines before that can happen.
But in the time frame of the couple of decades Desertec is thinking in, it will be just a question of market forces to determine how much exports we will see.
In the meanwhile, I recall a couple of ways to export energy without building power lines.
For one, there is the quicklime cycle, or cement production. See this previous post.
And people could produce silicon at a desert site and then export the silicon. See this previous post. The same could be done with aluminum production.
And to add one new thought here: Actually it would probably make sense to use concentrated solar to generate the required 2,000 degrees Celsius of industrial heat for making silicon directly, instead of producing electricity and then using that to generate heat. There would be much less energy lost that way.