Desertec Progressing Nicely

Ed Reed at Energy Voice just posted on plans of the MENA region to get a head start into the market for exporting green hydrogen.

The idea is to build large scale solar power stations, then use those to generate CO2-free clean hydrogen for the export market. The article contains lots of quotes from Paul van Son, one of the people involved in a leading position with the Desertec project from the start.

As he notes, price is now in favor of renewable. Why build a coal power plant if that costs more even not considering the climate damages?

And in contrast to Germany, where people lately seem to have trouble to find suitable locations for wind projects, there is a lot of space available in the desert. One needs only a small part of that available space to power the world.

So through sheer power of market forces, obviously the transition to renewable will be much faster in the next 20 years compared to the first 20 years since the Law on Priority for Renewable Energy (EEG) was enacted in Germany.

I am optimistic that the speed will be enough to keep the climate crisis in check, mainly because only less than half of emissions stay in the atmosphere and about 55% has been absorbed by carbon sinks. Once emissions go down to half, those carbon sinks will take out more than is released.

But from the point of view of the MENA countries involved, they will have a way to sell energy after the oil runs out. Selling oil is a nice business. You get income without having to invest in creating the oil in the first place, by the sheer random luck of just having some resources in your country.

In contrast, in a world running mainly on desert solar power, it is a race to develop the clean hydrogen resources. Whoever is ready first will get the most market share.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

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