Available Resources and Technologies

At present, the power consumers in the EU-MENA countries have no other choice but to pay the steadily-increasing price of power from fossil and nuclear fuels. This situation is ex­acerbated by the fact that fossil and nuclear fuels tech­nologies today still receive ca. 75 % of all public subsidies for the energy sector. This figure would increase to over 90 % if external costs were also counted as hidden subsidies.

On the other hand, a number of sustainable-energy tech­nologies are available (see the downloadable table at www. phiuz. de special features/Zusatzmaterial zu den Heften). Some of them produce energy on a fluctuating ba­sis, for example wind energy and photovoltaic installations, while others could provide both peak-load and base-load power as needed. Among these are the biomass, hydro­electric power and concentrating solar thermal power plants.

The long-term economic potential of renewable ener­gies within the EU-MENA region is much greater than its cur­rent power consumption; in particular, solar energy literal­ly outshines all the others. The average energy of the annual insolation in the MENA region is 2400 kWh/m2. If this en­ergy were captured by solar-thermal power plants, up to 250 GWh of electrical energy could be obtained per year from a square kilometer. This is 250 times as much as from the biomass and five times more than with the current best wind or hydroelectric plants per square kilometer. A field of concentrating solar collectors on the same land area as the Nassar Lake in Egypt – more than double the size of the

Saarland – would be able to generate as much energy as all the oil produced in the Middle East. In contrast, the Nassar Lake, which causes enormous ecological problems, yields only a fraction of Egypt’s power needs.

In addition, there are also other sustainable energy sources in the EU-MENA region. There is a potential of 2000 TWh/a from wind energy, and an additional 4000 TWh/a from geothermal energy sources, hydroelectric power and the biomass. The latter includes waste products of agricul­ture and forests, as well as refuse from cities and sewage. Photovoltaics, wave and tidal energy also have a consider­able potential in the region; to be sure, each of these sus­tainable energy sources has its specific geographic distrib­ution (Figure 4), so that every sub-region exhibits its indi­vidual mixture of resources. Hydroelectric power, biomass and wind energy are the favored sources in the North, while solar and wind energy are the strongest sources in the South of the EU-MENA region.

Fossil energy sources such as coal, petroleum and nat­ural gas represent a useful complement to the mixture of sustainable energies, since they can readily be used for en-


Background information on the DLR studies www. dlr. de/dlr/en/desktopdefault. aspx/tabid-10200

The ecological balance for transmitting power from North Africa to Europe www. dlr. de/tt/trans-csp

Desertec Foundation

www. desertec. org

Available Resources and Technologies

FIG. 3

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1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050




Available Resources and Technologies

A scenario describing the power requirements of the MENA countries investigated: □ Egypt, □ Saudi Arabia, □ Iran.

A scenario describing the power requirements of the Euro­pean countries investigated: □ Turkey, □ Italy, □ Great Britain, □ Germany, □ France.



Подпись: Max
Подпись: “ DLR Min Energy yield in GWh/km2/a
Подпись: A map showing sustainable energy scources for the EU-MENA region, with the annual minimum and maximum electrical energy yields (in parentheses) that can be obtained from 1 km2 of land area in each case. Solar energy includes both photo- voltaics and solar thermal power. The darker areas are the most productive.

ergy balancing and for securing the stability of the power grid. If their usage can be reduced to the point where they serve only to provide a reserve capacity, the current price rises will presumably be stopped and only a minor stress on the economic development will result. Furthermore, their environmental effects will be minimized. In addition,
their availability will be extended over a period of decades, if not centuries.

Nuclear power plants, in contrast, are less suitable for use in combination with sustainable energy sources, since their power output cannot be adjusted to a fluctuating de­mand, owing to economic constraints. Furthermore, the

costs of decommissioning nuclear power plants exceed those of their construction, and the well-known problems remain, such as the uncontrollable proliferation of plutoni­um and the final disposal of nuclear waste.

Some of the sustainable energy sources are likewise able to supply power on demand for peak loads as well as for the base load, as needed. Among these are geothermal en­ergy, hydroelectric plants in Norway, Iceland and in the Alps, as well as most biogenic sources and concentrating solar thermal power plants in the MENA region. These last, as so­lar-driven steam power plants, make use of the strong dai­ly insolation in this area, which is relatively evenly spread over the year. And they offer the possibility of storing solar thermal energy for nighttime operation, as well as the op­tion of using additional heat input from combustion of fos­sil fuels or biomass.

Updated: October 27, 2015 — 12:10 pm