In the wind-swept dunes of the desert, there is hope for reengineering how we power our planet.
We thought so. But in a phenomenal article from The Guardian, our thoughts were nearly completely confirmed. We say nearly completely instead of 100% confirmed because all of the constraints listed in the article are political and fiscal. That means if we can all get along, play fair, and do what’s right for the next generation, solar energy from the desert can save the world.
The desert in question in The Guardian article is not an Arizona or even a US desert, but the same principles apply. The desert we’re talking about is the Sahara. The total package is being called “Desertec” and here is a sampling of what The Guardian‘s Leo Hickman had to say about it:
“Until now, Desertec has been seen by many observers as little more than a mirage in the sand; the fanciful plan of well-meaning dreamers. After all, the technical, political, security and financial hurdles can, each on their own, appear to be utterly insurmountable. But over the past two years, the initiative has received significant support from some of the biggest corporate names in Germany, a country that already leads Europe when it comes to adopting and developing renewable energy, particularly solar. In the autumn of 2009, an “international” consortium of companies formed the Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii) with weighty companies, such as E.ON, Munich Re, Siemens and Deutsche Bank, all signing up as “shareholders”. Germany’s announcement earlier this year that, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, it was to speed up its total phase-out of nuclear power suddenly pulled the Desertec idea into much sharper focus. Coupled with faltering international negotiations and increasingly dire warnings on climate change – just last month the International Energy Agency warned that the world is headed for irreversible climate change if it doesn’t start reducing carbon emissions within five years – it would seem the time is now right for an idea of such scale and ambition.”
This passage tells us that global opinion on where we get our energy from can turn on a dime–and in this sense it is doing so quite literally. But, it also tells us that with goals like creating nearly 50% of the region’s power by 2020, goals for solar energy are far from lackluster or impertinent to the environment AND the economy.
We feel the same sort of sweeping sensation will hit the Arizona desert, and already has in large measure. With solar arrays across parts of our desert feeding California, we know it’s only a matter of time before this desert we call our backyard is utilized wisely as a way to offer solar energy to the greater West.
So while today is about rooftop solar panels in Phoenix and getting one home at a time fitted with a Phoenix solar water heater, the big picture is… well, a big one. A very big one. And as a local solar company in Phoenix, we look forward to the challenge and the celebration!