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human activity and the destruction of the planet


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Scotland is producing more energy than it needs from wind power

Seeing countless renewable energy records broken and milestones passed has been a constant source of encouraging news for our planet. Now, we have yet another impressive stat to celebrate: in the first half of 2019, Scotland generated enough energy from wind power to supply its homes twice over.

Source: Science Alert:

https://www.sciencealert.com/scotland-s-wind-turbines-are-now-generating-double-what-its-residents-need

Specifically, turbines generated 9.8 million megawatt-hours of electricity between January and June, enough to supply power to 4.47 million homes – not bad for a country that has around 2.6 million homes to its name.

It’s a record high for wind energy in Scotland, and it means the turbines could have provided enough electricity for every dwelling in Scotland, plus much of northern England as well, for the first six months of the year.

windturbines



 


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Could the Sahara desert be used to provide energy for the rest of the world?

The Sahara Desert would seem to be a dream location for powering the rest of the world by the use of renewable energy, both wind and solar.

I have thought about this possibility for a long time and it would seem that I am not the only one.  The difficulty with this may be that the Sahara desert is part of a number of African countries.

It covers large parts of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia, extends over 9 million square kilometres (3,500,000 sq miles), and covers about a quarter of the African continent.

Logically, to use solar panels and wind farms in the Sahara desert, or any other desert for that matter, would seem to be an ideal solution to reverse global warming and deal with climate change.  It might even help to reduce extreme poverty in Africa.  But, would the large energy companies ever allow it to happen?

So, what has been happening so far?  Morocco has already begun to install solar panels on is territory, with a solar park about the size of Paris.  It is called Noor, which is Arabic for ‘light’.  See:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/morocco-turns-the-sahara-desert-into-a-solar-energy-oasis

There is also the Sahara Solar Breeder Project, a joint initiative between the universities of Algeria and Japan.  It is claimed that solar power plants there could supply half the world’s energy requirements by 2050.  It will begin by building a silicon manufacturing plant in the desert to transform silica in the sand into silicon of sufficiently high quality for use in solar panels. Solar power plants will then be constructed using the solar panels, and some of the electricity generated will supply the energy needed to build more silicon plants to produce more solar panels and then more electricity.  A short video explains the process:

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2010-12-sahara-aims-power-world.html#jCp

The whole idea has been discussed by a number of groups:  See as follows:

https://www.quora.com/Why-dont-cant-we-put-solar-panels-in-the-Sahara-Desert-as-a-source-of-electricity-It-seems-like-it-would-also-help-the-African-economy-perhaps-lessening-the-poverty-and-violence

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34987467

https://theecologist.org/2010/feb/10/whats-stopping-us-getting-solar-power-deserts

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/dec/11/sahara-solar-panels-green-electricity

https://singularityhub.com/2017/12/03/the-tantalizing-dream-of-a-solar-sahara/#sm.00004g1rcd15l3ffir2gs4mipa8mq

One group feels that it would become a target for terrorist activity, especially as there is much political instability in this part of the world:

http://tinosolutions.com/why-dont-we-put-solar-panels-in-the-sahara-desert-2/

Many of these posts describe it as a tantalizing dream. But, to me, it is the most obvious option open to the global population.  If it is feasible, then we should find a way.

10_19_2015_Bobby_Magill_CC_Solar_1_1050_758_s_c1_c_c

There is also a claim that wind and solar farms could make it rain regularly in the Sahara desert, through a two-fold increase in rainfall, enabling vegetation to take hold.

ttps://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/pa8edb/wind-and-solar-farms-could-make-parts-of-the-sahara-green-with-vegetation

 


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Energy security is possible without nuclear power or fracked gas by Keith Barnham

Prof. Keith Barnham, a member of Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) and an emeritus professor and distinguished research fellow at Imperial College London, published an article in the Comments section of the New Scientist on 6th June 2017:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2133760-energy-security-is-possible-without-nuclear-power-or-fracked-gas/

There is a mantra that nuclear and natural gas power stations are essential to keep the lights on in the UK. It’s a myth, says Keith Barnham and states that an all-renewable supply is a viable way forward.  He goes on to say, “Here’s a fact you won’t have heard from the main parties during the UK’s election campaign: the nation doesn’t need a new generation of expensive nuclear reactors or a dash for shale gas to keep the lights on. An all-renewable electricity supply can provide energy security.”

The arguments he provides for this can be seen in the New Scientist article (via the link above), which provides the evidence to support this claim.

 an offshore wind farm

Offshore Wind Turbines

Further information about alternative forms of renewable energy can be found on the website of  Alternative Energy (AE) News, which publishes articles about renewable energy, new technologies, and anything that will help  civilisation to use energy and natural resources in a more sustainable and efficient way. See:

ww.alternative-energy-news.info