Desertec Initiative to be highlighted at GPD 2011

Glass Magazine
June 8, 2010
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, AUTO, FABRICATION : MEETINGS AND EVENTS

The Desertec Initiative as well as the visions and competencies represented by the consortium behind it will be one of the special attractions of the Glass Performance Days June 17-20, 2011 in Tampere, Finland, according to a June 8 release. Ralf Christian, CEO, Power Distribution Division of Siemens AG Energy Sector, has offered and confirmed that Siemens will provide a Smart Grid & Desertec briefing to the GPD audience in an opening keynote speech at the conference.

Desertec, in combination with an intelligent power grid infrastructure, is an excellent example of how advanced and emerging technology and complementing competencies can make imaginary long-time visions feasible, Christian said in the release. The Desertec initiative encapsules state-of-the-art solar technology but also all the infrastructure and power transmission know-how that can benefit both the energy requirements of Europe and the needs of the growing economies in Northern Africa. It is also a prime example of how different technologies can support one another in an environmentally friendly, holistic total energy solution for a large area. Solar power, with all its emerging technologies CSP, PV etc., connects with different wind park projects through high-efficiency HVDC power distribution grids that can meet an estimated 15 percent of Europe´ s electrical energy requirements and do this on a sustainable and economically feasible industrial scale.

The Desertec Initiative is backed up by the Desertec Foundation, a consortium of 12 major industrial and financial companies with their regional focus on Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. This ensures the availability both of needed competencies and resources.

"It is in itself unique that we have been able to generate this cooperation," Christian said in the release. "At Siemens we feel that we can make a strong contribution to the project thanks to our versatile technology base, broad environmental portfolio and industrial competence in implementing advanced technologies. Our partners in Desertec cover all the aspects of related competencies from industrial to political, social, legal and regulatory issues. The idea of extending carbon-free electricity supply from North-Africa to Europe has been on the drawing boards for some 30 years but has now reached the stage of being technically and economically feasible. HVDC-cables are already capable of transporting power over long distances without large energy losses."

The Desertec concept was originally developed by the TREC Initiative of the Club of Rome. In its broadest sense it held perspectives of sustainable power supply for all regions of the world by accessing the energy potential of desert areas. The project also addresses all other key links in the chain to produce energy from renewable sources from power generation to the link-up with consumers. The environmentally friendly supply chain includes state-of-the-art solar production technology, smart grid solutions and energy storage to take the energy to market and also an advanced control system for the handling of peak loads and switching over to suitable complementing energy sources.

The shortcomings of the European supply of electrical power in the harsh winter conditions of 2010 clearly point at the need of better energy supply solutions. Solar power generation is a new opportunity but the problems of 2010 were also largely due to inadequate power grids that prevented maximum use of total European power generation capacity. Desertec addresses this very important issue, according to the release.

"At best the Desertec Initiative can provide both new opportunities for energy-intensive industries and perhaps also change consumer attitudes towards the use of energy from a restrictive mode into one of expanding optimism and new opportunities," Christian said in the release.

"GPD is the ideal forum for highlighting a project such as Desertec," said Jorma Vitkala, chairman of the Conference Organizing Committee, in the release. "A mega-project such as Desertec will require the input and cooperation of leading industrial specialists, researchers and entrepreneurs. The expertise represented by the audience of the GPD is an ideal forum in which to share visions and opinions about all aspects of solar technology where glass is a key component."

The GPD has always been a two-way street, Vitkala said in the release. "It gives an opportunity to present new initiatives but is also yields comments, feedback and discussions that contribute to the refining of ideas. The most advanced ideas will only be implemented when their competitiveness can be ensured through feasible and practical solutions in industrial terms. The contribution that GPD and its participants give for this purpose is invaluable. GPD encourages and welcomes all research and development contributions as well as commentary contributions to the Desertec project and look very much forward to the reactions, comments and contributions that the most influential target group in the world can enrich the project with. We are speaking of a long-range solution that will no doubt have a myriad of multiplier effects to all players who wish to contribute to the building of sustainable energy generation solutions for a developing world."