The report, "Concentrated Solar Thermal Power - Now", is a practical blueprint, which proves that in two decades solar thermal power could supply clean electricity to more than 100 million people living in the sunniest parts of the world (1). Greenpeace and ESTIA are encouraging politicians and policymakers to support this new sustainable industry by taking the necessary steps laid out in the report, which provides a detailed action plan for Governments who want to invest in this new technology. It also illustrates how the Middle East and North Africa could become the main centre for solar power with the potential of also exporting electricity to Europe (2).
Egypt is one of the few countries in the world that has a Government department dedicated to the development of renewable energy sources. Under the direction of the New and Renewable Energy Authority (part of the Ministry of Energy) one of the first solar thermal power plants built since the 1980s will come on line in 2007 at El Koraimat near Cairo.
"Egypt is leading the world in exploiting this technology and demonstrating the solar potential of sunbelt regions. In the Mediterranean solar thermal power generation offers the same potential as the Wind power generation in other areas," said Sven Teske, Greenpeace International Renewable Energy Campaigner. "This plant demonstrates the potential benefits of solar power not only for climate-friendly power generation but for the development of truly sustainable economies."
In only two decades, the electricity generated from solar thermal power plants could be equivalent to the power generated by 72 coal-fired power stations, supplying enough electricity each year for Israel, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia combined or half the electricity demand of Australia. By 2040, the global demand for electricity is expected to double; 5% of which could be delivered by solar thermal power plants.
On November 7 and 8, the Chinese Government will host the Beijing Renewable Energy Conference 2005, where delegates will discuss the implementation of renewable energy target agreements made in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
The report outlines that given the right market conditions, the use of solar thermal power technology would cut CO2 emissions by 362 million tonnes by 2025 making an important contribution to international climate protection targets (3).
"The aim of the blueprint is to have solar thermal power plants implemented in the energy sector within the next couple of years," said Dr. Michael Geyer, Executive Secretary from IEA SolarPaces. "Solar thermal power does not need to be invented, it is ready for global implementation today, especially in countries like Spain, the United States, Egypt, Israel, Algeria, South Africa, Mexico Australia and India. Each could have more than 500 MW of solar thermal projects by 2020."
Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation, which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions, which are essential to a green and peaceful future
Other contacts: Sven Teske, Greenpeace International Campaigner, +31 6 212 96 894 Mhairi Dunlop, Greenpeace International Communications, +44 7801 212 960
VVPR info: Report available on www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/Concentrated-Solar-Thermal-Power
Notes: (1) Solar thermal power is heat energy obtained by exposing a collection device to the rays of the sun. A solar thermal system makes use of the warmth absorbed by the collector to heat water or another working fluid, or to make steam. Hot water is used in home or commercial buildings and for industrial processes. Steam is used for process heat or for operating a turbine generator to produce electricity or industrial power. (2) The annual direct solar irradiance in the southern European Union, Middle East and North African regions is huge: The primary energy received by each square metre of land equals 1-2 barrels (1 barrel measuring 159 litres) of oil per year. (3) From a current level of just 354 MW, by 2015 the total installed capacity of solar thermal power plants will have passed 6000 MW, according to the Greenpeace/ ESTIA/ SolarPaces projections. By 2025, additional capacity would be rising at a level of almost 5000 MW each year and the total installed capacity of solar thermal power around the world will have reached 36,800 MW.