Future Solar Hubs and HVDC industry

One of the advantages of the solar power is its availability and diversity all around the world. Basically these characteristics of the solar power could change the future of energy production and distribution in the world, hence the face of future economy. This would mean that countries could generate their need of energy from the sun and would be much less dependent on importing their energy.

File:TREC-Map-en.jpg
English: Sketch of possible infrastructure for a sustainable supply of power to EUrope, the Middle East and North Africa (EU-MENA). Source : DESERTEC.org

This dream however is too ideal as there are challenges on the way to reaching such energy independence goal for each country.

  • Distributed, but still concentrated: The sunlight intensity  is not the same all around the globe. Middle East and most of African countries enjoy the best potentials of this energy gold mine [1].
  • Need for More & More: The ever rising thirst for energy of our developing society, would still demand higher and higher energy production [2]. This added to the point on the top would guarantee that the energy exchange market would still be very active, but probably totally different than how it looks like today.
  • Energy Storage: Experts believe that one of the drawbacks with renewable energies is lack of efficient ways of storing them, to have available energy when the sun is not shining or the wind not strong enough [3].  Giant batteries are the key to solving this issue and guess what, Tesla has already started working and creating large scale batteries that can store 100 MW of energy in Australia [4].
  • Sustainability: Although the future batteries could be an answer to the sustainability and on-demand presence drawback of the renwables (solar at night and wind in still days), still governments would want various energy sources to be able to ensure a continuous flow of energy to their society and industry. Probably cleaner fossil fuels like Gas and nuclear would still be attractive in many places in the world as an on-demand present source of energy in the future. As the below mentioned quote from Churchill says,

    “Safety and certainty in oil,” he said, “lie in variety and variety alone.” Since Churchill’s decision, energy security has repeatedly emerged as an issue of great importance, and it is so once again today
    Old Questions, New Answers – Ensuring Energy Security – the United Nations [5]

With current innovation and progress in efficiency of solar panels and wind turbines, in the future probably there would be no oil tankers floating all over the seas taking fossil fuels from oil producer countries to consumers. Instead, we believe the energy exchange market would take radical changes and this has already started [6]. Different countries and regions would be inter connected with High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cables transferring power from areas with higher sustainable energy sources to other energy thirsty markets (e.g. from North Africa to Europe) [7] [8] [9]. The same would also apply to the solar power, import of energy utilizing HVDC / UHVDC cables from the light side of the earth to the dark side during the day, where the power consumption is higher usually in the evening times.

 

Refrences [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]