By Paul Brown, Climate News Network
The world’s largest concentrated solar power plant opened in March in the middle of Abu Dhabi’s western region, amid the country’s giant oil fields.
The $600 million plant’s hundreds of mirrors direct sunlight towards towers full of water. These are heated to drive steam turbines that provide enough electricity for thousands of homes.
In a country whose vast wealth is generated by oil, adopting a new technology that produces only 100 megawatts of power — about a tenth the amount of a large coal-fired plant — may seem a mere token, but it is part of a much larger industrial strategy for the region.
Serious money and political clout in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa is aimed at building hundreds of similar plants. The potential is so great that all the electricity requirements of these desert countries — and a good slice of Europe’s — could be met by 2050.