Wind and Solar Farms Could Make it Rain Regularly in the Sahara Desert

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According to (This article and its images were originally posted on Motherboard September 7, 2018 at 10:18AM.)

The Sahara Desert is a dream location for renewable energy industries. The same qualities that make this region so legendary—searing Sun exposure, blustering gales, sparse populations—also distinguish it as an obvious place to develop wind and solar farms. Many ambitious green energy projects are already underway in the desert, including the Sahara Solar Breeder Project, which aims to power half the world from the desert by 2050.

While the Sahara’s potential as a global energy hub has long been recognized, the impacts of such development on the desert environment itself have been mostly overlooked. A team led by Yan Li, a postdoctoral researcher in natural resources and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois, bridges this gap in the latest issue of Science.

The team developed climate models of the temperature, precipitation, and vegetation changes that would result from blanketing 9 million square kilometers (3,500,000 square miles) of the Sahara, or about 0.1 percent of its area, in solar and wind farms.

Li and his colleagues found that such a large-scale project would generate over four times the amount of electricity as the entire 2017 global energy budget. But the team also noted that green mega-projects would benefit the region itself by boosting local temperatures, precipitation, and vegetation levels around the farms.hese scenarios are just simulations, and any large development like the one envisioned by Li’s team would have to account for numerous contingencies before ever getting to the construction phrase. But a future in which the Sahara Desert goes green, in more ways than one, is still a tantalizing possibility.

 

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This article and its images were originally posted on [Motherboard] September 7, 2018 at 10:18AM. All credit to both the author Becky Ferreira and Motherboard | ESIST.T>G>S Recommended Articles Of The Day.

 

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