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Solar Thermal Electricity Production to Jump 100-Fold, IEA Says

Nov 10,2009 - Jeremy van Loon - Bloomberg.com

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Power generation using giant mirrors and solar panels to concentrate the sun’s rays and turn turbines will expand more than 100-fold over the next two decades, according to the International Energy Agency.

Solar thermal production will increase to 124 terawatt hours of energy in 2030 from less than 1 TWh in 2007, the Paris- based group said today in its annual energy outlook report.

Commercial interest in “concentrated” solar power is growing, allowing regions such as the U.S. Southwest, southern Europe and northern Africa to use the sun’s energy in some of the driest regions. Solar production has the most potential of all renewable sources to provide more of the growing world’s power needs, energy experts say.

Siemens AG, Munich Re are among 12 companies readying plans for a project to harness power from the Sahara desert sun to bring electricity to European homes. The project includes constructing power cables under the Mediterranean Sea.

Investments in wind farms, solar panels and other renewable energy sources will likely decline 18 percent this year amid the credit crisis, the IEA also said. Construction of projects will pick up again, helped by members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, the world’s most developed nations, prompting the agency to boost its outlook for renewable-energy production to a quarter of the total in those countries by 2030.

Photovoltaic panels, mainly on rooftops, will likely supply the world with 280 terawatt hours of power in 2030 from about 4 TWh now, the IEA said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy van Loon in Berlin at jvanloon@bloomberg.net


Updated: 2003/07/28