Cheap African solar energy could power UK homes in 2018.The scheme would provide power for in excess of 2 million UK homes and would fit with the current policy to curb planning for some of the very large solar farm schemes that have been allowed by planners to blight some of our rural landscape. Not only has this happened with Solar but also wind turbines. Sadly, the way the government has legislated means even the most sensible planners had their hands tied behind their backs.
This type of scheme is very advanced in Africa with legislation already passed to facilitate the export of energy, and agreements with countries such as Italy are already in place to receive the energy. A dedicated cable will be run to Rome, where it will join to the European grid, which is joined to the UK. The plan will involve using concentrated solar power technology. This allows the storage of some of the energy generated so that the supply can be switched on or off on demand.
Energy already being piped:
A large amount of energy is already moving from North Africa to Europe through pipelines. There are gas pipelines from Algeria that go through Tunisia and have operated successfully despite the many political problems in the world. In order to reduce costs for British consumers, any future non-UK project would need to compete on cost effectiveness with projects in the UK before being allocated a contract to supply. This means that British consumers get the best deal, no matter where the electricity is generated. It also means that a lot of the future solar schemes in the UK will shift from the ground to cover the vast amount of suitable, domestic, industrial and agricultural roof space in the UK. Solar farms however, will not be at an end, but will more than likely be the 250 kWh size that farmers and land owners can easily locate without blighting the rural landscape or restricting the supply of land for farming.