Interesting piece from the Guardian about the vast quanitites of free energy available from the desert. Every year the sun pours down the equivalent of 1.5m barrels of oil of energy for every square kilometre!!
The piece posits that covering just 0.5% of the world's hot deserts with a technology called concentrated solar power (CSP) would provide the world's entire electricity needs, with the technology also providing desalinated water to desert regions as a valuable byproduct, as well as air conditioning for nearby cities.
Europe could build a new high-voltage direct current electricity grid to allow the easy, efficient transport of electricity from a variety of alternative sources. Britain could put in wind power, Norway hydro, and central Europe biomass and geo-thermal. Together the region could provide all its electricity needs by 2050 with barely any fossil fuels and no nuclear power.
This would allow a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production over the period.