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Green Mahattan Project Part 2

One example of the ‘BIG IDEA’ has come from North Africa. The $555 billion Desertec project is a massive solar pipeline spanning from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe which aims to provide up to 15% of Europe’s total electricity needs. The plan is that Concentrated Solar Power plants (CSP), some of which operate in the US now, will supply solar energy to high voltage direct current (DC) transmission lines.

These lines will deliver power to the European continent, in the first attempt to transmit such CSP energy long-range. The Desertec Industrial Initiative is partnered by companies such as Deutsche Bank and Siemens.  But this is a long-term project as it will take three years just to finish the planning before construction can begin.

Yes, the level of investment needed for a true green revolution is huge – the US has over $500 million in stimulus money for clean tech in general and China is to invest over $200 billion. Big companies like Wal-Mart, GE and Google are all investing heavily in sustainability and energy projects.

Such budgets are being funnelled into specific project areas for example the DOE in the US has recently given a $100 million grant to the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy for three areas of green tech: developing green energy storage, building power converters that  reduce energy consumption and identifying technology for heating/cooling systems.

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