2007-12-07 Vanesa Mock
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European Politicians Are Searching For New Sources of Renewable Energy

Some sceptical voices there - and they're not alone in challenging the very loud voices of the now enormous climate change movement. Many experts argue that the climate's always been changing, always will change and what we need to focus on is how to adapt to it. Not, as they say, try to undo it. With this in mind, Radio Netherlands Worldwide's Richard Walker asked Ecologist Saloman Kroonenberg from Delft Technical University if the Climate conference in Bali is heading in the wrong direction.

Well renewable energy is of course one of the main goals - and European politicians are turning to the desert in their search for cheap, clean and secure energy. As oil and gas prices hover at record levels, the Prince of Jordan and international scientists have been invited to Brussels to state their case for a potential energy goldmine: the sun. They say using a highly-concentrated form of solar energy holds the key to solving not only Europe's energy needs – but it would help bring stability to the Middle East region. Radio Netherlands Worldwide Brussels Correspondent Vanessa Mock reports for Network Europe:

Solar PanelsSolar Panels

“It’ll bring about an industrial revolution from the Levant and the Middle East all the way to Morocco and Spain. People will realise that energy is available.”

Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan has a grand vision for a technology called Concentrating Solar Thermal Power. There are already two major plants in California and Nevada. And now Spain’s just got two solar stations up and running, big enough to provide electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes.

The Prince has now joined forces with an international team of scientists to call on Europe to launch a ten million euro project for solar energy.

Dr Franz Trieb has been researching the technology for the German Aerospace Centre and says it has everything going for it:

Solar panelsSolar panels

“The resources are unlimited because they are based on sunshine. And they are renewable. The capacity that can be made available surpasses the human energy demand by several orders of magnitude“

Polly Higgins, a British scientist, says the beauty of solar power is its simplicity:

“The sun comes down into the desert and hits the mirrors The heat from the sun is then concentrated that then turns into steam with the high temperatures and that steam can turn the turbines.” But Dorett Corbey, a Dutch Labour Party MEP says Europe must overcome its fear.

Scientists believe that the first large scale power plants could be up and running by 2020, supplying Europe with a clean, stable source of energy. But for that to happen, it will take a lot more people like Dorett Corbey to go knocking on government doors to turn the vision into a reality.

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