Sahara wind and solar farms could green the desert in more ways than one

Sahara wind and solar farms could green the desert in more ways than one

Renewable energy installations like wind turbines or solar panels can be an important part of fighting climate change by providing energy that does not require the burning of fossil fuels.

But models have shown that large solar or wind farms could also change the climate directly by their presence.

Now, a group of scientists led by researchers at the University of Maryland and the University of Illinois set out to model what would happen if solar and wind farms large enough to power the planet were installed in the Sahara desert, and uncovered a form of climate change that might actually help more than it hurts.

The results, published in Science, found that the installations would increase rainfall and vegetation in the Sahara and neighboring Sahel region, which lies between the Sahara and the Sudanian Savanna, making them a potential net positive for the region and the planet.

“The increase in rainfall and vegetation, combined with clean electricity as a result of solar and wind energy, could help agriculture, economic development and social well-being in the Sahara, Sahel, Middle East and other nearby regions,” study author Safa Motesharrei said in a University of Illinois press release published by ScienceDaily.

The researchers focused on the Sahara because it is an ideal location for such an ambitions renewable energy scheme.

Source: Eco Watch

Date: October 2018

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Tags assigned to this article:
climate changeimpactsrenewables

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