Article on Elpipes Published in Arab Constuction World Magazine

The second magazine article showing how elpipes can be used to integrate energy resources over a large area was published today in Arab Construction World Magazine. The article was authored by Roger Faulkner and noted energy blogger Harry Valentine. Harry contributed research about the unique energy situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA). Some unique features of the MENA area from an energy point of view include:
  • Associated gas (from oil production) is flared at many different sites in the MENA area. An HVDC grid could enable energy to be produced from this gas near where it is produced and exported to Europe. for example. The energy generation from this gas could balance solar power to lead to "firm power" which is worth more than variable power.
  • There are large land depressions below sea level at Qattara, Lake Asal, and Danakil that could be used for pumped storage with sea water. Of these, the easiest site to develop would be at the Danakil in Eritrea, and could store on the order of 3000 GW-hours. This one site has the potential to balance wind and solar for the entire region, and perhaps into Europe, if the high transmission capacity of elpipes were available to move the power around.
  • Saudi Arabia's easternmost area along the Persian Gulf has an available solar power curve that is well-matched to covering the morning power peak in Central and Western Europe. Extending solar energy installations from there to Morocco could cover most of the daytime peak power demand in Europe.
  • Sandstorms in much of the region make overhead power transmission much less reliable than in other regions without sandstorms. Sandstorms can erode wires and insulators, and cause flashovers. This is another reason that underground transmission is especially desirable in the MENA region.
  • There are active proposals to build a railroad upgrade from Morocco to Cairo, and the installed cost of elpipes per km would be reduced by following the railroad.

Download the issue (low resolution). The article is on pages 12, 13 and 14.

I will post a direct link to this article in Google Docs once I figure out how. Harry and I are collaborating on a white paper that lays out a grand vision for energy development in Africa.

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