Executive summary: Solar thermal power is a relatively new technology which has already shown enormous promise. With few environmental impacts and a massive resource, it offers an opportunity to the sunniest countries of the world comparable to the breakthrough offshore wind farms are currently offering European nations with the windiest shorelines.Solar thermal power uses direct sunlight, so it must be sited in regions with high direct solar radiation. Among the most promising areas of the world are the South-Western United States, Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean countries of Europe, Iran, Pakistan and the desert regions of India, the former Soviet Union, China and Australia.In many regions of the world, one square kilometre of land is enough to generate as much as 100-200 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity per year using solar thermal technology. This is equivalent to the annual production of a 50 MW conventional coal or gas-fired power plant. Worldwide, theexploitation of less than 1% of the total solar thermal potential would be enough to stabilise the world climate through massive CO2 reductions.
Num. pages: 52