'Trough'-style concentrating power plants could carry an unacceptable water-use burden in desert areas
Solar power – the hidden threat to water supplies
18th August, 2010
Concentrating solar power plants seem in many ways like a silver bullet for the world's energy problems - but have we looked closely enough at their environmental impacts?
In response to the threats posed by climate change, recent years have witnessed a rapid increase in the levels of energy harnessed from renewable sources, particularly wind and solar. However, despite offering a great deal of potential as a major future source of zero-carbon energy, concerns are growing that one particular type of solar power, known as concentrated solar power, may pose a significant threat to water supplies in some of the world’s driest regions.
What is Concentrated Solar Power?
For many of us, solar power means solar panels. Also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, these are an increasingly common sight on urban rooftops and industrial-scale facilities worldwide. However, photovoltaic panels are not the only way that the sun’s energy can be captured. In particular, Concentrated Solar Power (or CSP for short), is emerging as a viable alternative to PV. CSP produces heat or electricity using hundreds of mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays to a very high temperature.
The CSP industry is rapidly gaining mainstream acceptance, with the number of projects under consideration starting to multiply. In its recent report, ‘Concentrating Solar...
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