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The Sahara could go green

The Sahara could go green 7 September 2018

Large–scale wind and solar power ‘could green the Sahara’ (via BBC News)

By Matt McGrath

Installing huge numbers of solar panels and wind turbines in the Sahara desert would have a major impact on rainfall, vegetation and temperatures, researchers say.

They found that the actions of wind turbines would double the amount of rain that would fall in the region.

Solar panels have a similar impact although they act in a different way.

The authors say their work reinforces the view that large–scale renewables could transform the Sahara region.

The scientists modelled what would happen if 9 million sq km of the Sahara desert was covered in renewable energy sources.

They focussed on this area because it is sparsely populated, and it is also exposed to significant amounts of sun and wind and is close to large energy markets in Europe and the Middle East.

According to authors’ calculations, a massive installation in the desert would generate more than four times the amount of energy that the world currently uses every year.

Previous studies have shown that installing wind and solar can have an impact on temperatures – but the key difference with this research is the impact on vegetation.

Read more via BBC News