Could the future of the Sahara Desert، one of the most inhospitable places on Earth، trade sand for lush vegetation?
A new study has found a solution that can improve the weather in the region: installing wind turbines and solar panels، the Technical Times reports.
Yan Li، postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study، and his team chose Sahara because it is the largest desert in the world، and it is sensitive to land changes. The desert's location in Africa and proximity to Europe and the Middle East — all of which have high demands for energy — make it the prime model for the study.
The wind and solar farms that will be installed across the desert in the study would cover more than 9 million square kilometers. It would generate about 3 terawatts (wind) and 79 terawatts (solar) of electrical power، respectively، enough to cover the energy demand all over the world.
"In 2017، the global energy demand was only 18 terawatts، so this is obviously much more energy than is currently needed worldwide،" stated Li. Energy generated from the potential Saharan wind and solar farm could، therefore، help drastically reduce the carbon emission from fossil fuels. The presence of wind turbines and solar panels in the region، however، could change local climate، but the researchers think that it will be for the good. On a large scale، they found that the wind and solar farm could trigger an increase of precipitation and growth of more vegetation across the arid landscape.