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Study Suggests Promising Future For Solar Power

Update Date: Jun 23, 2014 05:43 PM EDT

Concentrating solar power (CSP) could supply a large fraction of the power supply in a decarbonized energy system, according to a new study. 

The study suggested that CSP could supply sizable amount of current energy demand. Citing the example of the Mediterranean region, the study showed that a connected CSP system could provide 70 - 80 percent of current electricity demand at no extra cost compared to gas-fired power plants. 

The percentage mentioned is similar to what a standard energy production plant like nuclear plant would provide. 

"Solar energy systems can satisfy much more of our hunger for electricity, at not much more cost than what we currently have," said Stefan Pfenninger, who led the study while working at IIASA. He is now a Research Postgraduate at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, the press release added. 

The study is first to examine the potential of CSP as a large-scale energy production system in four regions around the world. 

"In order to address climate change we need to greatly expand our use of renewable energy systems," said IIASA researcher Fabian Wagner, who also worked on the study, in the press release. "The key question, though, is how much energy renewable systems can actually deliver."

"Our study is the first to look closely at whether it's possible to build a power system based primarily on solar energy, and still provide reliable electricity to consumers around the clock, every day of the year. We find this to be possible in two world regions, the Mediterranean basin and the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa," added study co-author Anthony Patt, Professor of Human-Environment Systems, ETH Zurich Department of Environmental Systems Science, and an IIASA guest research scholar, in the press release.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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