Hot topic

Robert Palgrave (Letters,18 June) expressed regret that Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) is not in the current UK Energy Review. Possibly our weather obscures its benefits.

Mr Palgrave makes the point that CSP plants in the Sahara could supply the EU’s energy needs. However, although the Sahara sun generates great heat, steam technology is unsuitable for remote waterless areas, so would be limited to coastal regions.

The alternative dish/Stirling engine principle would require literally millions of installations to produce meaningful exportable quantities of electricity; each unit’s limited output being further reduced due to the high ambients.

For the future, large CSP into gas turbines may be developed with substantial outputs.

The recent G8 summit expressly promoted African development, and it may be that Africa will wish to benefit from its local resource first, especially as it is now its turn to develop.

Local dish/engine CSP technology installations would be ideal for Sahara perimeter countries, as would the sun’s heat to operate efficient desalination plant.

It is the turn of the EU (G8 summit again) to reduce electrical demand/CO2. This would stop its dependence on cost-defective renewables and other countries’ energy.

P Field

St Albans, Herts