Our hunger for energy goes beyond all limits and will double in the next 20 years. But what available technologies could meet the growing thirst for electricity? And will we also have to cut power consumption? What can Europe learn from China?
What is supposed to be the largest and most efficient solar power plant in the world is currently being built near the Moroccan desert city of Ouarzazate. The Noor solar power plant, which means "Light" in Arabic, is due to be completed by 2020, when it will comprise 4 units. In its final expansion stage, Noor will supply a total of 1.3 million households with electricity. The sun is the most powerful source of energy in our galaxy and could theoretically supply all of humanity with electricity with ease, but what technologies do we have to usher in this new era of electricity? Could wind power be a more promising alternative? Wind farms are being built at full speed around the world, but is wind energy really viable? Is the enormous investment in wind turbines at all worth it and can it meet our demand for electricity? China has shown how quickly you can push ahead with the switch from fossil to renewable energy sources. China's enormous economic growth in recent decades has made the Middle Kingdom the world's largest energy guzzler. But China is also the world’s largest energy producer. A veritable energy revolution is currently underway. Almost 20 percent of the ever-growing demand for energy is now met by renewable technologies, and a large proportion of the solar cells used worldwide already come from China. What can Europe learn from China? One key to avoiding an electricity crisis could be "decentralization,” so-called "microgrids." A quiet little town in the Swabian Allgäu region has shown it is possible to produce eight times as much electricity as it needs itself.