Deserts - A Possible Source of Energy

September 14, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. generate (v.) [jen-uh-reyt] – to produce or to create something
Example: The new company project will generate more income.
2. utilize (v.) [yoot-l-ahyz] – to put into use for a specific purpose
Example: We must utilize the talents we have to help other people.

3. photovoltaic (adj.) [foh-toh-vol-tey-ik] – refers to the ability to produce electricity from light
Example: Many countries use photovoltaic solar cells to convert energy from the sun to electricity.

4. transmission (n.) [trans-mish-uhn, tranz-] – the act of transferring something
Example: The damaged wires prevented the transmission of electricity throughout the whole town.

5. clean energy (n.) [kleen] [en-er-jee] – energy that does not cause pollution
Example: Clean energy reduces global warming.

Read the text below.

Engineers in Europe plan to utilize the huge desert areas of North Africa, the Middle East and Southern Europe as a source of energy.

Under the project called DESERTEC, engineers will build solar thermal collectors in the desert to store the sun’s energy and use it to generate steam from heating water. The steam created will then be utilized to operate turbines that produce electricity.

According to Franz Trieb, a German engineer, the vast desert area provides abundant sources of reusable energy, making it strategic to build the thermal collectors there. Aside from thermal collectors, engineers will also use wind turbines built in coastal areas and photovoltaic devices distributed throughout Europe as additional source of energy.

The cost of the plan, however, remains an issue. In order to deliver large amounts of stored energy from the desert to cities in Europe, numerous transmission lines must be built. In addition, some problems may arise if these lines are built in politically unstable locations.

Despite the disadvantages, engineers of DESERTEC aim to continue the project because of the growing need for clean energy. Currently, solar thermal plants capable of producing up to 500 megawatts are already being constructed in Ouarzazate, Morocco.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
Discussion A

·         What are the possible effects of using natural resources to produce electricity?
·         Aside from deserts, what other natural resources can be used as a good source of reusable energy?

Discussion B

·         Can you imagine living without electricity? Explain your answer.
·         What are the advantages and disadvantages of having electricity?

September 14, 2011