Clean energy is one of the most prominent topics currently discussed worldwide. The idea is to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and exploit sustainable energy sources like solar or wind energy. This means of going new and maybe unusual ways. For example, one of China’s top power officials presented the idea of a global power grid connecting solar farms close to the equator and wind turbines in the Arctic to the countries worldwide.

The northernmost wind park is situated in Havøygavlen, 50 kilometers south of the North Cape. According to the plans of Zhenya Liu, it would be possible to go even further north and develop a grid of wind parks around the Arctic. Picture: Seebawind
The northernmost wind park is situated in Havøygavlen, 50 kilometers south of the North Cape. According to the plans of Zhenya Liu, it would be possible to go even further north and develop a grid of wind parks around the Arctic. Picture: Seebawind

What might sound like the stuff of science fiction, State Grid Corporation of China Chairman Zhenya Liu said could be developed by mid-century. The foundation of the ocean-crossing grid would be an ultra-high voltage power line developed by his company, along with engineering giants ABB and Siemens, which he said would make the delivery of electricity across such vast distances feasible. “UHV grid technology has been proved to be both advanced and mature.” he said at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston Thursday. “By 2050, we need to accelerate the development of energy bases at the North Pole and the equatorial regions.”

Solar power plants in the desert are not a sci-fi idea, but are reality already. For example, Ivanpah in the Mojave Desert or a network of solar farms in the Sahara desert, which currently is debated. Picture: Business Wire
Solar power plants in the desert are not a sci-fi idea, but are reality already. For example, Ivanpah in the Mojave Desert or a network of solar farms in the Sahara desert, which currently is debated. Picture: Business Wire

State Grid has already built seven of its advanced power lines in China and has ten more under construction. Last year the company announced it was building an almost 1,300 mile long line in Brazil, connecting a hydroelectric dam on the Amazon River to cities in the southeast part of the country. But what Liu proposed Thursday is infinitely more ambitious. Right now wind projects within 50 miles of the U.S. coastline remain uneconomic, experts say. State Grid is proposing building turbines in one of the world’s coldest and harshest environments, more than 3,000 miles away from its customers.

But in a report released Thursday, State Grid claimed its analysis showed the wind is so strong in the Arctic and the sun so strong along the earth’s equator that power from those regions can economically be delivered such great distances. The company reported more than 200,000 gigawatts of energy potential across the two regions.

Source: James Osborne, Fuelfix