Business tycoon Elon Musk tweeted In April that the establishment of an ultra-large solar power plant in Spain would provide power for the entire Europe, and still believes such action can resolve the EU’s existing energy crisis.
Musk responded to the tweet by pointing out that an establishment solar power and energy storage in a small section of Spain would fulfill EU’s energy demand.
The original tweet shared a thesis and a table, indicating how a setup of solar plants in three small regions of North Africa would provide enough power for the world, Europe, and Germany respectively. The thesis came from the Technical University of Braunschweig, and estimates that a land of 254km2 would fulfill the global demand of power consumption, while a respective 110km2 and 45km2 of land would be enough for providing power to the EU and Germany.
Musk responded by pointing out that it is “such an obvious move”, and believes that Europe, should it decide to vigorously develop in solar power, will become self-sufficient. Europe has plunged into an energy crisis after Russia decided to drastically cut down transportation of natural gas subsequent to the breakout of the Russia-Ukraine war. The report of the International Monetary Fund pointed out that the 80% reduction of electricity, as well as the 15-fold surge in wholesale prices of electricity and natural gas, since 2021, has imposed significant challenges for Europe’s energy crisis.
Spain has been constantly expanding its establishment of solar power in recent years. Iberdrola, the second largest power company of the country, has been implementing large-scale renewable energy projects by having initiated the 500MW Núñez de Balboa solar plant at the north in 2020, where 1.43 million pieces of solar panels were installed at a 2,470-acre land that roughly occupies 1/5 of Manhattan’s surface area. The company is also scheduled to commence operation for its Francisco Pizarro plant this year that has an even greater capacity at 590MW.
Spain generated nearly 47% of its electricity from renewable energy last year, with solar power occupying 14%. Nonetheless, “establishing an ultra-large solar plant in Spain to supply power for the entire Europe” is merely a concept, since it is quite impossible in seizing a large area of land simply to achieve the purpose. With that being said, Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain, had responded to Musk in April by saying that the country is currently implementing the most ambitious, efficient, and sustainable energy system project, and welcomes Spanish investors at the same time.
Tesla has its own affiliated solar energy storage business. After acquiring solar company SolarCity in 2016, Tesla had started production and sales of solar and battery energy storage products, as well as related products and services, in servicing residential, commercial, and industrial clients. Toni Sacconaghi, analyst at Bernstein, estimates Tesla’s energy storage business to climb to US$47 billion by 2030.
(Cover photo source: Flickr/Bureau of Land Management CC BY 2.0)