Alleviating freshwater shortages with combined desert-based large-scale renewable energy and coastal desalination plants supported by Global Energy Interconnection. Global Energy Interconnection
Zhang H, Xie Y (2019) Alleviating freshwater shortages with combined desert-based large-scale renewable energy and coastal desalination plants supported by Global Energy Interconnection. Global Energy Interconnection. 2(3): 205-213
Institution：1.Key Strategy and Technology Research Institute of Global Energy Interconnection (Shandong University), No.17923 Jingshi Road, Lixia District, Jinan 250061, P.R. China
Acknowledgements：This work was supported by the State Grid GEIGC Sci- ence and Technology Project (No. GEIGC-S-068, Title: Research on the impact of Global Energy Intercon- nection on energy transformation and energy center transfer and countermeasures program).
received his bachelor degree from Shandong University of Technology, in 1998, and his master and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Shandong University, in 2000 and 2003, respectively. He is now working as a professor with the Key Laboratory of Power System Intelligent Dispatch and Control of the Ministry of Education (Shandong University), P.R.China. His research interests include power system security and stability assessment, power system monitoring and numerical simulation.
received his bachelor and master degree from Shandong University of Technology, Jinan, China, in 2014 and 2017, respectively. He is now a Ph.D. candidate with the Key Laboratory of Power System Intelligent Dispatch and Control of the Ministry of Education (Shandong University), P. R. China. His research interests include power system security and stability assessment, and power system control.
Alleviating freshwater shortages with combined desert-based large-scale renewable energy and coastal desalination plants supported by Global Energy Interconnection
Under the background of sustainable energy transition and environmental protection, Global Energy Interconnection (GEI), which features an innovative combination of clean energy (e.g., solar power) and ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission technologies, provides a means to realize global climate governance. China is a large country with unevenly distributed water resources, energy production, and energy consumption, and the large areas of desert in northern and western China have the potential for installing large-scale solar power plants. This study analyzed the potential of using large-scale solar power from deserts to coastal seawater desalination plants, which could alleviate the freshwater crisis and control desertification in China. First, the measurement data from NASA were used to estimate the potential exploitable amount of solar energy in desert areas. A macro idea was proposed for the transmission of electrical power from inland integrated energy bases to coastal seawater desalination and pumping of freshwater to western China to combat desertification and alleviate the freshwater crisis. Based on this, the electricity demands for desalination and water redistribution were estimated. As a huge interruptible load, desalination and pumping systems could be used to suppress power fluctuations of the integrated energy bases. Finally, the fundamental support roles of UHV grids in large-scale renewable energy allocation and utilization were discussed. This analysis offers a theoretical framework to help realize efficient renewable energy generation and consumption and alleviate freshwater shortage.
Desert, Desalination, Energy crisis, Freshwater, Global Energy Interconnection (GEI), Solar energy, Ultra-high voltage (UHV).
Fig.1 Schematic diagram of the time scales of solar power
Fig.2 Map of the global distribution of deserts (source: NASA)
Fig.3 Map of global water scarcity (source: United Nations World Water Development Report 2016)
Fig.4 Diagram of the proposed freshwater diversion from desalination plants to arid western China
Fig.5 Diagram of the connection of renewable energy bases using an ultra-high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) grid