Energy: Deserts and Oceans

The potential for renewable energy from our deserts and seas is huge. Tapping into these resources with current technology on a large scale will lead us to the energy revolution we need.

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Solar power station, Australia.
© Klein & Hubert / WWF

In the desert

World energy consumption could be met by an area smaller than 1% of the world’s deserts ... in theory.
But how do we turn this potential into reality?

Countries around the world are showing growing interest to cover small parts of their deserts with mirrors to catch the
sun’s energy.

Large-scale solar power stations already exist in the US and Spain.

WWF is working with local partners to see these visionary projects supply clean energy to Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and other parts of the world.

Through technology transfer and cooperation, the sustainable development of solar energy in many countries is possible.

At sea

  • Offshore wind energy in shallow waters,
  • Futuristic floating wind turbines,
  • Wave power.
...these are just some of the promising technologies that can tap energy from our seas and oceans.

Indeed, offshore wind power shows the largest potential in the short to medium term.   The United Kingdom has taken the lead on this, with a plan to build a 33GW offshore wind station by 2020.

WWF supports the development of large-scale marine renewable energy projects like this and believes an important part of our future power will come from oceans.

The global conservation organization is working with governments, civil society and the private sector to make renewable energy at sea a reality while respecting the marine environment.
Red metal, jointed tubing moving in the sea waves. / ©: Pelamis Wave Power
The snake-like Pelamis Wave Energy Converter is one of the world's first commercial systems to generate electricity from offshore wave energy.
© Pelamis Wave Power

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