what would be the best energy source for a town located in the desert?
- minefinderLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
That would depend if its a cold or warm desert, as not all deserts are warm with lots of sunshine. For example, a lot of the arctic region of northern Alaska, Canada and Greenland is a desert because the total rainfall is less than 25 cm, but solar energy would be of limited value due to the low incidence of the sun during the summer, and long hours of darkness in the winter.
Wind energy may be useful depending on the climate. Nuclear and coal work anywhere, and provide firm, predictable power.
- Jenny SLv 51 decade ago
Where the desert area is situated on the globe will have an influence on the most likely energy source, solar. This is most useful where the hours of daylight are long. However, unless you use battery banks to store the excess power, an alternative energy source would be required for evening power supply, or for those days when it's overcast. If the daylight hours are generally small, or overcast conditions are common, then solar power would be of limited use.
Arid zones are frequently windy 24 hours a day. By using wind generators in conjunction with solar energy supply, the need for drawing on batteries, or using another energy source is reduced.
Most remote arid settlements still use diesel generators. Despite the high cost of diesel fuel, it is easy and cheap to transport, and the cost of setting up a reliable, long-lived diesel power plant is relatively little. Biofuels may provide relatively cheaper fuel in future.
Transporting alternative energy producing materials such as coal or wood is very expensive, because of their volume and mass relative to the energy they produce. If, however, coal was plentiful on site, then this would be a viable energy source, providing the water required for generation and cooling was also available (this would be impossible in some deserts).
Nuclear power would be prohibitively expensive to set up for a town.
A logical energy supply is grid power. Most remote settlements in arid Australia are now connected to the national power grid. The reliance of these small communities on their (mainly) diesel power plants has been superceded by cheaper grid power. One small town (White Cliffs) was using solar energy to produce steam which in turn drove a generator. In the evening the generator was fed with steam using oil as the energy source. This was replaced several years ago when the town was connected to the grid. The grid supplies power to this very remote town, and lines are run from the main transmission lines to outlying farming properties.
- NavigatorLv 71 decade ago
Or possibly wind, depending on the local climate.
- My AliasLv 41 decade ago
Solar power, of course.