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Many Europen nations have a surplus of electricity generating capacity. A cable laid across the Straits of Gibralter would enable electricity to be transmitted & sold to African nations which were connected up to a common electricity grid. The funding for such a cable (and the transmission grid) could come from a European sponsored 'Marshall Aid' type plan for Africa. This would further economic development in Africa and ease immigration pressures on Europe simultaneously. A classic win-win situation for all!

Reward: Prosperity in Africa, stability in Europe.
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By Michael D. Grissom
Wouldn't the initial expense and natural electrical losses of such a long cable make it relatively impractical considering the resources available for creating power within Africa itself. Also, would electrical power really enhance a life style that they have lived for thousands of years? I'm not so sure how WE are living is better than how THEY are living. I ask these questions because I haven't a clue to the answers -- just very curious about things like this. For all I know, THEY might be thinking that WE should stop destroying the worlds natural resources by turning off all our electricity and going back to living with nature like THEY do. hmmmmm... Internet surfing or volcano dancing.... decisions decisions. :~(
By midoh
Well,if you think about it ,if western europeans reduced their level of electricity consumption & lived a more frugal lifestyle there would be even more surplus electricity to sell to Africa! Egypt does indeed have electricity generating resources of it's own( the Aswan High Dam),however I think (i.e. am not 100% sure) that virtually all of this is consumed within Egypt itself.Within Europe it's common for countries to sell on surplus electricity during off-peak hours.For example France sells it's surplus to Italy and other countris have similar arrangements(e.g. U.K & Rep. of Ireland).Power stations are more economical to run on a 24/7 basis and at times of sluggish demand in a country's domestic market it is very convenient if the surplus electricty can be sold on to a 3rd party.This arrangement means that power stations can be operated at thei maximum efficiency(think of how much gas your car consumes at low speeds versus conumption at cruise speed).I am not an electrical engineer so I can't give a definitive answer on Power losses/kilometer but I imagine it wouldn't be too much different for overhead transmission of electricity.Overall I believe it's a WIN-WIN for everyone invoved!
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By Steve
I always read SELL. 8-o Selling "Western" products to the "Third World" has always been among the prime roots of exploitation, and electricity wouldn't be an exception. If it's really a 'Marshall Aid' type plan and not just a way to gain even more profits from spare resources, the electricity would have to be provided AND delivered to the doorstep for free.

I'm no engineering expert, but from the discussion going on in my home country I know that building (and maintaining!!) a high capacity power grid is extremely expensive. And if the Western countries would really care about Africa so much to provide such an enourmous amount of money (wish they would - unfortunately they don't) I would wonder if such a gigantic project would be the best way to invest it.

I also agree with Mike's thoughts that electricity might not be among the things most needed in "Africa" (whichever region of this huge continent we're talking about here) - although as far as I know the actual situation in most regions is far less romantic. In fact, help turning some rural areas into what he described ("living with nature") would seem like something worth supporting.

I have no idea about natural electricity losses, but if such a cable makes sense at all, it could be useful to power some local project in Maroc. Beyond that, it might make more sense to stick a few solar panels into the desert. The technological expertise gained through such a project could then be used back in Europe as well. :-?
By midoh
your point about exploitation of Africans-thinly disgused as trade, is a fair one.But at the end ,you mentioned the use of Solar arrays in Africa. The semi-conductor material B-) B-) used is ,as far as I know, manufactured in state-of-the-art high-tech facilities (Vacumn thin-film seposition etc.) that one finds in Silicon-Valley,U.S.A.
Would the companies that manufacture this material, be willing to donate it free?I have my doubts about that.Ideally what would be best,would be if Africans acquired the expertise & equipment to manufacture Solar Arrays themselves.But then,this would mean they'd have to use-Electricity & probably lots of it,to mass produce these solar arrays.CATCH -22!
Of course it's a matter for African nations/people themselves to decide what kind of lifestyle they wish to live or pursue and I personally would not have it any other way!!-Midoh
By midoh
If the idea of bringing electricity to Africa via undersea cable seems totally off-the-wall, you might be interested to read a snippet of Monday's Irish Independent Newspaper(Dec 15th). You see, guys & gals, I'm not totally crazy!!! ;-7 ;-7

p.s. Merry Christmas everyone!

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By Steve
Well I guess the difference is that if that tunnel is ever built, it won't be used to supply the Maroccans with free cars. ;-)

Merry Xmas as well! ;-D
By Rishi
There is nothing theoretically wrong with cables to carry electricity. The problem is likely tobe that transmission losses of AC underwater is likely to be many times that in air. This is due to the difference in dielectric properties of the two media. However the good old Ohm's Law will make itself felt as the primery loss of power.

If ambient temperature super conductors become commercially feasible there is a chance for the idea.

People always think of photo-voltaics when thinking of solar electricity. There is a lower cost, available technology(Sort of low brow, non-silicon valley one) that produces steam, which can rn conventional turbines. This can be an aid activity, which will generate local employment as well. Maintenance will also be available locally(Or people can be trained)


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