Libya Could Generate More Energy From The Sun Than Oil

Libya holds the largest proven oil reserves in Africa – and also has massive solar energy resources.
The Libyan economy is heavily dependent upon revenues from the oil sector, which makes up 80% of GDP and 97% of exports; but the troubled nation could also be making buckets of money from the sun – an energy resource that won’t run out.
The country has an average daily solar radiation rate ranging from 7.1 kilowatt hours per square metre per day (kWh/m²/day) to 8.1kWh/m²/day; more than Central Australia, which experiences 5.89 kWh/m2/day.
According to research by Nottingham Trent University, Libya could generate approximately five times the amount of energy from solar power than it currently produces in crude oil.
The researchers state if Libya utilised just 0.1% of its landmass to harness solar power, it could produce the equivalent to almost seven million barrels of crude oil per day in energy. Currently, Libya produces about 1.41 million barrels of crude oil per day.
“Although Libya is rich in renewable energy resources, it is in urgent need of a more comprehensive energy strategy,” says the study’s lead researcher Dr Amin Al-Habaibeh. “It is difficult to break the dependency on oil and natural gas, not just in terms of the country’s demand for it, but also in terms of the revenues that it generates.”
In addition to solar resources, the country could benefit from harnessing wind energy as well according to Dr. Al-Habaibeh.
“If Libya could harness only a tiny fraction of the renewable energy resources it has available in the form of solar and wind power, not only could it meet its own demands for energy, but also a significant part of the world’s demands by exporting electricity.”
The study’s supervisor, Dr Hafez Abdo, says the  study can be applied to other countries and act as a stepping stone find a sufficient solution to the world’s energy security and climate change challenges.
The study, titled “An investigation into the current utilisation and prospective of renewable energy resources and technologies in Libya” can be viewed in full here (PDF)
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