Battle of the big boys - for our planet?

Although CCETv’s focus is very much helping keep our audience comfortable; using clean energy and saving money, we do feature all forms of sustainability to our concerned audience, so they know what is going on in the world to help our planet. It has often been reported that enough energy falls on the Sahara in a day to satisfy all the energy needs for Western Europe for a year, yet extraordinarily little is ever done about this truism. Instead of looking to the sky for unlimited energy more often the drilling for the limited carbon rich fossil fuel is the norm, yet now with the cheapness of renewable energy created by wind and solar, there could be a change, with countries who have this massive energy source in their boundaries being instrumental in saving carbon?

By NASA - Cropped from Image:Africa satellite plane.jpg., Public Domain,

Anyone who has been to the Sahara will know the sun is relentless, as is the wind. This massive area is a major contributor to the whole world weather system. It is the heat from the desert that crosses the Atlantic picking up water that produces the hurricanes in the Caribbean and then moves across the world again as the Gulf Stream to Europe. The energy of this whole weather system is phenomenal. If just a small part of it was used well, it could help keep the planet healthy.

Imagine if say Mauritania on the west coast of Africa with over a million square kilometres of the Sahara became a clean energy production source, with wind turbines and solar panels, even in the future graphene nets to capture the power of the sun. Mauritania is already ranked second in the index of geopolitical gains and losses for energy transition (GeGaLo Index), making it potentially one of the main winners in the global transition to renewable energy because the Abu Dhabi government, via Mabadala Investment Company with its pilot green city Masdar, has installed new solar plants suppling an additional 16.6 megawatts of electricity, these plants power about 39,000 homes and save 27,850 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

By L'Américain - Own work, Public Domain,

As Mauritania is on the Atlantic coast – only a fifth further from the UK than the Canary Islands – transporting this energy to Europe could be easy, yet how? If they have thought of it this, it could be why a Japanese company has become a massive trophy for the “Big Boys” of world-wide investment.

Recently Toshiba was a company known only by the business and political problems it was experiencing but in April 2018 Nobuaki Kurumatani a board member of CVC – the massive

international investment house with $117.8 billion of assets under management (AUM),– was made the CEO to sort out the problems. Then in April Kurumatani’s, old company made a $40 billion takeover for the company in conjunction with Bain Capital who has $120 billion AUM. This obviously alerted CVC’s peers in the investment industry of potential rich pickings so now KKR with $233.8 billion of AUM and Apollo with $450 billion AUM and Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management with $600 billion AUM are considering being involved in offers, leading to Nobuaki Kurumatani having to step down.

Japanese Prime Minister tours Toshiba’s FH2R facility in March 2020

内閣官房内閣広報室, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

What has this to do with sustainability and Mauritanian? The answer could possibly be in Toshiba’s expertise in energy storage and production of green hydrogen. Yet one of the leaders in green hydrogen production is Dutch company Nouryon which in October 2018 the Carlyle Group - $246 billion AUM – bought. Are the investment houses are now trying to out “green” each other to attract pension funds monies? It looks like the tweed and anorak of sustainers are being superseded by the rakish dresser and the Sea Island cotton shirt. Let us hope these investment houses use their muscle and creativity for the long-term future of the planet, by using their imagination for a place like Mauritania to become the powerhouse for the world and even more.

More? As the massive energy source of the Sahara being harnessed could also create a harvest, literally. The production of green hydrogen and ammonia the - another way of transporting hydrogen - uses massive amounts of energy that can be used to desalinate the sea water, if this could be used on the desert as was done in Kufra, Libya, it could produce food and employment underneath the solar panels.

I filmed the imaginative Kufra, when it looked like the Sahara could once more be green. These satellite pictures show how, as each segment of a hexagonal was in fact 25 hectares (62 acres) that grew, salads, fruit trees and wheat.

These investment houses could make the crescent on the Mauritanian flag turn into a “smile” for: the country, the energy for the planet, agriculture and sustainability. All of which we at CCETv would applaud and help; as would the rest of the world especially because CVC, Bain Capital, KKR, Apollo, Brookfield Asset Management and Carlyle Group are often using our pension funds for our future.

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