I read an article today about people running hydroponic farms in small spaces, the kind of spaces you might find in a crowded city. The key is to use LED lights and make the farms highly vertical, so you get a lot of plant growth in a relatively small footprint.
The LEDs are only 50% efficient in their use of electricity — the other half turns into heat. So in some ways it’s a bit energy wasteful, and the electrical bill is usually quite steep.
But it occurred to me that if we look at this from a more global perspective, it might make sense to link solar power in one part of the world to electric hydroponic farming in another part of the world. Why not harvest solar energy in equatorial deserts, where it can be done efficiently, and then pipe the resulting electricity away from the equator?
You could then have electric hydroponic farms in more frigid climates. The people in those climates would then be able to get freshly grown food, right from their own neighborhood.
Also, 50% of the piped electrical power that dissipates into heat could also be harvested. In particular, it could be used to heat peoples’ homes.
Wouldn’t this solve two problems at once?