My book: Energy from the Mongolian Gobi desert

I have written a book based on this blog with the title “Energy from the Mongolian Gobi desert”. A PDF-file of the book is attached to this post in the next paragraph. It may be distributed freely under a Creative Commons license.

Lenz, Energy from the Mongolian Gobi Desert

A printed version may be ordered for $10 from Createspace here. Thanks to this excellent post by James Altucher for the pointer to Createspace.

Createspace is owned by Amazon, so the book is available for the same price of $10 also at the Amazon website.

Here is the foreword:

A project at the WTO Center of Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo I am involved in studies the possibility of a Free Trade Agreement between Japan and Mongolia since 2006. A first volume of results was published in 2010.[1] It contains maybe the most comprehensive discussion of Mongolian law in Japanese language to date.[2] I have developed my thoughts on the issue in a paper in Japanese language published in December 2009, [3] and another one published in march 2012.[4]

As a result of being involved in that project, I have been interested in the idea of large-scale renewable energy generation from the Gobi desert since 2006, but have been blogging about that question and related matters rather intensively at Lenz Blog[5] for the last year, after the Fukushima accident got me interested more strongly in energy matters.

With this short book I want to present my thoughts on these proposals in a different format.

For one, individual blog posts are like parts of a puzzle. They don’t show the whole picture. To do that, it is necessary to write in a book format.

Second, and maybe most important, this exercise gives me a great opportunity to go back and comment my own blog posts. In many cases, my opinions may have evolved. Writing in this format gives me a chance to wrap up my position at this particular point in time (spring of 2012).

That is especially true about my position on nuclear power. While I supported nuclear power for a couple of months after the Fukushima accident because I perceived the risks from global warming as more serious than those from radiation, I am now neutral on the question. It doesn’t matter either way for my interest.

I am not interested in writing anything approaching perfection here. There is no time for that. All I want to get is a reasonable whole picture of my thoughts on the matter.

From March 10, 2011 on, work on this matter is coordinated in Japan by the “Japan Renewable Energy Foundation”,[6] which has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Desertec Foundation on that day.[7] As readers for this book I have mostly people in mind who are and will be involved in this effort.

However, I hope this might also be useful and of interest to readers who are generally interested in fighting global warming or in energy policy and have not yet studied the idea of energy from the desert in detail.

When the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation held their international conference “REvision 2012” in Tokyo on March 9and 10, a large part of the manuscript of this book was already drafted. However, that conference gave me a serious boost for my motivation. I understand now that many people, some of them with quite some influence, share my fascination of creating abundant clean energy from the desert.

I want to especially mention Softbank chairman Masayoshi Son, who is also the main force behind the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation. His presentations at the REvision international conference[8] show that this idea is making quite rapid progress.

This is a great source of inspiration and motivation. It also is another great reason to finish this short book very quickly, so as to be able to help in the early stages of the Desertec Asia project. I can always go back and add more stuff or correct errors later on.

One other reason for keeping it short is that I know that the people I am writing for are rather busy. I want anybody who kindly takes interest to be able to finish reading it without investing much time.

[1] Iwata (editor), Mongoru purojekuto (Mongol project), 2010.

[2] Sakurai, Mongoru no chokusetsu toushi (Direct investment in Mongolia), pages 95 to 210 in the book cited above.

[3] Lenz, Sabaku de no tairyou so-ra- hatsuden: EUhou kara mita Mongoru to no FTA (Energy from the desert, FTA with Mongolia from the point of view of EU law),  Aoyama Hougaku Ronshuu Vol.51 no.1/2 pages 101-125, 2009, online at

[4] Lenz, Chikyuu ondanka to sono taisaku – doitsu no saikin enerugi- rippou to “Ajia ban Desertec” ni kan suru Nihon – EU kyouryoku taisei (Global Warming Countermeasures: Recent German Energy Legislation and EU-Japan Cooperation on “Desertec Asia”), Aoyama Hougaku Ronshuu Vol. 53 no. 4, pages 183-212.


[6] See their website at for details.

[7] Desertec Press Release, Asia Super Grid for Renewable Energyies: DESERTEC Foundation signs Memorandum of Understanding, 2012,

[8] Son, Asia Super Grid, (live recording, scroll to 1:11), 2012,

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  1. […] That in turn of course makes it all the more important to discuss effective measures of investment protection. For a large-scale renewable energy project the rules in the Energy Charter come to mind, but I have discussed some other ideas recently in my book “Energy from the Mongolian Gobi desert”. […]

  2. […] Once negotiations on an EPA start, I would recommend including the topic of a “Desert Union” for cooperation in getting the Mongolian Gobi desert renewable energy project up to speed faster, as proposed in my book “Energy from the Mongolian Gobi desert”. […]

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