A German led initiative envisioned building EUR 400 billion vast networks of solar and winding farms across North Africa and the Middle East to provide 15% of Europe's electricity supply by 2050. Against this backdrop, Morocco has been chosen as the first location for the project.
The Desertec Industrial Initiative, a coalition of companies including E.ON, Siemens, Munich Re and Deutsche Bank announced at its annual conference held in Cairo said that all systems are go in Morocco with construction of the first phase of a 500 MW solar farm scheduled to start next year. The precise location of the EUR 2 billion plants is yet to be finalized but it is expected to be built near the desert city of Ouarzazate. It will use parabolic mirrors to generate heat for conventional steam turbines, as opposed to the photovoltaic cells used in the UK.
Mr Van Son described Desertec as a win win for both Europe and MENA. The Arab spring had created both opportunities and questions for the ambitious project. Discussions are already underway with the Tunisian government about building a solar farm and Algeria is the next obvious country due to its close proximity to Western Europe's grid. Countries such as Libya, Egypt, Turkey, Syria and Saudi Arabia are predicted to start joining the network from 2020.
(Source: Steel Guru)