The Desertec Initiative is a massive solar project that aims to use concentratedsolar power plants in the Moroccan desert to harness the sun’s energy to power Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The large-scale project was announced back in 2007 and we’ve followed its progress closely ever since. Unfortunately, Desertec is facing problems – BBC News recently reported that two big industrial backers (Siemens and Bosch) have pulled out and the Spanish government has delayed signing an agreement to build solar power plants in Morocco.

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If completed, Desertec could provide up to 15% of Europe’s total energy needs. The project’s target was to provide around 125 gigawatts of electric power to the continent by 2050, which would be exported to various countries via high-voltage direct current cables under the Mediterranean sea.

Unfortunately, that deadline doesn’t look like it will be met due to Siemens’ and Bosch’s desertion. Speaking to BBC News, Dr Daniel Ayuk Mbi Egbe, a professor at the University of Linz in Austria said that their absence could spell doom for the project. “Siemens and Bosch are very big companies,” Egbe said, “if they don’t want to support this initiative it is going to be difficult for Desertec.”

But what has caused this sudden lack of faith in the project? According to some, it is the recent political instability in North Africa, but Egbe believes there are other factors.  “The fathers of Desertec say their aim was to exploit North African energy for the European market,” he says, “but what about Africa itself? When you go to many African countries there are constant electricity cuts – if you want to help then you need to think not just about exporting to Europe but about supplying Africa as well.”

It is not known how the recent news will affect the construction of the $2.8 billion, 500-megawatt concentrated solar power plant (CSP) in Morocco.

+ Desertec Industrial Initiative

via BBC News

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