Solar power from the Sahara
The Desertec project is aiming to supply 15% of Europe’s power by 2050, by developing concentrating solar power (C.S.P.) systems within the Sahara Desert and transmitting the electricity to Europe via a super grid of high-voltage direct current cables. The concept was initially developed by the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation and the Club of Rome. Desertec’s founders said that more energy falls on the world’s deserts in six hours than the world consumes in a year.
The Desertec Industrial Initiative was officially launched in July 2009 by twelve European companies in Munich, including Munich Re, Siemens, Deutsche Bank and the energy company E.On, and has recently been joined by companies from Morocco and Tunisia. The project is estimated to cost about € 400 billion. The project could create 240,000 German jobs and generate €2 trillion worth of electricity by 2050. The exact plan, including technical and financial requirements, will be designed by 2012.
Supporters say that the project will keep Europe "at the forefront of the fight against climate change and help North African and European economies to grow within greenhouse gas emission limits". Morocco is currently the leading candidate as the site for initial projects, as the country is already connected to Spain via a sub-sea electricity cable. The Desertec concept is also being considered for the Thar desert in Rajasthan, India, where it has the potential to generate enough peak solar power to power all of South Asia.
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