Solar

Desertec Initiative Agreed

A Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII) has been signed by a dozen major industrial players with the objective of developing the technical, economic, political, social and ecological framework for carbon-free power generation in the deserts of North Africa.

Founder companies of the DII, whose regional focus is on Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), are: ABB, Abengoa Solar, Cevital, Deutsche Bank, E.ON, HSH Nordbank, MAN Solar Millennium, Munich Re, M+W Zander, RWE, Schott Solar, and Siemens. 

They intend to establish a planning entity whose shareholders will include the Desertec Foundation and whose main goals are the drafting of concrete business plans and associated financing concepts, and the initiating of industrial preparations for building a large number of networked solar thermal power plants distributed throughout the MENA region. The aim is to produce sufficient power to meet around 15% of Europe’s electricity requirements and a substantial portion of the power needs of the producer countries. All of the DII’s activities will be aimed at developing viable investment plans within three years of its establishment, due by 31 October 2009.

Caio Koch-Weser, vice chairman of Deutsche Bank commented: “We are pleased to participate in the Desertec Industrial Initiative and explore with our partners the feasibility of this trailblazing project. The Initiative shows in what dimensions and on what scale we must think if we are to master the challenges from climate change both in ecological and economic terms.” 

Dr Hervé Touati, managing director of E.ON Climate & Renewables added: “E.ON is convinced that the future belongs to solar technology in the long term. We share the Desertec vision of exploiting the sun’s energy on a grand scale to supply power to Europe and the African countries.” 

A study by the German Aerospace Centre reportedly estimated the total cost of the project at €395 billion.