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Published on November 1st, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan

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Desertec (HUGE Solar & Clean Energy Project) Moving Forward



If you haven’t heard of Desertec yet, it’s about time you did. Desertec is a half-a-trillion-dollar renewable energy project (yes, I said trillion) planned for Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. We’ve written about it several times over the years. If built, it is projected to produce 15-20% of Europe’s electricity by 2050, as well as providing the Middle East and North African (MENA) region with a good deal of its electricity.

desertec map

While many have been skeptical of this giant renewable energy project, it’s got the backing of over a dozen major companies and institutions (including: Munich Re, Enel, Abengoa Solar, Deutsche Bank, RWE, Saint-Gobain, E.ON, HSH Nordbank, ABB, Siemens, Flagsol, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, PWC, Flabeg, Jungmut Communication, Skies & Meadows, Nissen Consulting, EBL, Heidelberg Innovation, Nur Energie, M & W Group, MGM Consulting Partners, Red Electrica, and the Desertec Foundation) and it has been moving forward steadily. Now, it’s been announced that construction of its first power plant — a 500-megawatt, €2-billion ($2.8-billion) concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Morocco — is going to start in 2012.

The first phase of the 500-megawatt project is a 150-megawatt, 12-square-kilometer solar facility that will cost about €600 million ($822 million) and will take 2-4 years to complete.

Those behind the Desertec Industrial Initiative (its full name) point out that deserts receive enough solar energy in 6 hours to power the world for a year. Seriously. Nothing compares to the potential of solar energy, as I’ve pointed out a few times before. And, of course, much of that potential is in sunny deserts.

Image via DESERTEC

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • NicholB

    The deserts of the world are rather large .. but they are not completely discardable useless land without any natural value. I’m sure all oceans absorb as much energy in a much shorter time. The notion 6 hours of desertsun to power the whole world is just a nice slogan, but not really a good or convincing argument. Let’s first start by covering all roofs with solar panels.

    Also: for Europe it is quite obvious that the first logical steps are to start with solar energy in Spain, Italy, Greece, before North Africa.

    The value of Desertec is the long term vision, and its potential to be a unifying and profitable factor for countries around the mediterranean. Whatever will be built in North Africa will first be for local use, but the vision of eventually connecting North Africa to the European grid makes obvious sense.

  • Pingback: Morocco in the News – November 3, 2011 « MoroccoTomorrow

  • euroflycars

    Getting Gaddafi out of Europe’s way to solar energy from the Sahara was NATO’s war target in Libya — not the oil, as many believe. And knowing that Lockerbie was not a bombing, but an accident, indicates that the official stories about Lockerbie and the Libyan war are just covering-up the cruel odds and ends of the deal…

    What motivated the USA to financially contribute over three times more to this war than France? My guess is that once retired from Irak and Afghanistan, the 600-billion-dollar-a-year US war-machine will need a new job in the region — which could consist in protecting hundreds of square kilometres of Desertec’s CSP mirors against potential destruction by neighbouring oil nations…

    1st WW for oil, 2nd WW still for oil, 3rd WW for solar energy?

    The war against Libya was indeed like a virtual 3rd World War, since it has destroyed Gaddafis dream of a future world of mass civilization — a purposeful vision he describes in his green book, yet which was bound to end up in jeopardy through an obsession of revenge that got him all the way down and out into torture-addiction!

    Those who have read his green book will understand…

    • Anonymous

      Wow!

      I don’t find a single thing you say credible.

    • wahlink

      That’s some great fiction there. Are you writing an alternate reality movie on this by any chance?

    • JAH natural

      Actually, the reason behind taking out Gaddafi was because he wanted to lead Africa back to the gold dinar, a move that would have threatened the fiat currencies of the world. Libya had more than $81 billion in gold before the attacks. Meanwhile, 3 weeks into the ‘rebel’ uprising, they demanded Libya form a central bank. It was the first time in history the rebellion demanded such a thing.

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