The huge project to build a $555 billion renewable energy “belt” in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, funded largely by German companies, moved another step forward a few days ago.
The articles of association for the DESERTEC Industrial Initiative (DII) were signed by the joint venture group of 12 companies and the DESERTEC Foundation in Munich on October 30.
Additionally, a CEO for DII was appointed — Paul van Son.
As discussed previously, this project is a landmark, groundbreaking renewable energy project if it goes through. It is expected to produce 15% of Europe’s electricity requirements by 2050. It should also provide the MENA region with a large portion of its electricity needs.
With the articles of association signed and a CEO appointed, this project has moved one important step forward. New CEO van Son says, “Now the time has come to turn this vision into reality. That implies intensive cooperation with many parties and cultures to create a sound basis for feasible investments into renewable energy technologies and interconnected grids. The DII will primarily focus on the economic, technical and regulatory conditions that must be fulfilled for successful project implementation.”
Mr. van Son is a major player in the renewable energy sector in Europe and Africa. He is currently Chairman of the European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET) and of the Energy4All Foundation (active in Africa). He has also held management positions in Deutsche Essent (Germany), Econcern (the Netherlands), and other European renewable energy companies.
Near future plans for the project now are to bring more companies from different countries on board (as shareholders or partners) “to ensure broad-based support from the EUMENA society.”
The massive project looks to be a world-changing achievement that all of the world can look back on as a major historical feat that was once thought impossible but eventually achieved. However, there are still some important questions to answer, regarding social justice, energy security, resource colonialism, solar imperialism, efficiency, and whether or not this is all the good things it is expected to be. The current shareholders — ABB, ABENGOA Solar, Cevital, DESERTEC Foundation, Deutsche Bank, E.ON, HSH Nordbank, MAN Solar Millennium, Munich Re, M+W Zander, RWE, SCHOTT Solar, and Siemens — are looking to make a profit. Is it going to be a clean, green profit, or will it stimulate more inequalities, energy insecurities, and so on?
The pictures above are a bit like a graphic analogy of the project — we have the light of hope but also the dark shadows of remaining questions and the steps yet to be taken.
It seems like a true win-win-win project, but are we being naive?
In either case, it is moving forward.
- Half a Trillion Dollars to Build Huge Desertec Plan?
- Desertec Advances: Massive Solar Power Project No Longer a Mirage?
- $560 BILLION Solar Project — Biggest Ever
- Spanish Solar Company Abengoa to Supply Desertec
Image Credits: Paul Watson, alles-schlumpf, terry 6082 Books
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