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Clean Power desertec map

Published on November 1st, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


Desertec (HUGE Solar & Clean Energy Project) Moving Forward

November 1st, 2011 by  

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

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • 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


      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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