Morrocco has been chosen as the first location for a vast solar and windfarm project across North Africa and the Middle East that may well provide 15% of Europe’s electricity by 2050.
The Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII), a coalition of over a dozen major companies including E.ON, Siemens, Munich Re and Deutsche Bank are behind the €400 billion carbon-free project, announced in Cairo last Wednesday that “all systems are go in Morocco.” They will start building the first power plant next year, a 500 megawatt (MW) facility in Morocco costing up to 2 billion euros.
DII’s goal is to analyze how to develop clean energy in the North Africa deserts that could supply up to 15% of Europe’s power demand by 2050. Due to North Africa’s sunlight being much more intense than the sunlight in Europe, solar photovoltaic panels used by the Desertec project could generate up to three times the electricity that similar projects in northern Europe might produce.
The first phase of the project is a 150MW, 12km2 solar facility that will cost about €600 million and will take 2-4 years to complete. Electricity production is planned to begin in 2016 at the latest.