Agreement signed to investigate North Africa's power generation ability
15 July 2009
A memorandum of understanding has been signed to investigate the energy potential of deserts in North Africa.
The focus of the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII) will be on the viability and ecological framework of generating carbon-free power in this region.
The overall aim is to produce enough power to provide 15 per cent of the electricity requirements in Europe by 2050 via networked solar thermal power plants in North Africa.
Companies involved in the DII, which met in Munich to sign the deal, include E.ON, RWE, Siemens and Deutsche Bank. Up to $555 billion is reported to be earmarked for the project.
Guidelines stated a period of three years would be given to finalise investment plans.
Siemens' chief executive officer of renewable energy Dr Rene Umlauft said the Desertec initiative has the potential to make a "significant contribution" to the supply of sustainable energy.
Dr Frank-Detlef Drake, vice-president of corporate research and development at RWE, described the plan as "a fascinating vision".