Solar Storm as Desert Plan to Power Europe Falters
An ambitious plan to provide 15% of Europe’s power needs from solar plants in North Africa has run into trouble. The Desertec initiative hoped to deliver electricity from a network of renewable energy sources to Europe via cables under the sea. But in recent weeks, two big industrial backers have pulled out. And the Spanish government has baulked at signing an agreement to build solar power plants in Morocco.
Desertec was set up in 2009 with a projected budget of 400 biilion euros to tap the enormous potential of solar and other renewables in North Africa. The hope was that by 2050, around 125 gigawatts of electric power could be generated. This would meet all the local needs and also allow huge amounts of power to be exported to Europe via high-voltage direct current cables under the Mediterranean sea. But three years later, the project has little to show for its efforts.