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EU-Africa solar project gets corporate backing


A plan to build a large network of solar thermal power plants in North Africa supplying Europe with renewable energy was given a boost on Monday after 12 firms agreed to participate in the project.

The €397bn Desertec project is expected to provide up to 15% of Europe's electricity requirements by 2050. The network could also supply the North Africa and Middle East regions with electricity. The companies signing up to the project include Siemens, Munich Re, Deutsche Bank, E.ON and ABB.

Investing in renewable energy projects in North Africa is a priority for the EU. The European Commission announced a plan to build a Mediterranean energy network linking Europe to solar plans in North Africa as part of its second strategic energy review (EE 13/11/08).

Solar projects are also a priority for the Mediterranean Union. Last week, the commission announced it will invest €5m during 2009-10 in a solar plan for the region (EE 10/07/09). The plan, proposed by France and Germany, is one of six Euro-Mediterranean Partnership projects.

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