400 Billion Euros for the Mediterranean Energy Network

With unlimited natural resources and growing interest from Europe’sbiggest businesses, the Desertec plan for cultivating African andMiddle Eastern solar power is gaining steam.

Steam’s thething, as it turns out, that will bring concentrating solar power fromdesert-based trough-shaped collectors that heat water, which turnsturbines, which then feed to long high-voltage direct current (HVDC)lines across the Mediterranean.

The goal is to bring a majorenergy option to top European energy consumers while stimulatingeconomic growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Desertec map
MENA solar resources could, according to the European Commission,fulfill all of Europe’s electricity needs with just 0.3% of the sunnyregion’s annual solar radiation.
And by focusing onconcentrating solar power (CSP), which is already in use in U.S. stateslike California and Nevada, Desertec would not be reinventing thewheel, or the panel.

The question of utmost importance, with the world of renewable energy finance still reeling from the credit crunch, is where the money will come from to finance such a massive project…

To that end, international commercial mammoths like Siemens (NYSE:SI)and E.ON (OTC:EONGY) are leading a German consortium that can makeDesertec a reality.

For them it’s a matter of business sense,getting the jump on other European and global power players whilepleasing European governments and the European Commission, all of whichare eager for an alternative to Russian natural gas. Not only solar butwind, biomass, and geothermal will all be part of Desertec’sTrans-Mediterranean energy mix.

In July, we’ll see the firstconcrete steps by 20 top German companies to get the 400 billion-euro($561 billion) project up and running. A meeting is set for July 13 inMunich.

You can read more about Desertec’s geographic and political basis here on our sister site, Energy and Capital.

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