DESTERTEC s a global civil society initiative aiming to shape a sustainable future. It is a non-profit foundation that grew out of a network of scientists, politicians and economists, who together developed the DESERTEC Concept. All kinds of renewables will be used in the DESERTEC Concept, but the sun-rich deserts of the world play a special role: within six hours, deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankind consumes within a year. Thanks to heat storage tanks, concentrating solar-thermal power plants in deserts can supply electricity on demand day and night. This makes them an ideal complement to fluctuating energy sources such as wind and photovoltaic power and allows a higher percentage of these variable energy sources to be used in the future electricity mix.
Desertec is a half-a-trillion-dollar renewable energy project planned for Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. We’ve written about it several times over the years. If built, it is projected to produce 15-20% of Europe’s electricity by 2050, as well as providing the Middle East and North African (MENA) region with a good deal of its electricity.
DESTERTEC got the backing of over a dozen major companies and institutions (including: Munich Re, Enel, Abengoa Solar, Deutsche Bank, RWE, Saint-Gobain, E.ON, HSH Nordbank, ABB, Siemens, Flagsol, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, PWC, Flabeg, Jungmut Communication, Skies & Meadows, Nissen Consulting, EBL, Heidelberg Innovation, Nur Energie, M & W Group, MGM Consulting Partners, Red Electrica, and the Desertec Foundation) and it has been moving forward steadily. Now, it’s been announced that construction of its first power plant — a 500-megawatt, €2-billion ($2.8-billion) concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Morocco — is going to start in 2012.
The first phase of the 500-megawatt project is a 150-megawatt, 12-square-kilometer solar facility that will cost about €600 million ($822 million) and will take 2-4 years to complete.