The vast expanse of the Sahara desert has since long been seen as an available source of solar energy that can be tapped. However, there isn’t much progress to show on the issue. Now the idea seems closer to reality with a German-led consortium of 12 companies that intends to harness the desert sun to power Europe.
The Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII) includes heavyweights like Siemens, E.ON, ABB, and Deutsche Bank. These, and the other organizations were brought together by an initiative of Munich Re. The plan is to supply 15% of Europe’s electricity by 2050. Energy tapped from the sun in the desert will be transported to Europe through power lines laid across the Sahara and the Mediterranean sea.
It is a huge project, with nearly 400 billion dollars investment, and the DII hopes to put the plan into action quickly, with the possibility of beginning supply by 2015. These solar plants will use Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) to generate energy. CSP has been in use for a long time, but it is the scope of this project that makes it newsworthy. DII says the North African governments have displayed a positive response for the initiative.