DESERTEC, the largest solar power project in the world, intends to implement concentrating solar power, photovoltaic systems and wind turbines in the Sahara Desert.

The consortium Dii GmbH was formed by a group of European and North African companies and the Desertec Foundation and it is charged with creating the technical plan and launching the project through contracts that will bring it to life.

The non-profit DESERTEC Foundation was founded in early 2009. It has its roots in a network of scientists from Europe, Middle East and North Africa (EU-MENA) who had developed the DESERTEC Concept and published several studies in 2004 to 2007 proving the feasibility of the DESERTEC vision. In order to accelerate the realization of DESERTEC in EU-MENA the DESERTEC Foundation and Munich Re jointly pushed the launch of an industry initiative, which was founded in October 2009 as Dii GmbH. DESERTEC Foundation is the only non-profit shareholder of Dii.

Being one of the world’s leading risk carriers, Munich Re AG has been analysing the impact of climate change for decades, as it affects a key part of the company’s core business. Rather than just being a warning voice, the German-based company is actively devising solutions to address emerging and changing risks. Thus, it was a logical step for Munich Re to adopt the Desertec Foundation’s vision and promote the establishment of the Dii. If the Desertec vision is turned into reality after completion of the planning phase at the end of 2012, Munich Re intends to be involved either as a risk carrier or as an investor.

ABB, a leader in power and automation technologies, has been supporting the Desertec vision right from the beginning. Headquartered in Zurich/Switzerland, ABB invented HVDC transmission, the key technology for transmitting power over long distances at very low loss. The company also supplies power and automation systems in the field of solar energy, e.g., process control technology for large solar power plants. The ABB technologies for the Desertec project have been tested and are available today.

Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt/Germany is one of the thirteen founding shareholders of Dii. The company recognizes its responsibility as part of the global society to fight against climate change. The support of the Dii is a key element of the banks’ climate strategy. Furthermore, Deutsche Bank has a vast experience in handling and financing complex infrastructure projects and acts as a leading advisor for such large-scale ventures.

Enel Green Power is the Group company of Italian based Enel Group, dedicated to renewable energy and is one of the global leaders in this industry. Enel Green Power will contribute a whole set of development ideas and technological experiences to the DII initiative. The company will make its expertise and experience in the field of all major renewable energies available, including solar PV, solar CSP, wind, hydropower as well as geothermal energy. In addition, very advanced technological solutions are under development, such as the solar thermodynamic power plant "Archimede" in Sicily.

E.ON AG headquartered in Düsseldorf/Germany shares the vision of exploiting the sun’s energy on a grand scale to supply power to Europe and the African countries. As an integrated group, E.ON has long standing relations in the MENA region, as well as expertise in all aspects of DESERTEC and Dii, meaning power plants, grids, finance issues, as well as the political and regulatory framework. Apart from this, E.ON is constantly expanding its involvement in solar power, especially in the field of solar thermal power plants.

With a track record of more than 20 years, HSH Nordbank AG is a financing partner for renewable energies and is among the leading financers of wind and solar projects in Europe. With its participation at Dii, HSH Nordbank which is located in Hamburg/Germany intends to further improve its sector know-how, which gives the company better risk assessments in renewable energy projects. Within Dii, HSH Nordbank covers the expertise of the financial sector, in particular the whole range of financial aspects of renewable energy projects and markets.

M+W Group, headquartered in Stuttgart/Germany has supported and sponsored Desertec since 2007 and has consequently joined the Dii as a co-founder and shareholder to further enable the roll-out of the concept. As a global engineering company without own cell or module manufacturing, M+W Group is independent and perfectly suited for providing concepts and budget estimates for PV and CSP plants. Beyond that the company provides valuable inputs what kind of PV modules can be used under extreme desert conditions.

The Spanish RED ELÉCTRICA DE ESPAÑA (REE) believes that renewable energy will contribute very positively to the fight against climate change. The idea supported by Dii is in line with this principle. REE is the geo-strategic bridge between Africa and Europe, as it currently operates the only active electrical connection between the two continents between Morocco and Spain through the Strait of Gibraltar. Thus, REE has vast experience in the development, operation and maintenance of transmission systems.

To RWE AG, one of the largest electricity providers in Europe, the Dii is an outstanding project that offers the opportunity to create a major part of the future energy supply in North African countries and even the export of energy to Europe. The company’s contribution to Dii lies in its experience in the operation of power grids. RWE, which has its headquarters in Essen/Germany believes that renewable energy has to be produced where the technology can be applied best and most efficiently. Thus, CSP is the supreme technology to be applied in desert regions.

Abengoa Solar is a developer of cutting-edge solar technologies that promote industrial-scale CSP and PV projects around the globe. Based in Spain and the US, Abengoa Solar also acts as an independent power producer of solar electric energy. As a technology leader with a strong market position in Southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East, the company sees Dii as a key enabler in making solar a mainstream source of sustainable energy for Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. The company is a technology provider and project developer with a long track record in the region. It has built CSP plants in Morocco and Algeria, and is currently constructing a 100 MW plant in Abu Dhabi. Until 2014 Abengoa Solar will construct a total of 13 CSP power plants in Spain. In addition, Abengoa Solar has won a federal loan guarantee by the US government to build a 250MW solar power plant in Arizona. The company looks to Dii to advance cost-efficient solar power in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East by promoting the regulatory and economic framework this technology needs. Over the coming years, Dii will demonstrate, through a series of reference projects, the technological, economic, and political viability of the Desertech vision.

CevitalSPA is a major Algerian industrial conglomerate headquartered in Béjaïa and active in different industries (agro business, food, construction, glass, etc.). For Cevital, the Desertec concept is a visionary project will help develop the MENA region by combining the economic aspects (job creation, income from exporting green energy, etc.) and environmental issues, such as reduction of greenhouse gases. Being a founding member of Dii, the company through its strong financial and management capabilities seeks to develop the manufacture of components and equipment for renewable energy facilities via joint ventures and thus increase the level of local content. Regarding the future development of the Desertec idea, Cevital expects a strong signal from the EU countries, e.g., an access to the European renewable energy market under similar conditions used for their local suppliers.

Nareva Holding is a full-scale daugther of the ONA group, a leading private industrial and financial Moroccan enterprise. Founded in January 2005, Nareva Holding specializes in energy and the environment, with its interests in the companies ADI, Amensouss and Amitech. The strategic objective of Nareva Holding is to become leading player in Morocco and the region with its focus on the production of electricity using renewable energy (wind, water) or fossil fuels (coal, natural gas), irrigation, and industry outsourcing. To support its vision of being operator in the field of water, Nareva joined the international group Amiantit for the creation of the industrial unit Amitech Morocco.

With the Dii project SCHOTT Solar AG tries to show that it is possible to use solar power in a profitable and environmentally friendly way with existing technology. SCHOTT also believes it is important to support sustainable electrical power supply for Europe and give development opportunity to nations of North Africa. SCHOTT Solar fulfils its part of the project in bringing in their technological know-how. The company is market leader in terms of receivers for CSP plants with parabolic trough technology.

Based in Paris La Défense/France, Saint Gobain Solar is the division of the Saint-Gobain Group dedicated to solar energy. The company is active both in photovoltaic (glass, plastics, CIGS modules, solar tiles, systems) and CSP (mirrors, ceramics, bearings) technologies. It believes in the concept to produce solar electricity where the solar resource is the most abundant – i.e., in the MENA region – and to use this electricity both locally and in Europe. Saint-Gobain Solar thinks that an association of large companies including key industrial players and stakeholders can help to make this happen. The company has a wide range of products for both CSP and photovoltaic technologies. Within Dii, it is particularly well placed to evaluate the various technologies to generate solar electricity in the desert.

Along with other initiatives like the MSP (Mediterranean Solar Plan) or the MedGrid project, the company believes multiple GW ‘s of renewable energy – in particular of solar capacity – can be installed and contribute to a significant extent to the energy mix of both MENA and Europe.

Siemens AG is very much committed to sustainability. Complementing the use of local renewables in Europe, the utilization of resources in the MENA region to increase the share of renewables in electricity supply is the main task of the Dii. Based in Munich, Germany, Siemens is a key technology partner for this visionary project. The company is market leader in steam turbines for solar thermal power plants and offers the complete power block. With the integration of Solel, Siemens has competencies in the planning and construction of complete solar fields and in the development and production of solar receivers. Siemens is worldwide one of the leading vendors of wind turbines and grid extension technology. Furthermore, the company is world leader in HVDC (high voltage direct current) transmission technology, which is needed for low-loss long-distance electricity transmission on large scale. Dii’s work will focus on the boundary conditions necessary for a successful implementation of the concept. Siemens AG would like to realize the first reference project e.g., in Morocco where the company is already discussing the first ideas.

Flagsol, the technology company in the Solar Millennium Group, is a founding signatory and shareholder of Dii. As a CSP pioneer with the experience of the development and construction of parabolic trough power plants in Europe, the company brings expertise to help develop a technical, economic, political and regulatory framework for feasible investments into renewable energy and interconnected grids in the MENA region. The Solar Millennium Group has realized Egypt’s first solar field of a hybrid power plant together with an Egyptian partner, which is an example of the feasibility of the Desertec concept.

Terna S.p.A which is headquartered in Rome, is a leading energy transmission grid operator in Italy. The company is the primary owner of the national high voltage electricity transmission grid, with over 62,000 km of HV lines throughout the Italian territory. Terna fully shares the mission and goals of the Dii and has always evaluated the opening of new markets through developing electricity interconnections and transferring know how between Europe and the southern Mediterranean area. The company can contribute knowledge about the integration of renewable energy into electric grids and profits from its geographical location in Italy with the proximity to Tunisia.