The business case for a Desertec Reference Project, prepared by Dii and the Moroccan Solar Agency Masen, has been extensively discussed for the past two years with Spanish companies.
Government representatives from Morocco, France, Italy, Malta and Luxembourg have signed a memorandum of understanding with Germany for a first Desertec cooperation project between EU member states and Morocco. The agreement, however, has been postponed due to the absence of Spain.
The business case for a Desertec Reference Project, prepared by Dii and the Moroccan Solar Agency Masen, has been extensively discussed for the past two years with Spanish companies, the TSO Red Electrica and the European Commission, and declared feasible. It has investors, and initial subsidies are available.
Dii CEO Paul van Son says he’s confident that the other partners will convince spain to sign the MOU, and says his company continues to work on projects as planned. These include a first project in Morocco started by RWE, which comprises 100MW PV and wind power and 150MW of concentrated solar power (CSP).
The company says it’s also stepping up work on further projects in Algeria and Tunisia, where Dii says it has planned projects of about 2GW.
Italy supports this plan as a strategic partner. Plans for a grid connection to the Italian electricity grid are currently being discussed.
The counties signed the MOU at a conference in Berlin.
Almost one year ago, a broad majority in the German Bundestag passed the package of legislation that initiated the start of the German energy transition. In particular, the rapid development of electricity grids and an affordable expansion of renewable energies are two areas of action that are currently being vigorously debated in German politics.
“An isolated energy transition just in Germany will not function,” Dii Managing Director Aglaia Wieland said.
This summer, Dii published its study “Desert Power 2050,” which says the rapid and large-scale expansion of renewable energies functions best when a power system is developed that is as large as possible. “We call that the giant energy transition,” says Wieland, “since in the end there is a similar discussion at the international level. Regardless whether wind energy from Schleswig Holstein is transported via electricity highways to Bavaria or whether North Africa transports solar and wind energy to Central Europe using the same grid connection, the interests of all stakeholders must be taken into account.”
The report says that if the European, North African and Middle Eastern regions work together, the transition to wind and solar energy can be achieved on a considerably more cost effective basis than if each country were to develop its own wind and solar capacities individually. This is because electricity can then be generated at the most suitable locations and fed via a transmission network to the largest consumption centers.
In addition, the supply and demand for electricity from renewable energies complement each other across all seasons. This will allow the natural fluctuations in solar and wind energy to be effectively balanced out.