SAHARA SUN TO EU IN 2015
EU sees solar power imported from Sahara in 5 yrs
Christian Lowe, June 21, 2010 (Reuters)
"Europe will import its first solar-generated electricity from North Africa within the next five years, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger…
"The European Union is backing projects to turn the plentiful sunlight in the Sahara desert into electricity for power-hungry Europe, a scheme it hopes will help meet its target of deriving 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2020…"
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"He said those initial [few hundred megawatt] volumes would come from small pilot projects, but the amount of electricity [delivered to European markets] would go up into the thousands of megawatts as projects including the 400 billion euro Desertec solar scheme come on stream…
"The EU is backing the construction of new electricity cables, known as inter-connectors, under the Mediterranean Sea to carry this renewable energy from North Africa to Europe...Some environmental groups have warned these cables could be used instead to import non-renewable electricity from coal- and gas-fired power stations in north Africa… [Oettinger said it is] possible to monitor electricity imports to the EU and establish if they come from renewable sources or fossil fuels…"
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"The Desertec consortium includes major firms such as Siemens, RWE and Deutsche Bank. They are expected to seek public money for the project…[EU assistance is] likely to include help coordinating stakeholders, updating regulations to allow the imported electricity to move across European borders, and financing feasibility studies… He countered concerns expressed in the past by some officials in Algeria that the project could involve Europeans exploiting north Africa's natural resources."
[Guenther Oettinger, Energy Commissioner, EU:] "Renewables are a two-way partnership because electricity produced here is for the home market of north African countries…Maybe a bigger percentage of the electricity will be exported to Europe but at the same time we have to export the technology, tools, machines, experts, and so it's a real partnership, not only a partnership by selling and by buying."