Desertec making progress

We’ve been watching the progress of Desertec with interest.
The project aims to provide  up to 15% of Europe’s electricity by 2050, importing solar power from the North African desert, using new power stations and a new (inter-)national electricity Grid to bring the power back to and across Europe.

European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has now announced he expects power transmission to begin within 5 years.

Good news if Richard Branson’s prediction that by then oil supply will no longer meet demand is anything to go by.

Oettinger expects “hundreds of megawatts” to arrive in Europe within five years, but stresses that “Desertec as a whole is a vision for the next 20 to 40 years with investment of hundreds of billions of euros” said Oettinger.

Some people worry that the new network will simply be used to import dirty electricity from North Africa. Oettinger agrees that “to integrate a bigger percentage of renewables, solar and wind, needs time.”

The project will cost hundreds of billions of euros, and while being backed by companies such as Siemens, RWE and Deutsche Bank they are expected to seek public (EU) money for the project.

Reuters story here: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65J1ZO20100620

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