Investors and industrialists from 14 companies met in Munich, Germany recently to formally launch Desertec Industrial Initiative, a €400 billion ($774 billion) collaborative project to provide 15% of Europe’s energy via solar power from Africa’s Sahara desert by the year 2050. Since it was formally announced earlier this year, the project has gotten mixed responses from development and renewable energy groups.
Speaking about the benefits of the project MEED Magazine writes:
Desertec’s backers say the scheme will create jobs and boost local economies. Some go so far as to claim it could even reduce the number of economic migrants to Europe. Governments on both continents will need to collaborate to define a regulatory and legislative framework for the scheme. If Desertec can overcome these hurdles, it will set a precedent for international energy co-operation.
But critics of the project also give some strong points. New Scientist Magazine writes:
Critics are lining up to point out the project’s shortcomings. They say it could make Europe’s energy supply a hostage to politically unstable countries; that Europe should not be exploiting Africa in this way; that it is a poor investment compared to covering Europe’s roofs with photovoltaic (PV) solar panels; and that, while deserts have plenty of sun, they lack another less obvious but equally indispensable resource for a solar thermal power plant – water.
What do you think? Is the Desertec project good or bad for Africa and/or Europe?
More about the project and it’s launch in the videos below.
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