Desertec considers Morocco for first solar power project

24 February 2010

Initiative aims to supply 15 per cent of Europe’s electricity needs by 2050

The Desertec Initiative, a coalition of 13 energy and technology companies, has entered into talks with Rabat over the possibility of constructing Desertec’s first renewable energy project in the country.

The initiative was launched in 2009 with the intention of bringing together companies with experience in power generation, to build a series of concentrated solar power (CSP), photovoltaic (PV) and wind projects in the Middle East and North Africa.

Morocco power

  • 5,260 MW - Total current installed capacity
  • 2,000 MW - Planned solar energy capcity by 2019

Source: Office Nationale d’Electricite

The first plant in Morocco will be a concentrated solar power plant, but a location has not been finalised.

According to a spokesman for Desertec, Morocco is regarded as a key country for the initiative’s first project, due to the country’s lack of natural energy resources and a strong commitment to the renewables sector.

If the project goes ahead in Morocco, it will help it achieve its ambitious national solar plan, which was announced by King Mohammed IV in November 2009.

The Moroccan facility could also act as a model for future projects by the companies involved in the Desertec initiative.

The Desertec scheme intends to supply power to the local market for each plant, but will also export a large portion of the power to Europe. Desertec has set a target of providing 15 per cent of Europe’s power demand by 2050 through its renewable energy projects.

The group of 13 founding companies that comprise Desertec is set to expand in future to include four or five extra shareholders. Sources close to the initiative have indicated that these energy and technology firms are based in Morocco, Tunisia, Spain, Italy and France.

Desertec has said the expansion of its shareholder base represents an important step towards creating a pan-regional alliance, as most of the founding partners are of German origin. By adding North African companies to the group, it hopes to increase government support from this region.

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