Renewable energy bridging continents
Renewable energy bridging continents
Dii
Markus Balser*

MUNICH - According to exclusive information obtained by Süddeutsche Zeitung, the German, French, Italian, Spanish and Moroccan governments are pushing forward their green power “Desertec” project.

Electricity produced by a solar thermal plant in Morocco, which would cost 600 million euros to build, would supply Europe with renewable energy.

The planned power plant site is the desert outpost near the city of Ouarzazate, southeast of Marrakesh.

If all goes as planned, an agreement of intent will be signed in November and a governmental agreement will be signed by all five nations by June 2013, with other partners possibly coming on board as well.

Morocco’s Minister of Industry Abdelkader Amara confirmed plans for an international agreement: "Cooperation with Europe is an important axis in our energy strategy," he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Plans for a Desertec conference in Berlin in early November 2012 were confirmed by a spokeswoman for Germany’s Ministry of the Economy.

While various hurdles still need to be overcome among governments, the European Union supports the plans. Two cables between Morocco and Europe have already been laid across the Strait of Gibraltar.

At the Munich headquarters of the Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii), the private industrial consortium created to see the 150 megawatt solar project through, CEO Paul van Son told Süddeutsche Zeitung that “the next two years will see the desert electricity vision start to become practical reality.”

Dii is made up of over 50 international companies and organizations, including Deutsche Bank, Italy’s energy giant Enel, and the Saudi energy developer Acwa Power.

Financing for the project is to come from industry, national governments, and international energy organizations. Dii shareholders alone are ready to invest 200 million euros. "We are working closely with Masen, the Moroccan solar agency, the plans for the project are complete, industry is interested. Now we just have to see who pays what bills," says van Son.

Along with its longer-term goal to turn desert lands in North Africa and the Middle East into a source of renewable sun and wind energy, Dii also aims to cover 15% of European electricity requirements by 2050 with the desert-produced current. The entire investment is estimated at several hundred billion euros.

*This is a digest item, not a direct translation.

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Ideas

How Facebook Knowingly Undermines The World's Largest Democracy

Facebook whistleblower Sophie Zhang says that the tech giant knowingly facilitates undermining democracy in India. Fair voting cannot be guaranteed if real people's voices are drowned out by armies of fake online commentators.

The Tek Fog app is allegedly used by online operatives to hijack social media

Sophie Zhang

-OpEd-

NEW DELHI — Earlier this month, The Wire published an exposé on Tek Fog, an app allegedly used by India's ruling, right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to make social engineering easier. The app is allegedly used by online operatives to hijack social media and amplify right-wing propaganda in the country.

The investigation immediately grabbed the attention of the Indian public. For the first time, everyday Indians were given insight into the inner workings of a major political party's Information Technology Cell (IT cell). Indians were forced to confront the possibility that their everyday reality was shaped not by the Indian public but the whims of shadowy political operatives.

They also discovered that their own ruling party would seek to phish their phones with spyware for the purpose of sending party-line propaganda impersonating them to friends and family. Such serious allegations more closely resemble an authoritarian dictatorship like the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and their hired online commentators, the 50 Cent Army (五毛党), than the world’s largest democracy.

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