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 Renewable energy bridging continents
Renewable energy bridging continents
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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Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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