When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Economy

Solar Energy For Europe, Direct From The Moroccan Desert

 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.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest