Power from the desert: where are Desertec and Co.?

Power from the desert: where are Desertec and Co.?

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Ruchser, Matthias
Externe Publikationen (2013)

in: Diplomatisches Magazin 4/2013, 38-41

The launch of private company Desertec-Industrie-Initiative (Dii) resulted in massive media attention in the summer of 2009 since it promised to become extremely important for future energy supplies in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). But during the financial crisis and the Arab Spring things have quietened down when it comes to „power from the desert“.But the competitiveness of wind power and the massive price falls for photovoltaics (PV) have already put the Dii business model at risk as photovoltaic electricity generation is now much cheaper than from Concentrated Solar Power (CSP).

Are the doubts expressed time and again in connection with implementing the “power from the desert idea” justified? There is no doubt that significant barriers have to be overcome until electricity can flow from the desert to Europe. The countries in which the power plants are located must also benefit from the projects – both in terms of using the power generated and along the whole value creation chain of the power plants. But to achieve this the MENA countries must create the political and legal conditions that draw in investors and not scare them away – as is partly the case today. This requires reducing the high subsidies for fossil fuels. But long-term energy subsidies have not fallen around the world in recent years. On the contrary, as a result of the Arab Spring subsidies for carbon-based fuels and energy in the Middle East and North Africa have increased.

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