$555 Billion European Solar Project in the works.

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by Debaser82, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. June 16 (Bloomberg)

    Siemens AG, Germany’s biggest engineering company, and Munich Re are holding talks with utilities on developing solar plants in the Sahara desert to supply 15 percent of Europe’s power needs by mid-century.

    The discussions, which include German power companies RWE AG and E.ON AG, as well as Deutsche Bank AG, are in the early stages, Siemens spokesman Marc Langendorf said today. Turbines built by the Munich-based manufacturer may be used, he said.

    The German companies want to harness a free fuel source that’s plentiful in one of the world’s poorest regions and sell the power to industrialized Europe. The plants may cost 400 billion euros ($555 billion) through 2050 and stretch across 130 square kilometers (50 square miles) of the North African desert, Munich Re said in a document published on its Web site today.

    “The technology exists to realize a project of this scale,” said Sven Teske, renewable-energy program director at Greenpeace in Amsterdam. “The main constraint would be putting together a legal and political framework to have agreements on cross-border trade to allow the electricity into Europe.”

    The project would need high-voltage cables to move the power from the sparsely populated Sahara under the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, which already is struggling to accommodate increasing power supply from the sun and wind with existing electricity-transmission grids.

    Sun to Steam

    Siemens and partners would install so-called solar thermal systems, which heat a fluid by concentrating the sun’s rays onto a tube. The liquid then produces steam that turns turbines. The world’s largest solar-thermal system is in the Mojave desert in California.

    “The investments required would need to come from investors worldwide, not just from a few companies,” Munich Re spokesman Alexander Mohanty said via telephone today. The company is the world’s biggest reinsurer.

    Of the anticipated costs, the power plants would account for about 350 billion euros while transmission lines to Europe would cost about 50 billion euros, Munich Re said.

    “The project could have a high business potential for Munich Re, as the big facilities will also have to be insured,” Mohanty said.

    The so-called Desertec concept to transport solar energy from Northern Africa to Europe was developed by the Trans- Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation, which was founded by the Club of Rome, the Hamburg Climate Protection Foundation and the National Energy Research Center of Jordan, Munich Re said. The project is based on scientific studies by the German DLR aerospace center, the reinsurer said.

    “We are deeply interested in this project,” Deutsche Bank spokesman Christoph Blumenthal said by telephone. He said no contracts have been signed and declined to comment further.

    Munich Re will host a meeting of interested parties and country representatives in Munich on July 13th to discuss the project, Mohanty said.

    Solar radiation, if fully utilized, has the potential to provide 2,800 times the current energy needs of the world’s 6.8 billion people.

  2. toc


    Sun sustains life on earth and can and will provide for energy for millions of years to come.

    Kudos to the research project!

    :D :cool:
  3. pspr


    I'd hate to be on the ship that snags that power line! :eek:
  4. Europe will build it, and then the African nation it is built in will nationalize it and offer to sell the power to Europe or to itself and other African nations.

    Seriously, does anyone remember Hugo Chavez and Venezuala? And what is happening in some other countries with mineral/oil reserves???

    Complete insanity.
  5. Good idea.
  6. heypa


    Unintended consequences?
    You will change the solar reflectivity/ absorption ratios or the area and therefore the local or regional weather.
    Under the Mediterranean is a good idea. Keep the lines cooler and reduce losses but what about the attendant heating of the sea?
    How about the source of water to use as the medium for steam to electricity process?
    Just a couple of questions for starters.
  7. They have already done this in Spain. Perhaps the Germans are just diversifying. Spain is the logical location for power generation to Europe as it has the greatest amount of available sunshine of any country in Europe.
    "Spain is the fourth largest manufacturer in the world of solar power technology and exports 80 percent of this output to Germany.[2]"

  8. I was thinking the same thing

    "this time its different....."
  9. Be nice to see a project like this in Arizona. 300 days a year of blazing sun and the Palo Verde nuclear power plant would power most of Arizona and a big chunk of So Cal.
    #10     Jun 16, 2009