Canadian Manufacturing

Plan to build solar plants in African, Middle Eastern deserts scrapped

Solar plants in deserts of North Africa, Middle East would have supplied Europe with 15 per cent of its electricity needs by 2050

BERLIN—It sounded like a good idea: Build massive solar energy plants in the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East to supply Europe with 15 per cent of its electricity needs by 2050.

But the consortium behind the ambitious plan has now admitted defeat following disagreements over funding and persistent political instability in the desert nations where the plants were going to be built.

The Desertec Industrial Initiative announced this week it is going to focus on consulting others after most of its former backers pulled out, including German insurance company Muenchener Rueckversicherung.

The remaining members of the Munich-based consortium are Saudi company ACWA Power, German utility giant RWE AG and China’s State Grid Corp. of China (SGCC).

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