Africa Deserves To Manufacture

In a sane world, this map would bring about a rapid realignment of forces. Manufacturing and installing these solar panels is the next industrial revolution all on its own.



Quagmire in the Sahara: Desertec's Promise of Solar Power for Europe Fades
Supporters hailed the Desertec Industrial Initiative as the most ambitious solar energy project ever when it was founded in 2009. Major industrial backers pledged active involvement, politicians saw a win-win proposition and environmentalists fawned over Europe's green energy future. For a projected budget of €400 billion ($560 billion), the venture was to pipe clean solar power from the Sahara Desert through a Mediterranean super-grid to energy-hungry European countries. ..... Spain recently balked at signing a declaration of intent to connect high-voltage lines between Morocco and the rest of Europe. In recent weeks, two of the biggest industrial supporters at the founding of the initiative, Siemens and Bosch, backed out. And perhaps most tellingly, though last week's third annual Desertec conference was held in Berlin's Foreign Ministry, not a single German cabinet minister bothered to attend. .... Political backing for energy from the desert, in other words, is evaporating. ...... For all the initial enthusiasm, countries have been hesitant about plunging into a large, cooperative grid in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. ....... "We should say we're closing the whole thing down because we have no political support." ...... Renewable energy projects remain more expensive than traditional fossil fuel plants and tend to require government subsidies. And Desertec is an order of magnitude larger and more complicated than the offshore wind parks currently under construction in the North Sea. The idea is to generate a significant percentage of Europe's energy needs using solar thermal plants in sunny North Africa and then transmitting that power via an ultramodern grid across the Mediterranean. ....... Part of the problem is historical distrust. No country wants to import electricity and energy security is often at the top of national objectives. ....... Exporting the green power involves connecting the countries with the sun to consumer countries like Germany by way of long-distance high-voltage power lines. That is expensive, and any country that is to be part of the proposed new grid, like Spain, can throw a wrench in the works.

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