“Start of construction,” on 10 May 2013 for the world’s biggest solar energy plant so far, at the edge of the Sahara desert in Morocco. Electricity from this plant will eventually be exported to Europe, among other places. The plant should be operational in late 2015. Morocco plans to build five other solar power plants by 2020, for a total output of 2000 MW.
Dii (Desertec industrial initiative), the group behind this 700-million-euro, 160-MW project, is an international nonprofit that helps plan MENA solar energy projects and is headquartered in Munich. The first Desertec project to be built, this Ouarzazate plant was cofinanced by the German government via the KfW development bank group (“credit institution for reconstruction” created as part of the Marshall Plan after WWII and now owned 80% by the German government).
Germany is maneuvering to meet its Energiewende goal of getting ~20% of its electricity from solar power plants in Africa and the Middle East by 2050.
Update on 01 Jul 2013: Temporary setback. The Desertec foundation, cofounder of Dii GmBH, has exited the 20-member public-private initiative effective immediately. The foundation owns the rights to the Desertec name, so this could mean a name change. Süddeutsche Zeitung reported the foundation was unhappy with the industrial consortium’s performance and the F.A.Z. reported “differences of opinion about strategy.”
(B OW! begin.)