European Coalition Selects Morocco for Massive Solar Plant

A German-led initiative to tap solar energy in the deserts of Northern Africa and the Middle East to meet Europe’s long-term energy needs has targeted a site in Morocco for its first large-scale solar farm. The Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii) — whose members include
Solar Energy
E.ON, Siemens, Munich Re and Deutsche Bank — announced during its annual conference that it will begin construction next year on a 500 megawatt solar farm. While the specific location was not disclosed, reports say it will likely be built near Ouarzazate, a city in southern Morocco known as “the door of the desert.” The €2 billion plant represents just the first step in a proposed €400 billion network of solar plants and wind farms the coalition hopes will provide 15 percent of Europe’s electricity by 2050. Negotiations are already underway with Tunisia for the next plant, with Algeria the next possible country. Coalition leaders say the project will represent a “win-win” for Europe and the nations of North Africa and the Middle East, since it will provide jobs and economic opportunity.