400 billion euro plan to bring African solar energy to Europe

14th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Engineering giants ABB and Siemens, energy groups E.ON and RWE and financial institutions Deutsche Bank and Munich Re are among companies who agreed to begin development of the solar project.

Frankfurt -- Twelve European companies on Monday launched a 400 billion euro (560 billion dollar) initiative to set up huge solar farms in Africa and the Middle East to produce energy for Europe.

The consortium that signed the protocol says the huge project could eventually provide up to 15 percent of Europe's electricity needs.

Engineering giants ABB and Siemens, energy groups E.ON and RWE and financial institutions Deutsche Bank and Munich Re are among companies who agreed to begin development of the solar project by the end of October.

"Today we have taken a step forward" towards the project's realisation, said Nikolaus von Bomhard, head of the reinsurance giant Munich Re, which hosted the signing.

The Desertec Industrial Initiative would set up solar-power generators in North Africa and the Middle East and pumping massive amounts of electricity to Europe.

It would also provide a "substantial portion of the power needs of the producer countries," the group said in a statement.

Munich Re board member Torsten Jeworrek said the European companies involved had pledged to work "as equals in a sincere and fair" manner with the producer countries.

Under the protocol, a Desertec study office to be set up by October will have three years to elaborate an feasible investment plans to create the network of solar farms.

Representatives of the Arab League and the Egyptian energy ministry were also at the signing of the protocol.

AFP/Expatica

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