Italian banks join solar energy project
Italy's two biggest banks, Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, on Friday said they have joined the German-led Desertec project to build giant solar power stations in North Africa and the Middle East.
UniCredit said in a statement it had become a shareholder in Desertec's parent company DII, without detailing what its stake would be.
Intesa Sanpaolo said it had become "an associate partner and sponsor" of the project and would help implement the ambitious project.
Desertec aims to generate some 15 percent of Europe's electricity consumption with solar and wind energy within the next 40 years.
The estimated initial investment is 400 billion euros (541 billion dollars).
The project was launched in 2009 by several German companies including Munich Re, Deutsche Bank, as well as energy giants EON and RWE.
Italy's Enel Green Power and Terna, France's Saint-Gobain and Spain's Red Electrica have also since joined the project.
© 2011 AFP