Monday, July 13, 2009

Desertec Industrial Initiative "Heat's Up"

European companies are meeting in the German city of Munich on Monday to sign a memorandum of intent over plans to harness solar power to feed Western energy needs.

The Desertec Industrial Initiative consortium (composed of 12 major companies), which includes leading German companies such as energy giants RWE and E.ON, electro-engineering group Siemens, and major insurer Munich Re, is planning to turn the Saharan sun into European electricity.

"Of course it is still a long way off, but the enormous interest in the scheme shows we are on the right path," a spokesman for Munich Re said.

A study suggests that with the use of thermal power plants and high voltage direct current transmission lines, Desertec's pioneering foray into the desert could meet 15 percent of Europe's electricity needs by the year 2020.

Gerhard Knies, Chairman of the Desertec supervisory board says the desert is an obvious source of clean power.

"Within six hours deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankind consumes within a year," he said adding that the "time appears right for a truly comprehensive manoeuvre to combat climate change."

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