Recent unrest ion Northern Africa might have caused some to doubt the mega-project Destertec, but its initiators are still confident it is going to happen. In fact, Dii GmbH (Desertec Industrial Initiative) is stepping up its activities in Tunisia and is intending to open an office in Tunis to accelerate the implementation of DESERTEC through close cooperation with the Tunisian government.
Günter Gloser, member of the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament) and former Minister of State for Europe, has been a strong supporter of Desertec all along. When Desertec Industrial Initiative was founded October 30, 2009 with 13 founding signatories, he was present there and has been promoting it ever since. He was interviewed by Young Germany.
He said that apart from being a firm believer in the power of renewable energy, he also thinks this partnership can be a great opportunity for the Southern Mediterranean countries: through opening up new sources of energy, independence from energy imports and creation of jobs. Furthermore he reckons that solar power from North Africa could supply Europe with 15% of its electricity demand by 2050.
Asked about the recent upheavals in the regions, he said that since then, in Tunisia, officials assured him how important the construction of solar-thermal power plants was for their country. He also received positive signals from Algiers and Rabat. Even though the implementation will be delayed, there is a strong political will to go through with this project and it is going to happen.
Concerning the prospect for the young generation in North Africa who was at the forefront of bringing about a change of regime in the area, Gloser said: “My political appraisal of the Desertec-initiative always assumed a bilateral approach. That is: The construction of wind farms and solar-thermal power plants should also be able to supply energy to the region, especially to countries which have no energy sources of their own. At the same time the Desertec projects create new jobs, education and training related to these new technologies which will benefit the young generation.”
Personally I find the whole idea exiting, and when one looks at some of the great achievements of humankind, be it the pyramids or the mission to the moon, I can really see it happening!