Two major European consortiums joined forces Thursday in an ambitious project to capture solar and wind energy across Arab deserts in order to power homes in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
The German-led Desertec Industry Initiative (DII) signed a memorandum of understanding with Medgrid, founded by French energy giants, on the sidelines of a meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels.
“By joining efforts and coordinating their approaches, the two initiatives take a truly European dimension,” said EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger.
“There is now a concrete perspective of solar and wind energy being produced for the joint benefit of European and northern African and Middle Eastern citizens, as well for the benefit of both markets,” he said.
DII, whose shareholders include German industry giant Siemens, major lender Deutsche Bank and power supplier EON, wants to produce sun and wind power in the deserts of north Africa and the Middle East.
The group’s goal is to meet 15 percent of Europe’s electricity demand by 2050.
Medgrid, founded by French energy giants Areva and EDF, along with engineering group Alstom and others, plans to build underwater links between Europe and Africa to transport electricity.
Under the cooperation agreement, the two consortiums will exchange information, give each other updates on progress and join efforts “on the EU and Middle East and North Africa level to obtain a more favorable regulatory framework for renewable energy markets,” the commission said.
The European Union is subsidizing the projects as part of its efforts to combat global warming.