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EC welcomes solar plan for Africa and Middle East

The European Commission has welcomed an agreement signed by the industrial initiatives Dii and Medgrid to strengthen their co-operation on the development of industrial-scale renewable energy from deserts in Africa and the Middle East and a suitable transmission infrastructure.
EC welcomes solar plan for Africa and Middle East

Today, in the margins of the Energy Council, Energy Commissioner Oettinger welcomed the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Desertec Industry Initiative (Dii) and Medgrid.

Energy Commissioner Oettinger stated that: "By joining efforts and coordinating their approaches, the two initiatives take a truly European dimension. 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".

The MoU establishes closer cooperation between the two private industry initiatives, which are key to the promotion of a renewable energy partnership between the EU and countries in the Southern Mediterranean. Areas of cooperation will include exchange of information, update on progress, joint evaluation of potential synergies, and joint efforts on the EU and Middle-East and North Africa level to obtain a more favourable regulatory framework for renewable energy markets.

The two international industrial consortiums, founded respectively in Germany and France, complement each other well and will therefore coordinate their work for the long term generation, transmission and marketability of renewable energy in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. In line with the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP) this will be a key contribution towards a new EU-MENA partnership based on renewable energy. Co-ordinated actions defining cost-efficient pathways whilst taking into account, geopolitical and socio-economic aspects have already started. Dii, with its 56 partners (including ABB, Siemens, Deutsche Bank and EON) from 15 countries, aims to create the necessary conditions for an accelerated implementation of the Desertec vision. It´s activities focus on enabling an industrial-scale market for renewable energy from the North African and Middle Eastern deserts by 2050. These activities also include the development of integrated energy markets and the identification of suitable technologies for power generation and transmission.

“The long term development of renewable energy from the deserts would be neither thinkable without tight co-operation with local authorities and industries in MENA, nor without close collaboration between Medgrid and Dii. I am happy that the European Commission and national governments are looking beyond borders to support our plans,” explained Dii's CEO, Paul van Son.

Medgrid was created at the end of 2010, within the framework of the MSP, by 20 associate companies (including AFD, Alstom grid, Areva renouvelables, EDF and RTE) from the Mediterranean Basin. Its primary task is to study the technical, economic and institutional feasibility of the Mediterranean transmission system which, by 2020, would enable the export to Europe of up to 5 GW of electricity generated from renewable sources.

“The electrical interconnections are vital for the development of renewable energies in the Middle-East and Maghreb countries; they will make possible the export of a share of renewable electricity from the Southern countries of the Mediterranean Sea to Europe and thus contribute to their financing. I am therefore very pleased by the cooperation agreement signed today between Dii and Medgrid, and I sincerely thank the European authorities for their support,” said André Merlin, Medgrid’s CEO.

The co-operation is supported by Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Energy Commission, the French Minister of Industry, Energy and the Digital Economy and the German Federal Minister of Economics and Technology.

For additional information:

European Commission Energy

Desertec Industry Initiative

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