Commission welcomes Desertec and Medgrid cooperation on solar energy in North Africa and the Middle East

European Commission 24 November 2011, 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. 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.

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.”

Dii is a private industry joint venture, founded in October 2009 in Munich. It aims to produce power from the sun and wind in the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East for local and European demand. The long-term goal is to meet about 15% of Europe’s electricity demand by 2050.

Shareholders include among others: ABB, Siemens, Deutsche Bank, EON.

Medgrid, created at the end of 2010 in Paris, is promoting new high capacity electricity links around the Mediterranean, studying their feasibility from the technical, economic and institutional standpoints. This infrastructure would link the Southern, Eastern and Northern shores of the Mediterranean and transport electricity generated primarily from renewable resources. Founders are among others: AFD, Alstom grid, Areva renouvelables, EDF, RTE.

Desertec and Medgrid are complementary and mutually reinforcing, the first focusing on energy generation and the second on energy transmission. Given that both initiatives’ long term objective is the development of renewable energy in the Eastern and Southern countries, and its transport to the local and EU markets, their increased collaboration will create strong synergies and have a positive impact on market integration.

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