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The world's most ambitious green energy project is about to take shape. It is a 
plan for a chain of mammoth sun-powered energy plants in the deserts of North 
Africa to supply power to Europe's homes and factories by the end of the next 

In a few days' time a consortium of 20 German firms will meet in Munich to hammer 
out plans for funding the giant €400bn (£343bn) project, named Desertec. The 
scheme is being backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government and several German 
industry household names including Siemens, Deutsche Bank, and the energy companies 
RWE and E.ON. The Munich meeting will also involve Italian and Spanish energy 
concerns, as well as representatives from the Arab League and the Club of Rome 

Energy experts have calculated that Desertec could meet at least 15 per cent of 
Europe's needs, and be up and running by 2019. By 2050, they estimate the 
contribution could be between 20 and 25 per cent. Although no host countries have 
been named, Desertec envisages a string of solar-thermal plants across North 
Africa's desert. The plants would use mirrors to focus the sun's rays, which would 
be used to heat water to power steam turbines. The process is cheaper and more 
efficient than the usual form of solar power, which uses photovoltaic cells to 
convert the sun's rays into electricity……………...Yet Germany's largest 
solar energy company, SolarWorld, argues that North Africa is too risky a location. 
"Building solar power plants in politically unstable countries opens you to the 
same kind of dependency as the situation with oil," said Frank Asbeck, the firm's 
managing director. 

rest of the story

Mary Croix Ludwick
Librarian, Thomas Haley Elementary
Irving, Texas (near Dallas) (home)

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