While it has been reported that the "TuNur" project, set to be located in the Saharan deserts, will be developed over a number of different phases, it is expected that the first electricity exports will reach Europe in 2016 "via a new low-loss transmission line to Italy". The first phase is scheduled to begin in 2014.
Nur Energie will act as project developer, alongside its Tunisian partners, led by Top Oilfield Services. The Desertec Foundation, meanwhile, has said that is endorsing the project, which "can serve as a blueprint for the development of further wind and solar projects in the Sahara".
The main reasons for this, it says, are new industry, and job, creation. Overall, TuNur is expected to create 20,000 direct and indirect jobs. Furthermore, "around 825,000 flat plate mirrors and steel structures known as heliostats will be needed for the two gigawatt project and can be manufactured locally," says Desertec.
Nur Energies CEO, Kevin Sara comments, "TuNur is going to be the blueprint for things to come. It is a pioneering project that other governments, companies and individuals can point to and say, ‘Solar energy export from North Africa to Europe is possible, its worthwhile and the Desertec vision is attainable.’"