International agreement intended to kick off Desertec


The governments of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Morocco have said they want to push ahead with the Desertec initiative (DII), reports Germany’s Süddeutschen Zeitung, which adds that talks have begun on a joint agreement. The construction of €600 million worth of solar power projects and the import of green electricity into Europe is planned.

A letter of intent is expected to be signed this month, government sources in Germany and Morocco told the newspaper. "There are talks with several states and ministries in Germany," confirmed a spokesperson for the German Federal Ministry of Economics.

By 1H 2013, there is expected to be an intergovernmental agreement, which other governments may also join. The third Desertec annual conference will be held in Berlin, Germany in the coming week.

Just last week, Siemens declared its intention to withdraw from the initiative. Bosch is also thought to be considering this move, although the company has declined to respond to requests for comment.

Despite this, it is thought an international agreement could now provide the required breakthrough for DII, the negotiating parties told the Süddeutschen Zeitung. However, several hurdles still have to be overcome, including differences in implementation details between Germany and France.

The EU, however, is promoting the plan. It is expected that from 2014 to 2016, the first solar and wind reference projects will be realized.

In related news, a consortium led by RWE is said to be planning the construction of solar and wind parks in Morocco, according to German news agency, dapd. Power plants worth 50 MW are expected to be built between 2014 and 2016, and should form one of the three DII reference projects.

There are currently over 50 members in the DII, comprised of companies and organizations.

Translated and edited by Becky Beetz.