kernenergien | solar sutainable strategy

12 companies plan to establish the DESERTEC Industrial Initiative


Munich - 12 companies today signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Munich to establish a DESERTEC Industrial Initiative (DII). The objective of this initiative is to analyse and develop the technical, economic, political, social and ecological framework for carbon-free power generation in the deserts of North Africa. The DESERTEC concept, developed by the TREC Initiative of the Club of Rome, describes the perspectives of a sustainable power supply for all regions of the world with access to the energy potential of deserts. The founder companies of the DII, whose regional focus is on Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), will be:

  • ABB
  • ABENGOA Solar
  • Cevital
  • Deutsche Bank
  • E.ON
  • HSH Nordbank
  • MAN Solar Millennium
  • Munich Re
  • M+W Zander
  • RWE
  • SCHOTT Solar

The companies intend to establish a planning entity whose shareholders will include the DESERTEC Foundation. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in the presence of high-ranking representatives from German and international politics.

Among the DII’s main goals are the drafting of concrete business plans and associated financing concepts, and the initiating of industrial preparations for building a large number of networked solar thermal power plants distributed throughout the MENA region. The aim is to produce sufficient power to meet around 15% of Europe’s electricity requirements and a substantial portion of the power needs of the producer countries. All of the DII’s activities will be aimed at developing viable investment plans within three years of its establishment. The initiative’s clear focus on implementation is set out in the DII Principles for all future DII shareholders.

Besides the business opportunities for the companies, there are other economic, ecological and social potentials:

  • Greater energy security in the EU/MENA countries
  • Growth and development opportunities for the MENA region as a result of substantial private investment
  • Safeguarding the future water supply in the MENA countries by utilising excess energy in seawater desalination plants
  • Reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and thus making a significant contribution to achieving the climate change targets of the European Union and the German Federal Government The DII planning entity is to be established as a GmbH (limited liability company) under German law by 31 October 2009. It is envisaged that other companies will join the DII once the company has been established. The aim is for the DII to include shareholders from a variety of different countries.

Representatives of the parties involved had the following to say about the joint initiative:

His Royal Highness Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan:

“The partnerships that will be formed across the regions as a result of the DESERTEC project will open a new chapter in relations between the people of the European Union, West Asia and North Africa.”

Dr. Gerhard Knies, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the DESERTEC Foundation:

“The founding of the DII is a milestone in the DESERTEC Foundation’s concept for global energy, water and climate security!”

Max Schön, President of the German Association of the Club of Rome:

“The establishment of the DII is a giant leap by industry for the lasting protection of human life.”

Dr. Joachim Schneider, Member of the Board of Management of ABB AG:

“ABB has developed High Voltage Direct Current transmission technology to connect power grids and utilise renewable energies. Climate protection needs innovative technologies.”

Santiago Seage, Chairman and CEO of ABENGOA Solar:

“Today we are building North Africa’s first private integrated solar combined cycle plant in Algeria and the region’s largest utility-owned integrated solar combined cycle plant in Morocco. Tomorrow Abengoa’s experience in transmission, desalination and solar projects in North Africa will make a significant contribution to the success of the DESERTEC objectives.”

Malik Rebrab, Chief Executive Officer Cevital:

“It is time that everyone gets involved to preserve our planet and leave a better world for future generations. This is why Cevital considers this initiative as a new opportunity for the EUMENA region.’”

Caio Koch-Weser, Vice Chairman Deutsche Bank:

“We are pleased to participate in the Desertec Industrial Initiative and explore with our partners the feasibility of this trailblazing project. The Initiative shows in what dimensions and on what scale we must think if we are to master the challenges from climate change both in ecological and economic terms.”

Dr. Hervé Touati, Managing Director of E.ON Climate & Renewables:

“E.ON is convinced that the future belongs to solar technology in the long term. We share the DESERTEC vision of exploiting the sun’s energy on a grand scale to supply power to Europe and the African countries. We are supporting the initiative with a view to making this great idea possible. Apart from this, E.ON is constantly expanding its involvement in solar power, especially in the field of solar thermal power plants – as envisaged for supplying power in the DESERTEC Initiative.”

Peter Rieck, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management HSH Nordbank:

“HSH Nordbank has a leading position in project financing for renewable energy, which is also very important for our home region. We are happy to contribute our financing know-how to the DII.”

Dr. Wolfgang Knothe, CEO MAN Solar Millennium GmbH and member of the Board of Management of Solar Millennium AG:

“DESERTEC is a fascinating initiative and at the same time a major challenge worth working for. Our highly qualified engineers and managers are already facing such challenges and realising large solar thermal power projects in the Mediterranean region.”

Dr. Torsten Jeworrek, Member of the Board of Management Munich Re:

“We are pursuing a visionary plan. If it is successful, we will make a major contribution to combating climate change. The ecological and economic potential is huge. We will do our utmost to make this vision reality. Many thanks to all who are already giving us such strong support.”

Jürgen Wild, Chairman and CEO of the M+W Zander Group:

“As a leading international engineering firm in the field of photovoltaics and solar technology, we strongly support this strategic initiative of trade and industry. As we see it, the DII can be a great success.”

Dr. Frank-Detlef Drake, Vice President Corporate Research and Development RWE AG:

“The DESERTEC concept is a fascinating vision. We will contribute RWE’s energy expertise and, together with our partners, establish how and when the concept can be realised.”

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Udo Ungeheuer, CEO and Chairman of SCHOTT AG:

“The SCHOTT receiver is at the very heart of parabolic trough technology. Our products have been in use in these power plants for decades.”

Dr. Rene Umlauft , CEO Renewable Energy, SIEMENS:

“DESERTEC can make a significant contribution to sustainable energy supplies. With its broad environmental portfolio, Siemens is the right technology partner for this visionary project.”