Proponents of solar energy have long dreamed of an intercontinental supergrid that would transport solar power from sun-drenched North Africa to Europe. The Desertec Foundation has been working diligently to foster support for the supergrid, but the ambitious organization may have run into serious obstacles.
Estimated costs for this project top out at 400 billion Euros, and building solar thermal plants and DC transmission lines would take over 10 years.
Key backers are leaving the project, with Siemens backing out in October and Bosch announcing it would no longer be a member of the project by the year’s end.
African and European governments are finding their economic turmoil is affecting how much money they can contribute to the supergrid. Additionally, North Africa is increasingly politically unstable, making a multi-billion dollar project extremely high risk.
Solar energy hopefuls are keeping their fingers crossed that the supergrid project will be scaled back or modified instead of eliminated altogether. Realistically, with Bosch and Siemens pulling support in addition to wavering governmental support, the future of the supergrid is looking bleak.
There is a glimmer of hope. If Europe continues to explore and invest in alternative energy sources and clean energy, the foundation will be created that will hopefully, one day in the near future, lead to the wildly ambitious yet extraordinarily visionary supergrid.