The “Arab Spring” uprisings that have turned several Middle Eastern countries literally upside down may actually become a boost for the Desertec solar energy project that could eventually provide much needed electrical power to several Middle East North Africa countries – and Europe to boot. What began last year as optimistic news that Egypt was planning to earnestly develop solar energy by building two 100 MW solar energy plants began to look futile as that country and others in the Middle East began to reel under the chaos of civil unrest and even civil war. This had led many to wonder if there is a future at all for solar energy in Egypt and other MENA countries. And investors today are obviously very uncertain about how the sands will shift in the coming months, and years in the region. Especially now as new leadership styles, democratic, autocratic and bureaucratic come to light.
But even as the “grey clouds of doubt” began to cast shadows over solar energy projects in countries like Egypt, the push for democracy by the people behind these civil unrest movements, may be the ones who will wind up approving solar projects, according to Kirsten Westphal, an energy expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), in an interview with Der Spiegel‘s online news service.
Speaking at a major Desertec conference held in Berlin Ms. Westphal said that the quest for democracy being espoused by many of the young demonstrators in these counties may eventually give solar energy projects like Desertec the needed push to be undertaken.
Westphal told her audience that:
“Many critics are saying that the Desertec project is dead because of the unrest in the region. But I would say the exact opposite is true.”
Due to the high cost and complexities of large solar energy projects, political stability will be needed before they can be undertaken, it was agreed.
As these projects will require cooperation with European countries, many of whom were formal colonial rulers of countries like Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt, an element of trust will need to be established between these countries and their former colonial rulers, says Westphal.
In an earlier Green Prophet article, the five ideal MENA countries for building solar energy plants are Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
As far as building solar energy plants and thus providing these and other countries with solar energy a lot of “transparency” needs to be done in regards to building and maintaining these projects. And as for the people who will eventually benefit from them, the big question remaining is which people, according to the article.
More about MENA environmental issues:
What is the Future of MENA Solar Energy With the Region in Chaos?
MENA’s Top Five countries for Solar Energy Generaton
Egypt to Build Two 100 MW Solar Energy Plants
Libyan Revolution Will End Gadaffi’s Green Visions
Gadaffi Could Use Water as a Weapon in Conflict