When Spain ditched DESERTEC’s solar interests in Morocco, the blogosphere was quick to pronounce the initiative Dead Before Arrival. Underestimating the German foundation’s tenacity, critics could never have anticipated what happened next. Morocco found its own way to proceed with Ourzazate and Saudi came on board.
DESERTEC Power, backed by the original DESERTEC Foundation, recently launched in Saudi Arabia with plans to work alongside scientists and researchers at the King Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) to usher in a clean, renewable new era for the world’s most notorious oil producer.
“Acting as a regional facilitator DESERTEC Power addresses the in-kingdom needs for both renewable energy and desalinated water production, according to a recent DESERTEC press release.
Supervisory Board Chairman Dr. Ahmed Al-Malik, the former Vice Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, is responsible for overseeing “the planning, realization, ownership, and likely the operation of renewable power plants as well as associated matters of education and employment,” according to the group.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has the potential to be a championing nation in power generation from renewable energy sources and to advance in global climate friendly development,” said Dr. Thiemo Gropp, Director of the DESERTEC Foundation.
“The DESERTEC Foundation highly appreciates the opportunity to encourage the intended development through concrete projects.”
In 2009, DESERTEC was established in part to generate renewable energy in the Middle East and North Africa region and evacuate it via subsea cables in the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. But the group has also spent considerable energy nurturing multilateral knowledge-sharing and business development networks in order to increase global awareness of and interest in cleaner sources of power.
Saudi aims to produce 41,000 MW of solar energy by 2032; working with KA-CARE, DESERTEC Power backed by Germany’s DESERTEC Foundation will provide the necessary infrastructure and support to help make that happen.
Among the challenges will be establishing the necessary regulatory framework to encourage investment in renewable energy plants throughout the Kingdom.
But of one thing we are certain: both Saudi and DESERTEC are very serious about laying the groundwork for a cleaner future.
Image of Riyadh at sunrise, Shutterstock