First phase of 500 MW Moroccan Concentrating Solar Power project to begin in 2012

Work will begin next year on the first phase of the 500 MW Desertec concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plant in Morocco, according to German newspaper Süddeutschen Zeitung. The initial development stage will cost around €600 million and add 150 MW of capacity to the yet-to-be-named site.

Total investment in the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII), which is a joint venture between 12 predominantly German developers, is estimated at €2 billion and it could come online as early as 2014. The Concentrating Solar Energy plant will be one of the largest in the world when completed, and further details regarding its location, financing and technology are due to be released in early 2012.

"Construction is to start in 2012," said DII founder Ernst Rauch of Munich Re. "Depending on the technology, electricity production can start in 2014, or no later than 2016."

In addition to generating millions of kWhs of electricity, the DII will help to analyse how to harness North Africa’s solar energy potential. The companies behind DII hope that by 2050 PV installations in the region will cater for 15% of Europe’s power requirements.

By José Santamarta,