European nations negotiating solar-power pact with Morocco

Major European nations are negotiating with Morocco to build a large solar-power farm in the Sahara Desert, the German Economics Ministry said Wednesday, confirming a news report.

The Sueddeutche Zeitung newspaper said a declaration of intent would be signed in November, though no date was set yet to build the pilot plant, which would cost an estimated 600 million euros (775 million dollars).

The ministry said no date had been set for the signing and that efforts were continuing to bring in more partners and financing. It said that the first step would be to establish if the project was technically and legally feasible.

The newspaper said Germany, France, Italy and Spain were party to the talks with Morocco.

A German-based industrial consortium, Desertec, wants to set up a a solar farm in the desert to collect energy for Europe.

The newspaper quoted Desertec‘s head, Paul van Son, as saying that a pilot plant would be built between 2014 and 2016.