Magazine article Europe-East

Mediterranean Solar Plan : Project Faces Strategic and Financial Problems

Magazine article Europe-East

Mediterranean Solar Plan : Project Faces Strategic and Financial Problems

Article excerpt

At a time when the European Union is looking to become less dependent on hydrocarbons and aims to use more renewable energy, the Mediterranean Solar Plan could be a beacon project, but must first overcome difficulties in funding and strategy.

Euro-Mediterranean energy cooperation has an important role to play in theaexternal energy policy of the European Union, saidaRoland Kobia, member of the cabinet of Commissioner Andris Piebalgs at the Directorate-General Energy and Transport. He underlined the variety of efforts put in place under this policy at a conference organised by the European Movement Belgium, on 19 October. The Mediterranean Solar Plan was therefore the key project among six launched by the Union for the Mediterranean, in July 2008.

There are three concrete goals. Firstly, total power production of 20 gigawatts by 2020 in low-carbon energy, namely concentrating solar power (CSP) technology andasolar photovoltaic technology (PV). The second aim is to supply part of the energy locally, while also exporting a part to the European Union in order to ensure the plan's cost-effectiveness. Thirdly, it intends to increase energy efficiency and energy saving in all of the countries in the region.

"In the Mediterranean, there are many renewable energy possibilities [...] that we can share and this plan is therefore very important," German Minister of State Gunter Gloser told the European Parliament at a press conference on renewable energy cooperation between the EU and countries in the Gulf and Mediterranean, which was organised by the EU executive, on 9 October.

The action plan extends over 12 years, from 2008 to 2020, with a pilot phase from 2009 to 2010, which will aim primarily to remove technical and legal difficulties before the project gets underway. Crucially, this phase will aim to develop the necessary transport infrastructure and create sources of financing for economically viable projects. …

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