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Munich Re, Siemens Plan 'Visionary' Sahara Project

Source: Munich Re

Posted on 13 Jul 2009

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Twelve companies today signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Munich to establish a DESERTEC Industrial Initiative (DII). The objective of this initiative is to analyze and develop the technical, economic, political, social and ecological framework for carbon-free power generation in the deserts of North Africa. The DESERTEC concept, developed by the TREC Initiative of the Club of Rome, describes the perspectives of a sustainable power supply for all regions of the world with access to the energy potential of deserts. The founder companies of the DII, whose regional focus is on Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), will be:




*Deutsche Bank


HSH Nordbank

*MAN Solar Millennium

*Münchener Rück

*M+W Zander




The companies intend to establish a planning entity whose shareholders will include the DESERTEC Foundation. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in the presence of high-ranking representatives from German and international politics.

Among the DII’s main goals are the drafting of concrete business plans and associated financing concepts, and the initiating of industrial preparations for building a large number of networked solar thermal power plants distributed throughout the MENA region. The aim is to produce sufficient power to meet around 15% of Europe’s electricity requirements and a substantial portion of the power needs of the producer countries. All of the DII's activities will be aimed at developing viable investment plans within three years of its establishment. The initiative’s clear focus on implementation is set out in the DII Principles for all future DII shareholders.

Besides the business opportunities for the companies, there are other economic, ecological and social potentials:

*Greater energy security in the EU/MENA countries

*Growth and development opportunities for the MENA region as a result of substantial private investment

*Safeguarding the future water supply in the MENA countries by utilising excess energy in seawater desalination plants

*Reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and thus making a significant contribution to achieving the climate change targets of the European Union and the German Federal Government

The DII planning entity is to be established as a GmbH (limited liability company) under German law by 31 October 2009. It is envisaged that other companies will join the DII once the company has been established. The aim is for the DII to include shareholders from a variety of different countries.

Dr. Torsten Jeworrek, Member of the Board of Management Munich Re, said: "We are pursuing a visionary plan. If it is successful, we will make a major contribution to combating climate change. The ecological and economic potential is huge. We will do our utmost to make this vision reality. Many thanks to all who are already giving us such strong support."