Making money from the sun is the aim of businesses that gathered in Germany on Monday to set up something called the Desertec Industrial Initiative.
A dozen companies, including Siemens, Munich Re, E.ON, ABB and Deutsche Bank, are hoping to build solar thermal power plants in the Sahara to supply Northern African, as well as Europe and the Middle East.
Talking about the region, Gerhard Knies, Chairman of the Desertec supervisory board, said: “All the countries involved have an energy problem and also climate change is going to hit them very hard. They are interested in a solution. So it is a win-win-situation for all the parties.”
Huge sums will be needed and it will take three years just to work out a detailed investment plan.
Critics have raised concerns about the costs and potential problems from political instability in the region where the solar thermal power plants would be built.