dinsdag 10 mei 2011

Waiting for sunrise in North Africa

Le monde diplomatique published a map of Africa's energy infrastructure. Wonder where the sun is??

A concept of solar energy generated in the desert was molded into a foundation called Desertec on January 2009: “Clean Power from Deserts” in different regions of the world. Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII) led by Paul van Son, former Dutch utility executive, is a consortium that seeks a $560 billion investment in North African solar and wind installations over the next 40 years to empower North Africa as well as Europe. Plans are to start building the first power plant two years from now, in 2013. This is where the sun is.

But it is not on the map yet.

Recent developments in the Arab world, destabilising the region, will not prevent the desert from being solar planted, according to the DII website: 'By the year 2050 the population of North Africa will grow strongly. Accordingly, there will not only be a growing energy demand, but also an urgent need for jobs and economic prospects for the young generation. It is now even more important to point at these elements of our Desertec vision that go beyond the issue of clean energy supply.'

With this vision DII alignes with the European Union which was initially founded to bring longterm peace to the wartorn continent in 1953, through trade in coal and steel. Again, but this time a consortium of companies, NGO's and governments, look to energy trade to save the world. The sheiks of Abu Dhabi, no doubt, will be interested, since they started to diversify their countries income among others to renewable energy supply: Already 64% of the total Gross Domestic Product is generated from non fossil fuel sources, we write at Ecolutie: Power in Masdar City

The hard work though exists in bringing all these people, cultures, governments and interests together and create a winning situation for all (including the planet) This is why it takes so long for the sun to appear on the above map.
The Arab revolution might just give it a boost. Once the North African people are free to choose their rulers and to express their opinions, and as a side-effect of this democratisation the Europeans lose their Angst for Moslim dominance, coalitions will become easier to form and the sun can rise on the map.


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