The Maghreb Union is a common market formed in 1989 to promote cooperation and economic integration of 5 North African Arab states: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Western Sahara. These states border the Mediterranean Sea and have historical connections with Southern Europe.
Now the plan is to link the Maghreb nations electrically with Europe for mutual benefits to both.
European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger met with three Maghreb energy ministers to help create their electricity market and prepare for integration with the UCTE (Union for the Coordination of Electricity Transmission) grid of Europe. While Germany, Denmark and Spain are leaders in solar and wind development, the EU nations still depend on coal, gas and nuclear energy for the bulk of their power needs. By linking high-voltage grids under the Mediterranean Sea, abundant solar energy can be made available to Europe and income earned by the Maghreb nations – a win-win deal for all.
What few realize is the potential of this untapped energy resource on our planet. The illustration offers a shocking assessment – just a small portion of the world’s deserts could power everything! These CSP (concentrated solar power) systems would be spread around the world’s deserts and linked to existing and expanding transmission networks on each continent.
There is no lack of renewable energy potential, it’s just that often the best wind, geothermal, hydro and solar resources are remote from where we work and live. Transmission is the freeway for that clean energy to reach our cities and industry. If the European Union and Maghreb nations can cooperate, so can other regions and continents.
In partnership for the planet,