Desertec aims to start work on a 500 MW solar plant in Morocco next year that would become the first plant in its efforts to develop massive solar and wind capacity across North Africa and the Middle East.

It was announced at the company’s annual conference in Cairo that “all systems are go” in Morocco. The €2bn ($2.8bn) concentrating solar power (CSP) plant would use parabolic mirrors to generate heat for conventional steam turbines.

Desertec is in talks with Tunisia for the next stage of the project and the next “obvious” country should be Algeria, because it is located close to the European grid, said Paul van Son, chief executive of Dii GmbH, Desertec’s project management company.

The German-led Desertec venture aims to establish a €400bn ($551bn) network of wind farms and solar installations across North Africa and the Middle East. The initiative includes Deutsche Bank, E.ON, Munich Re and Siemens.

Bosses at Desertec aim for it to generate as much as 15 per cent of Europe’s electricity supply by 2050.

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