Desert solar project could power 5 million EU homes through interconnector with Malta
A third cable that will link Tunisia with France and more towers that would bring capacity up to 4.5GW are also planned.
TuNur claimed in its request to the energy ministry that the power generated will be enough to power over 5 million homes or fuel over 7 million electric vehicles. Europe currently has about 100GW of solar photovoltaic power capacity, the bloc’s sixth largest source after natural gas, wind, coal, large hydro and nuclear.
If TuNur’s plan to add 4.5GW of renewable energy to the mix comes to fruition, then Brussels’ renewable energy targets will be easier to achieve, especially if the initial phase of 250MW comes online by 2020, when the EU’s 20% renewable energy goal has its deadline.
Although both DESERTEC and now TuNur have faced criticism and accusations of “colonisation”, the project insists that its planned facility will help prevent desertification and minimise water consumption. An impact study also predicts that 2,000 direct jobs and 20,000 indirect jobs could be created.
CSP technology works by focusing the sun’s rays onto a central tower using a vast array mirrors. Molten salt is then used to store the energy.