.. Recent policies in Europe and the United States have led to a surge of
development in concentrating solar power (CSP), with generating capacity
due to expand by a factor of ten over the next five years. CSP with thermal
storage is one of the few renewable supply options that can provide base-load
and dispatchable power. The economic potential of CSP from desert regions is
larger than current global energy demand ; this means that CSP could replace
a large fraction of current thermal power generation from fossil fuels.
.. There have been several recent government and private sector initiatives to couple
the expansion of CSP capacity in North Africa with the development of high-voltage
direct current (HVDC) transmission lines to Europe. The European Renewable Energy
Directive (2009/28/EC) would allow such imported electricity to contribute to
member states’ 2020 emissions reductions targets, but there is no specific policy in
place to establish the financial and regulatory framework for any such development.
.. This study addresses the opportunities and risks associated with
European—North African cooperation on CSP development, as well as
the challenges that a policy framework must overcome.
..Opportunities CSP development in North Africa offers not only an affordable
option to help European countries achieve 2020 renewable energy targets
without sacrificing system reliability, but also the possibility of establishing
a lower-cost alternative to conventional power generation that could help
achieve global 2050 emissions reduction targets.
..Risks CSP development in North Africa is unlikely to increase Europe’s
energy import dependency or impose new risks of large-scale system
blackouts in the event of hostile state or terrorist activities. It may, however,
be blocked by potentially prohibitive financial risks for project developers
associated with the business and investment climate in North Africa.
..Challenges To stimulate the development of CSP and transmission capacity,
policies must address the barriers to siting international transmission lines in
Europe, the financial requirements of project and supply chain developers,
and the needs of North African countries to provide increased energy access
and sustainable job growth to their citizens.