By Kari Williamson
The TuNur CSP plant will be constructed in phases with the first phase expected to begin in 2014. The first electricity exports are set to reach Europe by 2016 via a new low-loss transmission line to Italy.
The DESERTEC Foundation is endorsing TuNur and believes that the CSP project can serve as a blueprint for the development of further wind and solar projects in the Sahara.
Nur Energie’s CEO, Kevin Sara, says: "TuNur is going to be the blueprint for things to come. It is a pioneering project that other governments, companies and individuals can point to and say, 'Solar energy export from North Africa to Europe is possible, it’s worthwhile and the DESERTEC vision is attainable'. We are used to transporting exhaustible fuels like oil and gas thousands of kilometres and then burning them close to our cities with all the associated pollution problems and other risks to humans and our environment.
“Now, with the TuNur project, we are turning away from these polluting fuels to transmit clean and inexhaustible energy from the heart of the desert to European homes whilst, at the same time, bringing jobs, economic development, and export revenue to Tunisia."
Director of the DESERTEC Foundation, Dr Thiemo Gropp, adds: "The project has been evaluated by a team of independent experts and, based on their review of the development work so far, it meets our criteria for an official DESERTEC Project. TuNur will benefit Tunisia by creating jobs and spurring investments in local education to aid the long term management of the plants after 2016.
“We will keep a close eye on developments to ensure the socio-economic benefits for Tunisians are maximized and that TuNur embodies the principles of the DESERTEC Concept. With this important first step, we are showing the world’s governments, industries and consumers that what many thought to be science fiction is actually science fact. We hope that this is the first of many more such plants to be built in the desert regions of the world."