11 Concentrated Solar Power plants in the North African desert will go ahead, thanks to confirmation by the Clean Technology Fund, which has green-lit the £5.6bn project.
Cited as one possible contributor to a pan-European and Mediterranean ‘supergrid’, the project will double the world’s installed Concentrated Solar Power.
The plants are designed to cut 1.7M t of CO2 every year - equivalent to removing 600,000 cars from the road, and will create some 10,000 jobs.
Initial £450M funding is from £5.3bn Clean Technology Fund, which is a joint venture between the World Bank and four multinational development banks.
Sites will be in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, using a mirror array of focus the sun’s rays to a fixed point, where high temperatures will run turbines.
International Development Minister Gareth Thomas, said: “Large-scale solar projects such as this have the potential to power the globe in the coming decades, offering us a route away from fossil fuels and limiting the potentially devastating impacts of climate change.
“Global financial support for renewable energy is absolutely vital if we are to meet the international emissions targets we are pushing for at Copenhagen,” he said.
North Africa has some of the best conditions for CSP: abundant sunshine, low precipitation, and large amounts of unused flat land close to road networks and transmission grids.
Construction is likely to begin in 2011 and the plants are expected to be running by 2015.