Funding has been secured for five huge green energy pilot schemes that will pipe clean electricity from north Africa to mainland Europe, NCE has learned.
The pilot projects will each supply 500MW of a mixture of photovoltaic, concentrated solar power and wind power energy via a high-voltage direct current grid to Europe, and are trials for a total of 20GW of power to reduce CO2 emissions and protect EU energy supply.
The final scheme is projected to cost £67.5bn.
Piling contractor Screwfast is bidding to supply foundations for the renewable structures and its marketing director Rod Ward Able told NCE that a meeting in Paris on Saturday will confirm funding details and the locations of the five test sites.
Each of the test sites are thought to be located in north Africa, although south eastern Europe is another candidate area.
Ward Able said they would be "extremely large sites" and would be a huge boost for photovoltaic (pv) production. "In photovoltaic terms this is like flying to the moon," he said. New undersea cables would link the sites to the EU in a "supergrid" similar to ideas espoused by Pell Frischmann sustainability director Tim Jervis.
The scheme aims to supply clean power to the EU at a cost of around 4.6 euro cents per kW/h.
Jervis said that this target was achievable, but the scale of the project is beyond anything currently in production and would take up 20% of global pv production.