Genesis Morocco: MEDGRID+, A North African Supergrid Sine Qua Non

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Genesis Morocco

Project Genesis is a strategic sustainable development framework for Morocco to translate from being a net importer of energy and a country facing water shortage issues, into the number one producer both of clean renewable energy and water in the region.

Saturday, December 10, 2011    <<Home

MEDGRID+, A North African Supergrid Sine Qua Non

Well for the recent news, MEDGRID and DESERTEC joined forces, it was previsible, MEDGRID is into the transmission business whereas DESERTEC aims at generating a massive amounts of gigawatts from solar energy.

The question that remains is whether can MEDGRID look out of the narrow scope of South/North energy transmission and contribute its expertise and know how to realize another essential piece of the equation, a Northern African Supergrid, that will allow the region to share its power from as far as Egypt till Morocco.

Let me say that things cannot be otherwise, this Northern African Supergrid has see the light of day, because else we would be throwing money by the windows in duplicate capacity, and we wouldn't realize the full potential of development in this field.

We would also be seriously undermining our energy security by being islands in the desert, linked to Europe but not to our neighboring countries.

Speaking of islands, in the visual above gleaned on MEDGRID's new site and adapted to our aspirations for the region, the projected transmission line extend as far as Israel. I'm betting that in the future Israel will cease being an island and collaborate fully with the countries of the region.

But, let us stay focused on the matter at hand, a Northern African Supergrid, and develop on my assertion of why it has to be. If we are to contemplate the fact that MEDGRID would just go as far as link the projected renewable energy capacity of the Southern Mediterranean region to Europe, like in the original visual,

We know fully that a solar panel installed in the Morocco generates as much as 6 times more power than the very same panel installed in Germany for example. What that says is that we are 6 times more efficient in solar power generation then the Northern countries, what it also means is that we are 6 times more cost competitive. Europeans know it, and we know it.

So the European Commission, DESERTEC and MEDGRID will have to roll with the punch, or sweeten the deal depending on the perspective, by contributing towards the achievement of a Northern African Supergrid along with the linkage to Europe they are envisioning.

MEDGRID as it stands is a myopic project, and no the South should not stay idle to see its power pumped without any other added benefits then being paid in an inflated foreign currency. Even the €400BN DESERTEC has budgeted can be found elsewhere, investment is quite forthcoming when are more then 5 times more cost competitive than your target market. But Europe cannot be the sole market for North Africa's   solar energy, a Supergrid will enable the region with transmission capabilities as far as the Middle East, and from there it is a only a hop to the energy hungry markets of India and China.

Transmission over such long distances will not be an issue for much longer. A recent discovery by a Tel Aviv university team just developed superconductors that have the potential to revolutionize energy transfer, carrying about 40 times more electricity than today’s copper wire.

We are past the South resources being a bargain for Europe, and indeed looking forward to integrate our future grid with a similar one that is bound to take shape in the Middle East. As for Asians, they are already working on their own Supergrid.

South/North integration is inevitable and so it is more challenging to already look beyond what is bound to be. North/South and South/East are the future of the energy game for the region. When you add it all up together, today Europe has to realize that the real potential lies in the integration of its resources, such as the Northern Wind Belt it has built, with our solar capacity and the possibility of transmitting energy as far as Asia, and that standing with us as a partner, taking a stake in our own interests and preoccupations, is better then to stay entrapped of a narrow Eurocentric mindset.

As for us, a quick glance at the world map is very telling as to how essential we have become in the unfolding scheme of events I described as a junction between Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Concept of the Global Integrated Energy Grid by Buckminster Fuller

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