The Desertec project will be one of the beneficiaries of the MSP.

Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP)

These comments have been gathered at the Conference on the Mediterranean Solar Plan in Paris on November 22nd, 2008 at the French Ministry of ecology, energy and sustainable development.

Launched during the French presidency of the European Union (EU), the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP) is a key component of the Union for the Mediterranean (UM), which began on July 13th, 2008. Based on concrete projects, the UM’s interests include resource management in the Mediterranean (water, energy), environmental challenges and more broadly the development of economy and trade in the Mediterranean.

The Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP) includes sixty projects involving the countries of the south and the south-east of the Mediterranean. It mainly aims at security and energy independence of the Mediterranean basin, the control of energy consumption and the promotion of renewable energies in order to minimize the climate impact of energy exploitation.

Personalities of the Mediterranean have given their vision, expectations and priorities on this initiative:

-What is the use of a Mediterranean Solar Plan?

(Jean-Louis Borloo)

For the French minister of ecology, energy and sustainable development, the Mediterranean Solar Plan is a pillar of the Union for the Mediterranean and revolves around three objectives:

  • The construction by 2020 of 20 gigawatts of low carbon capacity production
  • Ensuring the profitability of projects through both local consumption and exports to the EU
  • Controlling the energy demand

According to him, this plan is crucial because:

  • This is a new era of cooperation around a Mediterranean convergence project
  • Economies development models are built on the energy dependency
  • The Plan allows a re-localization of energy production.

This is a technical, diplomatic and humanistic ambitious project: the first two years of the plan should see the development of 60 projects that form the solar plan, experimental phases, as well as administrative and financial procedures.

-European systems to support renewable energy and import green electricity in the Mediterranean region

(Matthias Machnig)

According to the German Minister for the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety, renewable energy has the advantage of creating a new market and jobs. However he believes that a political and economic framework should be given to these initiatives to give a strong signal to the market.

In addition, he considers solar energy as a new economic stage. Germany hopes to achieve 45% renewable energy by 2030.

Matthias Machnig stressed the importance of a new EU decision to accept the integration of imported renewable energy into the calculation of quotas for the national target under the « energy package ». This new method of calculation will therefore support the establishment of a new energy market.

However, investments must be made in the field of infrastructure.

-The Mediterranean Solar Plan: countries of the South already involved in the project, the example of Syria

(Ahmad Kayyali Kussay)

The Syrian Minister of Energy highlighted the increasing energy demand and dependency of Syria.

Syria has already established projects serving the objectives of the MSP, namely:

  • The production of solar panels
  • The drafting of terms of reference for the creation of a wind farm of 20 mega watts
  • The drafting of terms of reference for the establishment of four wind farms of 100 mega watts
  • The creation of a photovoltaic farm with a capacity of 10 mega watts in Homs.

In addition, in the legislative field, Syria has launched:

  • A law on energy conservation
  • Labels on energy efficiency as well as standards for domestic applications
  • Codes on thermal insulation for buildings

-The integration of a European energy policy and the Mediterranean Solar Plan

(Fabrizio Barbaso)

The Director General of Energy within the European Commission recalled that the Commission had adopted the second strategic review on energy which focuses on security of energy supply and energy solidarity between Member States.

Through these initiatives the EU will reduce its vulnerability. But it must undertake, particularly in the Mediterranean:

  • The development of  infrastructures, allowing the MSP to be launched,
  • The creation of the « Mediterranean Electricity ring” (connection between electric sets)
  • The encouragement of  market-oriented investments
  • The protection of oil and gas stocks,
  • A greater use of local energy resources,
  • The promotion of technology and research as the European strategic plan on energy advises.

– Energy efficiency projects under the MSP

(Benaissa Ayadi)

The president of ANME Tunisia (association of 12 national agencies on energy conservation) considers that ANME, under the MSP, could:

Promote regional programs,

  • Establish a support for sustainable development
  • Run training for public and private bodies
  • Give an assistance in the field of development,
  • Provide an assistance in technology transfer both North / South, South-South and South-North.

The ANME already has experience in the field of energy efficiency: the construction sector is the 3rd largest consumer of electricity in Tunisia while a gain of 20 to 30% is possible. The pilot project under the ANME has been to strengthen the insulation of 20 000 houses. Moreover, the generalization of 8 millions low consumption bulbs would lead to a gain in energy efficiency equivalent to the production of a 300 mega watts / year plant. Finally, energy labelling, already launched at a Mediterranean scale will also lead to energy efficiency and control of consumption.

-The challenge of network infrastructure

(François Meslier)

The head of MEDELEC (Association of Mediterranean electricians) said that there are four major electrical systems without continuity between them, around the Mediterranean:

  • UCTE: the European system, linked to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia
  • Turkey, who asked to be connected to UCTE
  • The Libya / Egypt / Jordan / Syria / Lebanon / Palestine
  • Israel

Developments in the short term are to be expected:

  • In 1997, Spain has been linked to Morocco by two cables of 700 mega watts. There are plans to install a 3rd one,
  • In 2009, after Turkey being aligned on UCTE system, UCTE and Turkey should be linked,
  • In 2005, an attempt to link the Libyan system to the Tunisian system failed. It is planned to try connecting Europe to Egypt,
  • Algeria should be linked in the coming years to Italy via two cables 1000 mega-watts,
  • There are also plans to connect Turkey to Syria, Tunisia to Italy and Libya to Sicily via Malta.

-What steps for the MSP?

(Philippe Lorec)

The head of the EC DG sees three stages for the establishment of the MSP:

  • Step 1: setting goals and organizing the implementation of the MSP (2009) which is to get each country approval for each project, to create necessary conditions for the profitability of the project as well as governance principles.
  • Step 2: development of economic and technical projects: experimental phases (2009/2011). Feasibility studies will have to be launched, investors to be found, the promotion of  public-private and private / private partnerships have to launched and harmonization between countries to be supported.
  • Step 3: development on a large-scale of the MSP’s projects (2011/2020)