There have been plans floating around for the last few years to create a Super Grid across Europe, the Middle east and North Africa to unite Power lines and ensure stability and effective sourcing of renewable energy. One problem often cited against the use of renewable energy such as Solar and wind power is, that it is very unpredictable and any calculated yields rely heavily on weather predictions which as we all know are far from infallible.
Desertec, in spite of the James Bond villan-esque title is a project headed up by engineers and researchers which loo0ks to resolve this, initially by augmenting networks which currently exist across Europe with trans Mediterranean links to Solar farms in North Africa and Geothermal facilities in Iceland where there is a large amount of electricity generation from volcanoes and heat form the earth’s core. The cost of the project has been estimated around 400bn EUR and it is aimed that up to 15% of Europe’s energy needs can be imported via this grid by 2050.
Many people have projected that energy concerns will be a topic of increasing political tension so whilst DESERTEC may be allaying those fears, and be inclusive of currently less developed nations, building their infrastructure and encouraging development it may also bring energy security problems of its own. One major feature of this will be the division of Power and who decides on distribution rights after the Network is established, If western Europe continues to siphon energy from Poorer states who’s future generations have little say and are powerless to stop this, then clearly they shaln’t put up with it for long. This potential ransom I feel is rightfully seen as an incentive of more powerful nations not to abuse the system and thus keeping a level playing field for both sides effectively stabilizing energy prices in a fairer system .
In the implementation of such large engineering challenges there will also be a lot of contracts and money flying around, in some states there is always the threat of corruption which must be monitored. But the one thing I see as a a current hindrance is the political instability of all problems. Again with the potential de-railment of this project at any stage, even whilst it is functioning it will remain a key target and any group with an axe to grind may see it as a legitimate target to get their voice heard. Ideologies and reasons aside I think that this is a key consideration as no m,atter how well implemented and how transparently administered until there is a more settled political landscape this project may face alot more difficulties along its roadmap.