Will TurNur’s Ambitious Saharan Power Export Project Be Successful?

TuNur has requested permission to construct a power plant situated in the Sahara Desert. If successful, this project may produce sufficient power, which will be relayed to 2 million homes in Europe via a submarine cable network.

TuNur Park
Source: nurenergie.com

Should the Tunisian authorities give the go ahead, this massive solar park will be exporting significant power to Europe in the foreseeable future.

This ambitious venture will generate 45 GW worth of power that will be piped first to Malta, then to Italy and finally to France.

As such, it is certainly the biggest power export project since the failed Desertec project.

A source from TuNur has stated authorities in Europe ought to take the Paris Accord with all the merit it deserves. He asserts that to be able to realize the lesser than 2o objective in terms of global warming, importing renewables is the key.

At the moment, sixty percent of Europe’s main energy is sourced from Russia and Arabia.

To this end, TuNur wonders if the EU wishes to continue making investments on infrastructure whose longevity is 50 years, but still promotes the utilization of fossil fuel.

The EU is now reflecting on giving the project a priority status.

TuNur forecasts that the building of the plant will commence in 2019 and cost 5 billion.

It has also said it can proceed to channel electricity to Europe’s power grid through Malta in 2023. In the consequent year, work on 2 cables connecting Malta and Italy will be completed. While another connection to France may be fully functional by 2024.

This solar park will span a massive area, which is 3 times bigger than Manhattan. It is scheduled to harness solar energy in the desert, and includes a couple of towers as much as 200 metres high.

TuNur solar park
Source: leconomistemaghrebin.com

There will be 100,000s parabolic mirrors that will relay reflected sunlight to the towers. In turn, this will heat up molten salts in the latter, which will boil water. This will lead to the production of adequate steam to move turbines, and ultimately power 2 million homes in Europe.

Also, this venture will create 20,000 jobs. It is a joint collaboration between UK-based developer Nur Energie along with private Maltese and Tunisian developers.

However, the spokesman for the Tunisian-Economic-Observatory has raised issues over the viability of the project. The agency, he asserts, isn’t very sure of TuNur’s credibility.

This, he says, is because they have only successful completed to smaller similar ventures. So, does TuNur possess the prerequisite capacity to see this ambitious venture through?

More to the point, do they have the financial clout to leverage it?

About 4 years back, the Desertec project failed, and with it, the dream of a Sahara energy source for Europe.

A War-On-Wants Northern African & West Asia chapter officer has raised concerns over the project being a ‘colonial’ scheme too. Such ventures, he stated, restrict access and control to the natives’ properties.

They also grab their resources and eventually focus the generated value to foreign elites.

Nevertheless, TurNur has claimed it signed a leasehold agreement with a local tribe for the land to build the plant.

The latter of whom are said to be very optimistic about the project.

While the water needed is to be sourced from a local date plantation’s waste water, which would ordinarily be recycled.

TurNur has also stated it is ready to supply power to Tunisia, which is currently experiencing power shortages.