The energy turnaround in Europe has started. Germany, especially, increases the share of renewable energies continuously. There are already several towns and villages that are completely independent of fossil energy. But this picture does not show the whole story.
It will be difficult to produce all of the energy needed throughout those countries in the European Union merely with renewable energies. Even to produce some more renewable energy in Europe directly will be possible, the gap to replace fossil energies completely is still big.. We have to keep in mind that 30% of the energy is used in households, 30% for transportation, and 30% by industry. My estimation is that Europe can produce only 50 to 60% of their energy use within Europe itself. Even the high demand for energy by industry would be difficult to source only within Europe.
Because of this, it makes sense for Europe to look to its neighbor to the south. There is a big potential in the North African deserts, which are not far from Europe and are not highly populated. There is an estimate of sourcing costs in the picture below for the year 2015. It shows that we should really start to develop this region as an energy source.
Initiatives like DESERTEC are working to achieve this, and I think that they are close to making the energy turnaround in Europe complete.
Why does DESERTEC have more critics than followers? Here we have the same problems seen in the German energy policies at present time: The interest of some companies and the strong lobby work of certain companies are hindering the success of these initiatives.
This is especially visible in Germany’s struggles to improve their grid to a powerful smart grid. Every day, they are facing new challenges.
It would be much more advisable for Germany’s energy lobby to participate in projects like DESERTEC to protect their business interests. In the long term, they will never be capable of hindering the inevitable energy changes that are coming.