Cheap African solar energy could power UK homes in 2018

Investors are seeking funding from the UK government for an ambitious plan to import solar energy generated in North Africa. Under the scheme, up to 2.5 million UK homes could be powered by Tunisian sunshine by 2018. The company involved says they have already spent 10 million euros developing the site.

A number of overseas energy producers are competing to bring green energy to the UK from 2017. The TuNur project aims to bring two gigawatts of solar power to the UK from Tunisia if the company wins a contract for difference (CFD) from the British government. Under new rules published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) in the Summer, the government will allow developers of renewable energy projects that are not based in the UK to bid for contracts that guarantee subsidies to supply power.

TuNur, which is a partnership between British renewables investor Low Carbon, developer Nur Energie, and Tunisian investors, says it has already spent 10 million euros developing the site in the southern area of the country. The company has gathered three years of solar data from the location, which it says has been independently verified. Legislation has also been passed in the Tunisian parliament to facilitate the export of the energy, and an agreement has been reached with the Italian network operator to connect a dedicated undersea cable to a substation near Rome. Via Cheap African solar energy could power UK homes in 2018.

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