Desertec signs up first government partner

Morocco will be the testing ground for the high-profile Desertec renewable energy network after it signed up its first government partner, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy ( MASEN), for a solar farm to export power to Europe.
Desertec, worth a total of EUR400bn ($575bn), will connect solar and wind farms in North Africa and the Middle East to European consumers.
The Moroccan project is a key test for Desertec, which has won support among private companies, but has yet to gain significant backing from governments.
The projects require nations on both sides of the Mediterranean to invest capital and build power plants and transmission lines.
Morocco is seen as a promising site for renewables, with the government keen to support solar power, investing $9bn in five solar plants to producing 2000 MW in 2009.
With civil war in Libya and post-revolutionary governments in Egypt and Tunisia, Morocco is seen as a stable alternative to its neighbours.
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