Transforming Energy in Europe


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Dr Gerhard Knies, a keynote speaker at the marcus evans Transmission & Distribution Summit EMEA 2010 discusses the Desertec Foundation’s solar energy project and meeting energy demands in Europe.

Interview with: Dr Gerhard Knies, Founder, Desertec Foundation

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Transforming Energy in Europe

  1. 1. 26 – 28 May 2010 | Majestic Barrière | Cannes | FranceTransforming Energy in Europe Dr Gerhard Knies, a keynote speaker at the marcus evans Transmission & Distribution Summit EMEA 2010 discusses the Desertec Foundation’s solar energy project and meeting energy demands in Europe. Interview with: Dr Gerhard Knies, Founder, Desertec FoundationFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE They will not need to build costly electricity storage facilities such as hydropower pumping stations. The solar heat forThe Desertec Foundation’s solar energy project is Europe’s the plants in the desert can be stored from day to night andanswer to addressing climate change and energy demand power generation adjusted according to demand.increases. A mammoth project in the Sahara desert involvingseveral countries and hundreds of solar thermal power How would you address concerns that heavilyplants, the Desertec concept will define and transform relying on Africa to supply energy in Europeenergy generation for future generations. Within six hours, could cause problems?deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankindconsumes within a year, says Dr Gerhard Knies, the Desertec Dr Gerhard Knies: The level of information made availableFoundation’s Founder. Therefore it makes sense to put on some African countries is limited. We usually only hearthat freely available solar power to good use. A speaker of the horrible events taking place, but daily life is quiteat the marcus evans Transmission & Distribution regular. It is also in these countries’ best economic interestSummit EMEA 2010 taking place in France, 26 – 28 May to deliver power to Europe reliably and I believe they are2010, Knies shares his thoughts on the future of power keen on doing so. It is the first time that they will be abletransmission and distribution in Europe. to generate an industrial product that is needed in Europe. It is important to have in mind that there will be hundredsHow will the Desertec Foundation solve the of plants producing energy, therefore one or two unreliableenergy issues facing European countries? ones will not endanger the delivery of power to Europe. Cooperating on the project will also stabilise relationsDr Gerhard Knies: There are major problems with renewable between the countries, and they will come to realise thatenergy sources in Europe. Wind energy is a volatile working together leads to a win-win situation.source of power, thus cannot be solely used to stabilise asupply system. Photovoltaics cannot keep up with energy How can transmission and distribution executivesdemands because of intrinsic fluctuations, which would get ready for the upcoming changes?cause transmission and distribution problems. This is wherethe Desertec Foundation comes into play – it would take Dr Gerhard Knies: New infrastructure including new transmissiononly 15 per cent of the power generated by the solar lines will need to be set up in Europe. Power transmissionthermal power plants to stabilise European grids. Desertec chief executives should get together with the potentialwill help Europe stabilise energy supplies in a cost efficient power producers in North Africa and start planning for theway, with a capacity that can be involved when needed. changes ahead.
  2. 2. 26 – 28 May 2010 | Majestic Barrière | Cannes | FranceWhat is your outlook on the future of this sector in Europe will move away from domestic coal-firedindustry? power plants which supply about 50 per cent of electricity today, to supplying the clean energy produced in theDr Gerhard Knies: Depending on how fast we move along, Saharan desert. There will be a transition from a very localI would imagine that by 2020 there will be power generation of power to a more international one. Theplants producing 15 to 30 gigawatts of power. We have different sites of wind energy from the North Sea andgenerated a lot of interest from investors, which need to African Atlantic shorelines, and solar energy sites in thebe put in place. In addition, transmission lines must be Sahara will need to integrate with the local renewableset up, and agreements signed between the European energy sources, requiring more transmission and moreUnion and the North African countries involved. The power distribution. Contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division Tel: +357 22 849 313 Email: About the Transmission & Distribution EMEA Summit 2010 This unique forum will take place at the Majestic Barrière, Cannes, France, 26 – 28 May 2010. Offering much more than any conference, seminar or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The summit includes presentations on securing energy supply, renewable energy sources and smart metering solutions. For more information please send an email to or visit the event website at Please note that the summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited. About marcus evans Summits marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-to-one business meetings. For more information, please visit All rights reserved. The above content may be republished or reproduced – kindly inform us by sending an email to