British firm, TuNur Limited, has submitted an authorization request to the Tunisian Ministry of Energy, Mines and Renewable Energy, for establishing a 4.5 GW solar export project, believed to be the largest in the world. The project will be located in the Sahara Desert in Southwest Tunisia, near Rejim Maatoug.
According to TuNur CEO, Kevin Sara, the project’s location will allow it to produce twice as much electricity in comparison to sites in central Europe. The project will cater to the growing European market demands for carbon-free electricity. It also aims to trigger economic development in the interior region of Tunisia.
The project is aimed at local development and Tunisian industrial participation in the supply chain. Similarly, part of the production will be open to local and national consumption.
The carbon-free electricity TuNur aims to generate will be sufficient to power over five million European homes or over seven million electric vehicles. In addition, three HDVC underwater cable systems are under development. The establishment of these cables will reduce power transportation costs to Europe.
The first of these cables will run between Tunisia and Malta and will help reinforce the latter’s position as an energy hub in the center of the Mediterranean. The first phase will cost approximately €1.6 billion and generate 250 MW of electricity. The part of the project is expected to be complete by 2020.
The second cable system is set to link Tunisia and central Italy, touching upon the North shore of Rome while the last cable is currently under study and will link the country to the South of France. Upon completion of the construction of all the three cables, the plant will have a total of 18 towers generating 125MW of electricity.
This project is meant to find solution to Europe’s increasingly urgent challenges in the energy sector and is part of the Paris Climate Agreement emission’s reduction targets. It will also make fossil fuel and nuclear power plants obsolete.