Comparing the incomparable: Lessons to be learned from models evaluating the feasibility of Desertec
Backhaus K., Gausling P., Hildebrand L.
Desertec's proposal to produce renewable energy in North Africa and transmit it to Europe would be a possible solution to many energy-related problems. The feasibility of Desertec has been investigated in various studies, with mostly positive, but differing results. The four main feasibility calculation models are analyzed to identify the underlying reasons for these mixed results. The findings demonstrate that the models' comparability is limited due to varying assumptions, but, more importantly, that the models do not account for uncertainty comprehensively and omit important risks. We assume that these omitted risks, i.e. country-specific, political, and organizational risks, are vital to the success of such a large-scale project and that they influence the financeability of the project. An analysis of press reports about Desertec supports this argumentation. Hence, it is argued that, in order to determine Desertec's feasibility, these risks need to be considered. Possible ways how to consider risk and include risk in the calculations are pointed out.
Country-specific risks; Desertec; Feasibility models; Organizational problems; Risks; Uncertainty