Hengeler Mueller advises Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii) on the Implementation of the DESERTEC Concept; Cooperation with Amereller Legal Consultants

12. May 2010

Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii) is a unique industry initiative which was launched in 2009 with a view to analyzing and establishing the economic, technical and regulatory framework for a reliable, sustainable and climate-friendly energy supply from the deserts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to areas of local demand as well as to the European interconnected grid, including the development and integration of local industries. The long-term goal is to satisfy a substantial part of the energy needs of the MENA countries and to meet as much as 15% of Europe’s electricity demand by 2050.

The founding shareholders of the Dii joint venture are ABB, Abengoa Solar, Cevital, the DESERTEC Foundation, Deutsche Bank, E.ON, HSH Nordbank, MAN Solar Millennium, Munich Re, M+W Group, RWE, SCHOTT Solar and Siemens. In the meantime, Enel Green Power (Italy), Red Eléctrica de España (Spain), NAREVA Holding (Marocco) and Saint-Gobain Solar (France) have also become shareholders. It is intended that additional shareholders from Europe and the MENA region join the network in the near future with a view to internationalizing the initiative yet further.

Besides the shareholders, 15 large enterprises have joined the Dii network as so-called Associated Partners, including, among others, Audi, Commerzbank, Evonik Industries, First Solar, IBM, Morgan Stanley and OMV. Through the opening of the initiative to Associated Partners, Dii intends to extend its network of experts and to gain access to additional expertise. Associated Partners of Dii have access to the Dii network, are informed about the Dii’s work and the progress of its projects and are granted the opportunity to share their expertise in expert working groups.

In March 2010, Dii gained the support of Prof. Klaus Töpfer, the former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and internationally recognized expert. Prof. Töpfer will advise the initiative on strategic political and social issues with a view to realizing the DESERTEC vision in Europe and the MENA region.

The focus of Dii is a reliable, sustainable and climate-friendly energy supply from the MENA deserts to secure local demand and provide for transmission to the European interconnected grid. The intention is to use all relevant and field-proven technologies for power generation and transmission in order to gather important findings for a long-term roll-out plan, including concentrating solar power (CSP), photovoltaics (PV) and the entire spectrum of wind energy generation as well as co-current and alternating current transmission.

By the end of 2012, Dii plans to develop a long-term roll-out plan for the period up to 2050. Further, Dii intends to originate some early reference projects to prove the feasibility of the DESERTEC concept.

Hengeler Mueller is advising Dii comprehensively on all legal aspects at issue. The Hengeler Mueller team includes partners Hans-Jörg Ziegenhain and Steffen Oppenländer (both Corporate/M&A, Munich), Dirk Uwer (Energy Law, Environmental Law and Regulatory, Düsseldorf), Thorsten Mäger (Antitrust, Düsseldorf), Martin Klein (Tax, Frankfurt) and Christian Hoefs (Employment, Frankfurt). Hengeler Mueller is hereby cooperating with Amereller Legal Consultants, the MENA-focused law firm. The team from Amereller Legal Consultants includes Kilian Bälz (Projects and Energy, Cairo/Dubai) and Florian Amereller (Corporate/M&A, Dubai).