Munich Re logo
Not if, but how

Explore Munich Re Group

Get to know our Group companies, branches and subsidiaries worldwide.

12 companies plan establishment of a "Desertec Industrial Initiative"



    alt txt



    Munich – 12 companies today signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Munich to establish a "Desertec Industrial Initiative" (Dii). The objective of this initiative is to analyse and develop the technical, economic, political, social and ecological framework for carbon-free power generation in the deserts of North Africa. The Desertec concept, developed by the TREC Initiative of the Club of Rome, describes the perspectives of a sustainable power supply for all regions of the world with access to the energy potential of deserts. The founder companies of the Dii, whose regional focus is on Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), will be:

    • ABB
    • ABENGOA Solar
    • Cevital
    • Deutsche Bank
    • E.ON
    • HSH Nordbank
    • MAN Solar Millennium
    • Münchener Rück
    • M+W Zander
    • RWE
    • SCHOTT Solar

    The companies intend to establish a planning entity whose shareholders will include the Desertec Foundation. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in the presence of high-ranking representatives from German and international politics.

    Among the Dii’s main goals are the drafting of concrete business plans and associated financing concepts, and the initiating of industrial preparations for building a large number of networked solar thermal power plants distributed throughout the MENA region. The aim is to produce sufficient power to meet around 15% of Europe’s electricity requirements and a substantial portion of the power needs of the producer countries. All of the Dii's activities will be aimed at developing viable investment plans within three years of its establishment. The initiative’s clear focus on implementation is set out in the Dii Principles for all future Dii shareholders.

    Besides the business opportunities for the companies, there are other economic, ecological and social potentials:

    • Greater energy security in the EU/MENA countries
    • Growth and development opportunities for the MENA region as a result of substantial private investment
    • Safeguarding the future water supply in the MENA countries by utilising excess energy in seawater desalination plants
    • Reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and thus making a significant contribution to achieving the climate change targets of the European Union and the German Federal Government

    The Dii planning entity is to be established as a GmbH (limited liability company) under German law by 31 October 2009. It is envisaged that other companies will join the Dii once the company has been established. The aim is for the Dii to include shareholders from a variety of different countries.

    Representatives of the parties involved had the following to say about the joint initiative:

    The partnerships that will be formed across the regions as a result of the Desertec project will open a new chapter in relations between the people of the European Union, West Asia and North Africa.
    His Royal Highness Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan
    The founding of the Dii is a milestone in the Desertec Foundation's concept for global energy, water and climate security!
    Dr. Gerhard Knies
    Desertec Foundation
    Chairman of the Supervisory Board
    The establishment of the Dii is a giant leap by industry for the lasting protection of human life.
    Max Schön
    German Association of the Club of Rome
    ABB has developed High Voltage Direct Current transmission technology to connect power grids and utilise renewable energies. Climate protection needs innovative technologies.
    Dr. Joachim Schneider
    ABB AG
    Member of the Board of Management
    Today we are building North Africa's first private integrated solar combined cycle plant in Algeria and the region’s largest utility-owned integrated solar combined cycle plant in Morocco. Tomorrow Abengoa’s experience in transmission, desalination and solar projects in North Africa will make a significant contribution to the success of the Desertec objectives.
    Santiago Seage
    ABENGOA Solar
    Chairman and CEO
    It is time that everyone gets involved to preserve our planet and leave a better world for future generations. This is why Cevital considers this initiative as a new opportunity for the EUMENA region.
    Malik Rebrab
    Chief Executive Officer
    We are pleased to participate in the 'Desertec Industrial Initiative' and explore with our partners the feasibility of this trailblazing project. The Initiative shows in what dimensions and on what scale we must think if we are to master the challenges from climate change both in ecological and economic terms.
    Caio Koch-Weser
    Deutsche Bank
    Vice Chairman
    E.ON is convinced that the future belongs to solar technology in the long term. We share the Desertec vision of exploiting the sun’s energy on a grand scale to supply power to Europe and the African countries. We are supporting the initiative with a view to making this great idea possible. Apart from this, E.ON is constantly expanding its involvement in solar power, especially in the field of solar thermal power plants – as envisaged for supplying power in the Desertec Initiative.
    Dr. Hervé Touati
    E.ON Climate & Renewables
    Managing Director
    HSH Nordbank has a leading position in project financing for renewable energy, which is also very important for our home region. We are happy to contribute our financing know-how to the Dii.
    Peter Rieck
    HSH Nordbank
    Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management
    Desertec is a fascinating initiative and at the same time a major challenge worth working for. Our highly qualified engineers and managers are already facing such challenges and realising large solar thermal power projects in the Mediterranean region.
    Dr. Wolfgang Knothe
    CEO MAN Solar Millennium GmbH and member of the Board of Management of Solar Millennium AG
    We are pursuing a visionary plan. If it is successful, we will make a major contribution to combating climate change. The ecological and economic potential is huge. We will do our utmost to make this vision reality. Many thanks to all who are already giving us such strong support.
    Dr. Torsten Jeworrek
    Munich Re
    Member of the Board of Management
    As a leading international engineering firm in the field of photovoltaics and solar technology, we strongly support this strategic initiative of trade and industry. As we see it, the Dii can be a great success.
    Jürgen Wild
    M+W Zander Group
    Chairman and CEO
    The Desertec concept is a fascinating vision. We will contribute RWE’s energy expertise and, together with our partners, establish how and when the concept can be realised.
    Dr. Frank-Detlef Drake
    RWE AG
    Vice President Corporate Research and Development
    The SCHOTT receiver is at the very heart of parabolic trough technology. Our products have been in use in these power plants for decades.
    Prof. Dr.-Ing. Udo Ungeheuer
    CEO and Chairman
    Desertec can make a significant contribution to sustainable energy supplies. With its broad environmental portfolio, Siemens is the right technology partner for this visionary project.
    Dr. Rene Umlauft
    CEO Renewable Energy
    You can also find this press release on Munich Re’s website ( in Arabic, French and German. Other more specific information can be found on the websites of the participating companies and institutions.

    Media contacts of the companies involved in alphabetical order:

    ABB Deutschland
    Klaus Treichel
    Tel. 00 49 621 438 12 30

    Abengoa Solar
    Patricia Malo de Molina Meléndez
    Tel. 00 34 954 93 71 11

    Desertec Foundation
    Michael Straub
    Tel. 00 49 40 32 507 795

    Deutsche Bank Group
    Dr. Klaus Winker
    Tel. 00 49 69 910 322 49

    E.ON AG
    Dr. Christian Drepper
    Tel. 00 49 211 4579 889

    HSH Nordbank
    Ulrike Abratis
    Tel. 00 49 40 33 33 11463

    MAN Solar Millennium
    Sven Moormann
    Tel. 00 49 9131 94 09 0

    Münchener Rück
    Alexander Mohanty
    Tel. 00 49 89 3891 98 96

    M+W Zander
    Michael Gemeinhardt
    Tel. 00 49 711 8804 1420

    RWE AG
    Jan-Peter Schwartz
    Tel. 00 49 201 12 150 23

    Schott Solar AG
    Klaus-Bernhard Hofmann
    Tel. 00 49 6131 66 36 62

    Siemens AG
    Alfons Benzinger
    Tel. 00 49 9131 18 70 34

    The Munich Re Group operates worldwide, turning risk into value. In the financial year 2008, it achieved a profit of €1,528m on premium income of around €38bn. The Group operates in all lines of business, with around 44,000 employees at over 50 locations throughout the world and is characterised by particularly pronounced diversification, client focus and earnings stability. With premium income of around €22bn from reinsurance alone, it is one of the world's leading reinsurers. The primary insurance operations are mainly concentrated in the ERGO Insurance Group. With premium income of over €17bn, ERGO is one of the largest insurance groups in Europe and Germany. It is the market leader in Europe in health and legal expenses insurance, and 40 million clients in over 30 countries place their trust in the services and security it provides. In international healthcare business, the Munich Re Group pools its insurance and reinsurance operations, as well as related services, under the Munich Health brand. The global investments of the Munich Re Group amounting to €175bn are managed by MEAG, which also makes its competence available to private and institutional investors outside the Group.

    This media information contains forward-looking statements that are based on current assumptions and forecasts of the management of Munich Re. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the forward-looking statements given here and the actual development, in particular the results, financial situation and performance of our Company. The Company assumes no liability to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.