Imported African Sunshine for the UK

TuNur is looking for UK government funding for its bright idea, which aims to power 2.5 million British homes with North African rays by 2018.

TuNur, which intends to import two gigawatts of solar energy generated in North Africa into British homes, has reportedly already spent 10 million euros developing a site in southern Tunisia.

“This is not a back-of-the-envelope fantasy,” TuNur’s Chief Executive, Kevin Sara, told BBC News.

“We are working with some of the largest engineering firms in the world. This is a serious project. Yes, it is risky like any big energy project is risky. But there is nothing new about moving energy from North Africa to Europe.”

The Tunisian parliament has passed legislation for the export of the energy to go ahead. The firm is a cooperative venture between Tunisian investors led by TOP Group and Glory Clean Energy and UK-based Nur Energie, which hold a 50 percent share respectively.

“We are able to deliver dispatchable, low-carbon electricity to the UK more cheaply than offshore wind and more cheaply than nuclear – all we’re asking for is the chance,” Sara told the BBC. “Allocate us 2GW and let’s see what we can do with it.”

The BBC reports the company has reached an agreement with an Italian network operator to build an undersea cable linking to a substation in Italy, where it can connect with the European grid.

The project will use concentrated solar power (CSP) technology, which stores generated energy and can be switched on and off when needed.

TuNur promised its electricity supplies will be secure and 20 percent cheaper than home-grown sources, like offshore wind.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Environment Secretary Liz Truss has said large-scale solar farms are “a blight on the landscape.”

“I’m very concerned that a lot of our land is being taken up with solar farms,” she told the Mail on Sunday. “We’ve already got 250 of them and we’ve got 10,000 football pitches worth of new solar farms in the pipeline.”

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