Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation
The Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC),  also known as the TREC Development Group, is a voluntary association which was formed as an initiative of the German association of the Club of Rome and the Hamburg Climate Protection Foundation in September 2003.
TREC promotes an increase of Europe's energy supply, and a concomitant reduction of its CO2 emissions, by campaigning for renewable non-polluting electric power transmission to Europe via high-voltage direct current (HVDC) lines from solar and wind power stations in the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa.
In 2004 and 2005, TREC participated in Middle East and North Africa Renewable Energy Conferences MENAREC-1 and MENAREC-2, sponsored by Jordan's National Energy Research Center (NERC), which was founded in 1998 in Amman.
TREC is supported by, among others, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the German green party, the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (German physics society), the German Advisory Council on Global Change, Greenpeace, and Prince Hassan bin Al Talal of Jordan.
Additional recommended knowledge
German Aerospace Center (DLR) studies
Early in the 2000s, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) commissioned and funded the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute for Technical Thermodynamics (see technology, thermodynamics) for three studies to evaluate the following:
- the anticipated water and power needs through 2050 in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa;
- the potential for renewable energy in the Middle East and North Africa;
- the potential for an electric power transmission grid connecting the three regions.
Dr. Franz Trieb, the principal investigator for these studies, is a member of the TREC-Network.
Two studies, one on concentrated solar power (CSP) for the Mediterranean Basin, the other on trans-Mediterranean interconnection and infrastructure, have been completed. As of mid-2007, the third study of CSP for the desalination of seawater is in progress.
Images from DLR studies
Feasibility and implementation
The high solar radiation in the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa outweighs the 10-15% transmission losses between the desert regions and Europe. This means that solar thermal power plants in the desert regions are more economic than the same kinds of plants in southern Europe. The German Aerospace Center has calculated that, if solar thermal power plants were to be constructed in large numbers in the coming years, the estimated cost would come down from 9-22 EuroCent/kWh to about 4-5 EuroCent/kWh.
In addition to direct supporting measures, TREC proposes two projects which are technically feasible but would require financial and political support:
- Gaza solar power and water project: concentrated solar power plants, for the combined generation of electricity and desalination of sea water for Gaza, which could, it is hypothesized, be located in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula coastal region.
- Sana’a solar water project: desalination and power plants could be located near the Red Sea for the Yemen capital Sana’a which is facing the exhaustion in coming years of its ground water reserves, much of it used to irrigate qat. The additional cost of transporting desalinated water or pumping it to higher elevations can also be a significant, even an inhibiting, factor.
The European importation of electricity from the Middle East and North Africa entails political risks when the quota exceeds a certain level. Implementation would require cooperation between the states of Europe (e.g., France prefers nuclear power generation) and the states of the Middle East and North Africa.
- TREC/Club of Rome White Paper presented in the European Parliament on 28th of November 2007
- Study AQUA-CSP on the Potential of CSP for Seawater Desalination – A DLR Study for the BMU from 2007
- Study TRANS-CSP on an Intercontinental Transfer of Solar Energy – A DLR Study for the BMU from 2006
- Study MED-CSP on the Potential of CSP in the MENA Region – A DLR Study for the BMU from 2005
- Peter Hennicke, Nikolaus Supersberger: Krisenfaktor Öl. Abrüsten mit neuer Energie. oekom verlag, November 2006. ISBN 3865810608
- Toralf Staud, Nick Reimer: Wir Klimaretter - So ist die Wende noch zu schaffen. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Mai 2007. ISBN 3462039083
- ^ TREC homepage and TREC-UK website.
- ^ a b c Paper for Arab Thought Forum and Club of Rome, Amman (Version: 24-11-2003). Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation. Saharawind.com. “The TREC Development Group. Formed by initiative of the German Ass. Club of Rome, and of the Hamburg Climate Protection Foundation HKF.”
- ^ Pincas Jawetz (17 December 2005). North Africa - Middle East - Europe Renewable Energy Cooperation - an Elixir for the Future. Sustainable Development Media Think Tank. “TREC… is the brainchild of the German Association for the Club of Rome and the Hamburg Climate Protection Foundation… TREC actually was a paper for an Arab Thought Forum held in Amman 2003, in anticipation of the June International Conference on Renewable Energies 2004 in Bonn.”
- ^ Deutsche Gesellschaft Club of Rome (German Association Club of Rome) website.
- ^ Hamburger Klimaschutz-Fonds (HKF, Hamburg Climate Protection Foundation) website.
- ^ BBC Radio 4. Interview with Dr. Gerhard Knies (TREC). The World Tonight. Transcript published 27 November 2006 on Solarserver Forum for Solar Energy.
- ^ National Energy Research Center, Amman, Jordan. MENAREC-1 and MENAREC-2. NERC website.
- ^ National Energy Research Center, Amman, Jordan. MENAREC-2 conference program. NERC website.
- ^ NERC: The Agency for Energy Conservation. Mediterranean Association of the National Agencies for Energy Conservation (MEDENER).
- ^ a b TREC (16 October 2006). Club of Rome: German Politicians claim "Clean Power from the Deserts". Solarserver forum.
- ^ a b c d Rolf Hug (23 February 2007). Solar power from the desert rather than desert in Germany: renewable energy in a trans-European context. Solarserver forum.
- ^ Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen (WBGU, German Advisory Council on Global Change) website.
- ^ United Nations Environment Programme. Champion of the Earth 2007 West Asia: H. R. H. Prince El Hassan Bin Talal.
- ^ a b "MED-CSP: Concentrating Solar Power for the Mediterranean Region." German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute for Technical Thermodynamics (ITT), funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
- ^ a b "TRANS-CSP: Trans-Mediterranean interconnection for Concentrating Solar Power." DLR ITT, funded by BMU.
- ^ a b "AQUA-CSP: Concentrating Solar Power for Seawater Desalination." DLR ITT, funded by BMU.
- ^ Members of the TREC-Network as of August 2007.
- ^ Gerhard Knies and Franz Trieb (2006). Sun cheaper than Oil. franzalt.com Sun Page.
- ^ Sigmar Gabriel, BMU minister (19 April 2007). Innovative Policy and financing instruments for a sustainable energy policy in the European neighbourhood policy (html). eu2007.de, the website of Germany's January-June 2007 European Presidency.
- ^ a b Speech by Michael Müller, Parliamentary State Secretary for the BMU, at European "Integrating Environment, Development and Conflict Prevention" Conference, Berlin (29 March 2007). Energy, Natural Resources and the Environment: Challenges for Broadening the European Security Debate (html). bmu.de.
- ^ a b Ismail Al-Ghabiri and Amel Al-Ariqi. "Water expert: Desalination or displacement for Sana’a residents", Yemen Times, No. 958, Vol. 14, June 26-28 2006.
- Appropriate technology
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- List of HVDC projects
- List of solar thermal power stations
- Peak Oil
- Solar thermal energy