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It's actually relatively easy. Desertec is low-tech -- no expensive nuclear fusion reactors, no CO2-emitting coal power plants, no ultra-thin solar cells. The principle behind it is familiar to every child who has ever burnt a hole in a sheet of paper with a magnifying glass. Curved mirrors known as "parabolic trough collectors" collect sunlight. The energy is used to heat water, generating steam which then drives turbines and generates electricity. That, in a nutshell, is how a solar thermal power plant works.
Too many questions remain unanswered. Who will pay for the electricity network? Who would own it? Could the various stakeholders agree on a collective guaranteed price for solar thermal electricity fed into the grid?
A lack of money is not the problem. "Renewable energy is in," says Nikolai Ulrich of HSH Nordbank. "It is relatively easy at the moment to get investment for renewable energy projects."