DESERTECTION: Social and Environmental Challenges of European-MENA Renewable Power Cooperation

A prerequisite for avoiding dangerous climate change is the complete decarbonization of the power systems of developed countries by mid-century, and developing countries must follow soon thereafter. This will almost certainly include heavy reliance on renewable energy sources, and could include complete reliance.

 Technical and economic analyses suggest that the size of renewables-based power systems matter, so that cooperation between continents, for example Europe and North Africa, will be an attractive option.

The transition to very large, international power systems with very high shares of renewables raises questions related to social and governance issues, challenges, and risks that so far remain under-researched. These include:

  • the social acceptance of devoting large land areas to renewable power generation, centralized and decentralized, and transmission in one’s own back yard and in far off places;
  • the governance options to resolve competing interests for scarce resources for such generation, primarily land and water;
  • the social implications of a system transformation, in particular human development impact of cooperation between industrialised and developing regions, and ways of arriving at improved outcomes;
  • the financing, construction and maintenance of an integrated power system across disparate and changing political and regulatory systems.

The goal of this project is to provide robust answers to these questions, based on the application of the most appropriate research methods, be they qualitative or quantitative, empirical or modeling-oriented.

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Last edited: 02 September 2014


Nadejda Komendantova

Research Scholar

Advanced Systems Analysis

T +43(0) 2236 807 285


Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer

Emeritus Research Scholar

Risk and Resilience

T +43(0) 2236 807 308


January 2013 - December 2017


Susanne Hanger-Kopp

Research Scholar

Risk and Resilience

T +43(0) 2236 807 508

Michael Thompson

Senior Research Scholar

Risk and Resilience

T +43(0) 2236 807 287

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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