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Africa-to-Europe solar energy ‘no longer distant vision’

african-dunesOne of the central tasks facing the global economy as it combats climate change is converting power supply systems to make greater use of renewable energies and climate friendly technologies, according to global insurance firm Munich Re.

As a result, Munich Re has developed innovative insurance offerings to is help provide planning certainty to investors in new power-plant technologies. Even investing in an industrial-scale solar energy plant in the deserts of North Africa can be considered a possibility, according to the firm.

Electricity produced in African solar thermal power plants — the DESERTEC concept — and transported to Europe via new, direct-current power grids could play a key role in the sustainable energy mix of the future.

“This is no longer a distant vision but technologically fascinating and also achievable,” said Torsten Jeworrek, a Munich Re board member. “DESERTEC is clearly banking on the right incentives in the long term, namely climate protection and a low-carbon energy sector. We are therefore commencing a dialogue with visionary thinkers and companies that, like us, are convinced of DESERTEC’S enormous economic, ecological and social potential.”

Munich Re describes its new coverage concepts in a publication released this week: “Munich Re newables — Our contribution to a low-carbon energy supply.”

“Whether it is a matter of classic water and wind renewable energy forms or new methods of power generation involving solar thermal plants or photovoltaics, ultimately it is always about minimising the risks for investors,” Jeworrek said. “As a leading reinsurer, we are accordingly tapping into new business segments.”

For instance, Munich Re recently created a performance guarantee cover for producers of photovoltaic modules. The offering gives producers an opportunity to purchase insurance covering them in the event that mandatory reserves for claims under performance guarantees prove insufficient.

Whilst that solution is geared to the technical quality of photovoltaic modules, other performance guarantee options take into account nature’s whims. For instance, because primary energy forms such as sun and wind can fluctuate considerably over time, Munich Re offers special wind and solar energy policies that minimise earnings volatility and are designed to meet the specific coverage needs of investor or financing bank.

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