Craig Morris just posted this nonsense. He really did:
Over the weekend, Deutsche Welle published a report that went almost unnoticed – the Desertec project “has been shelved.” Yet, when the project was announced, there was a lot of attention.
Of course, the Deutsche Welle article cited by Morris does not say “Desertec has been shelved”. He really should consider removing this misleading statement from his article. The article at Deutsche Welle, while trying hard to make Desertec look bad, actually reports that construction at Ourzazate has started. All the author of that piece says is that probably most of the electricity from that project will be consumed in Morocco, instead of being sold to the European Union.
If some day this kind of misleading statement was actually true, one would need to source it from Desertec or from the Desertec industrial initiative. I just checked their websites. It is a complete fabrication to assert that they have shelved the project.
Looking at the DII website, one notices that, quite on the contrary, the latest news is that the project at Ourzazate just launched construction.
Update: After some discussion on Twitter, I get the impression that Morris did not want to say “Desertec has been shelved”. He wanted to say something like “some projects in Morocco won’t deliver electricity from desert sites to Europe, but use the electricity themselves instead”. He also wrote that he actually likes power from the desert, as long as it is used for the people living there.
Still “Desertec is shelved” is rather different than “there will be no electricity transmissions from Morocco”.
As to this latter point, that will be just a question of market forces once the connections are there (there is already a small connection between Spain and Morocco, but there will be more of the same in the future). Having a larger area of the network will help stability of supply and be in the economic interest of everybody involved. There is no reason to artificially restrict access to the EU electricity market for African states.
It is much too early to say anything about how that will play out. We need to build some massive desert capacity first before we can see where it will be used.