The British Broadcasting Corporation reported that under the scheme, up to 2.5 million UK homes could be powered by Tunisian sunshine by 2018.
Investors are seeking financial support from the United Kingdom government for an ambitious plan to import solar energy generated in North Africa. The company concerned said they have already spent €10m developing the site.
The TuNur project aims to transmit two gigawatts of solar power to the UK from Tunisia if the company wins a contract for difference from the British government.
TuNur, which is a partnership between British renewable investor Low Carbon, developer Nur Energy, and Tunisian investors, said €10m had already been spent in developing the site in the southern area of the country.
Under new rules published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change in the summer, the government will permit developers of renewable energy projects that are not based in the UK to bid for contracts that guarantee subsidies to supply power.
The company had gathered three years of solar data from the location, which it said had been independently confirmed.
Legislation has also been passed in the Tunisian parliament to facilitate the export of the energy, and an agreement has been reached with the Italian network operator to connect a dedicated undersea cable to a substation near Rome.
Kevin Sara, Chief Executive of TuNur said their plans involve using concentrated solar power technology. This allows the developers to store some of the energy generated so that the supply is “dispatchable”. It can be switched on or off on demand.
“We have a singular project, which we are trying to realise. They were an industrial consortium that was trying to develop an idea. We are able to deliver dispatchable, low-carbon electricity to the UK more cheaply than offshore wind and more cheaply than nuclear – all we’re asking for is the chance. Allocate us 2GW and let’s see what we can do with it,” he explained.