A consortium of clean energy developers has applied for permission to build a gigantic solar power plant on the edge of the Sahara desert, which will be linked to Europe by a number of undersea cables and could power over 5 million homes.

TuNur’s planned project in Tunisia hopes to tap into the Sahara desert’s vast potential to provide solar power. Its request to the Tunisian energy ministry envisages a facility in the southwest of the country that will produce 4.5GW of power.

Chief Executive Kevin Sara claimed that an initial 250MW could be up and running, powering Europe via an interconnector with Malta, by 2020. It would mean an extra 1,000GWh of clean power a year being made available to the European grid.

Italy and Malta’s energy grids are already connected via a 95km link that came online in 2015.

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