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Concentrating Solar Power

A solar collector assembly

Concentrating solar power (CSP) systems concentrate the energy from the sun for electricity production. This is done by heating a fluid which is then used to raise steam for a conventional turbine for on and off-grid electricity provision. These systems can also provide heat, either at high temperatures directly for chemical reactions, e.g., chemical processing, or as a by-product for desalination plants or cooling systems, depending on requirements.

In the Saharan deserts of Tunisia DESERTEC will carry out a project called "TuNur" (

Using thousands of mirrors to track the Tunisian sun to use its heat to generate electricity, the TuNur Concentrating Solar-thermal Power (CSP) plants will ultimately produce 2 Gigawatts of electricity, roughly double the average nuclear power plant. Project developer Nur Energie and its Tunisian partners, led by Top Oilfield Services, plan to construct the project in several phases. The first phase is expected to begin in 2014 and the first electricity exports are set to reach Europe by 2016 via a new low-loss transmission line to Italy. The project has been designed to reduce water requirements to a bare minimum by using a dry, air-based cooling system.

Implementing Partners: 

The DESERTEC Foundation is a global civil society initiative aiming to shape a sustainable future:

NUR Energie Ltd. is an independent solar project development company active in the Mediterranean region:

TuNur Ltd. is a joint-venture company between Nur Energie and a group of Tunisian investors led by Top Oilfield Services.

Top Oilfield Services S.a.r.l is a Tunisian specialist oil- and gas-industry services company with over 20 years of experience in the North African market.


Stage of Project: 
Main activity and output: 

TuNur is planned to produce 2 Gigawatts of electricity using concentrated solar power. The first project phase is expected to begin in 2014 and the first electricity exports are set to reach Europe by 2016 via a new low-loss transmission line to Italy.

TuNur can produce electricity on demand day and night, delivering enough clean electricity to power 700 000 European homes.

Expected impact: 

The project will focus on maximizing local value creation in Tunisia. It provides the country with the opportunity to begin building a new industrial sector, bringing investment, jobs, and thus economic development. Investment will mainly benefit the southern and interior parts of the country, which look set to become a priority area for development for the Tunisian government. The number of jobs created directly and indirectly over the project’s construction and operational period will come to around 20,000. As well as relying on local partners and management for project development and local engineering firms, the project will also create new manufacturing industries. For example, around 825,000 flat plate mirrors and steel structures known as heliostats will be needed for the 2 Gigawatt project and can be manufactured locally.

Information about costs: 

to be added

Lessons learned: 

TuNur demonstrates that investing in renewables where those energy sources are most abundant is the most effective way of protecting the climate. In Tunisia, space is more abundant and the solar radiation is up to three times that of Central Europe.