The European Union's White Paper has clearly stated the strategic dimension that renewable sources of energies will have in the share of the Union's future electricity production. Various causes are pushing for such developments amongst which, the depletion of fossil fuels, the heavy dependency of the European Union on their supply and the consequences of global climate change aggravated by a growing need for electricity worldwide.
In its Energy Roadmap 2050 released in late 2011, the EU commission predicted that by 2050 wind power would provide more electricity than any other technology in the "High Renewables" scenario. Based on technological innovation and the development of new energy infrastructures with storage capacities across Europe and its neighbors, this scenario laid out broader policy frameworks. In 2003 the EU Energy and Transport Directorate predicted that Wind Energy would reach 135 GW or 12% of overall EU power generation capacity in its trends to 2030 scenario. In 2015 however, 141 GW of wind energy were already online in Europe from under 13 GW in the year 2000 (2% of EU capacity). These earlier predictions were made assuming that no specific new environmental policies and measures aimed at meeting Kyoto targets in 2008-2012 and possible more severe ones in the future are implemented. This, they claimed, would be an unlikely scenario to happen. In fact, the International Energy Agency predicted in its ' World Energy Outlook 2010 ' New Policies Scenario for 2035, that wind power in the European Union would account for more than 40% of cumulative capacity additions supplying more incremental electricity generation than any other source. This has already happened in several countries.
Since access to fossil fuels and threatening climate change effects related to their use represent global problems, an international cooperation is needed. EU regulations provide a legal framework for Trans-European electricity supply networks. The extension of these networks to neighboring EU countries would be of mutual benefit. By addressing security of supply concerns through additional sources of renewable energies, far-reaching economic returns could be accomplished.
Several EU directives, programs and incentives are aimed at diversifying, enhancing and optimizing the Union's energy security of supply. Financial guaranties may be even obtained for such projects that are similar to natural gas pipelines, which created productive economic linkage between different partners.
The German-Russian natural gas tube business built at the end of the cold war set a constructive example for that matter. Today, wind energy could go way beyond this model in developing a more inclusive sustainable energy industry. This is something that the Russian gas example -which has since shown its limits- did not achieve. As energy security, diversification of supply, sustainability and the safeguarding of the environment represent global issues; cooperation with North Africa states needs to be encouraged. This would open new collaborative development possibilities enabling countries to integrate local manufacturing industries aimed at capitalizing on their respective renewable energy potentials.
Due to the exceptional nature of the trade winds, the development of a domestic wind industry could gradually feed into a lasting sustainable energy supply network. Opening the Euro-Mediterranean energy market to renewable electricity exchanges, will generate a dynamic with much needed industrial employments. In today's context, this represents a significant stability asset for a region threatened by social uprisings due to limited inclusive development prospects.
This policy option was mentioned in the Union for the Mediterranean Solar Plan, which seeks to establish a common strategic policy framework on both sides of the Mediterranean. Through concrete projects such as Sahara Wind which can help the region meet its 20 GW targets for 2020, the Mediterranean Solar Plan provides a new dimension to the European Union's Neighborhood policy.
Historically, the European Union's Barcelona process MEDA and now EUROMED programs funded parts of the existing 700MW undersea cable interconnection linking both continents through Spain and Morocco. This electrical interconnection run by bilateral agreements, has already been doubled to 1400 MW. While studies for an undersea link with Portugal are underway, extension plans are also considered. At present time, only limited amounts of wind-electricity can be transferred. Due to its remoteness, the existing grid which connects North African load centers to the Saharan region remains weak. This prevents power flows from occurring on an effective scale. Sidestepping transmission and intermittency challenges by feeding broader grid networks, the Sahara Wind Project’s HVDC line taps a tremendous wind resource.