A consortium of German blue chip companies is to raise funds for a massive photovoltaic project in North Africa that will provide Europe with green energy.

Energy companies RWE and Eon as well as Siemens, Deutsche Bank, and reinsurer Munich Re are to meet on 13 July to draw up an agreement on the project.

The businesses are to pool together their resources in order to fund the long-mooted Desertec scheme.

Desertec would see solar power plants built in North Africa in order to harness green energy that could be transported back to Europe.

Munich Re said that it believes electricity produced in solar thermal power plants in Africa and transported to Europe via new, direct current power grids “could play a key role in the sustainable energy mix of the future.”

Torsten Jeworrek, board member at Munich Re, said: “This is no longer a distant vision but technologically fascinating and achieveable. Desertec is banking on the right incentives in the long term, namely climate protection and a low-carbon energy sector."

According to the Desertec foundation, around 20 m2 of desert would be enough to meet the individual power demand of one human being day and night, CO2 free.

The consortium hopes the move will drum up support and funding from other companies around Europe. They say that if successful the project could see Europe powered by solar energy within a decade.

It is estimated that Desertec will cost around £337 billion.