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Terrorists Versus the Sun: Desertec in North Africa as a Case Study for Assessing Risks to Energy Infrastructure

NCJ Number
Risk Management Volume: 14 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2012 Pages: 3-26
Karen Smith Stegen; Patrick Gilmartin; Janetta Carlucci
Date Published
February 2012
24 pages
This article presents an analytic structure that allows for assessing risks to energy infrastructure and large energy projects around the world.
As renewable energies gain both in importance and in share of the global energy mix, questions arise as to whether they will face the same energy security challenges - such as terrorist attacks - that have confronted the oil and gas industry. This article addresses the risk of terrorism to the infrastructure associated with renewable energies and electrical power systems and transmission lines. It reviews the capacities of various risk assessment tools and analyzes the potential terrorist threat to the Desertec concept, which envisions meeting 15 percent of Europe's electricity demand by 2050 with renewable energy sourced from the Middle East North Africa region. Some industry observers have already voiced grave concerns about potential European dependence on this region, specifically because of the presence of terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, which was responsible for the 2001 attacks in the United States. The data for the Desertec case study analysis are partly informed by a series of interviews conducted with correspondents located in Europe and in North Africa. (Published Abstract)