When power generation for cities is considered, it is very seldom that such a discussion ends with "created locally". The plans for the Sahara desert to become the largest solar production region in the world to meet the demand for electricity in Europe is no exception. While commendable, there is a major drawback to such a system. The transmission of the power will lose a percentage roughly 7.4% on its way to Europe through high tension lines that are the standard for electrical transmission long distance.
The idea to use solar to power Europe is phenomenal and should be commended for the leadership the project will demonstrate on a global scale. However, the question in my mind remains, why couldn't the same amount of power be produced locally block by block within a kilometer of where it will be consumed? No doubt the amount of steel and other resources needed to build the infrastructure for a centralization of solar production in the Sahara could be greatly reduced by deploying neighborhood scale power production, storage and resale in Europe.
The referenced story and image via Treehugger.
Solar Energy in the Sahara to Power Europe Gains Support