The expanding economies in the southern and eastern Mediterranean area increasingly need affordable and efficient energy and water for sustainable development. EU researchers in the 'Combined solar power and desalination plants: technico-economic potential in Mediterranean partner countries' (MED-CSD) project have investigated how hybrid solar/fossil thermal power plants can help. The scientists examined the technico-economic potential of concentrating solar power (CSP) technology for electricity and desalination in the Mediterranean. According to them, hybrid solar/fossil operation offers a smooth transition from the fossil fuel to a solar economy. The new system can supply a firm power capacity to the grid, with up to 8\;000 full load operating hours per year. MED-CSD researchers carried out feasibility studies of combined concentrated solar power and desalination plants in five locations: Cyprus, Egypt, the Italian islands, Morocco, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These studies included a complete review of technology options, an assessment of water demand and deficit as well as of electricity demand, and subsequently market potential scenarios for CSP desalination and electricity generation. Also included was an overview of the socioeconomic impact of a broad dissemination of CSP water desalination.