Twin Solar Thermal Plants Commence Operation in Spain
Two identical 50-MW solar thermal power plants just went into operation in Spain in January. They, the Valle 1 and Valle 2, are located in San José del Valle in Cadiz (in the South of Spain). They are being operated by Torresol Energy, and the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for the two projects, as well as 100% of the technology and engineering, were provided by SENER, which now has 24 solar thermal power plants representing 1,500 MWe of power installed or under construction in Spain, US and India.
These are the second and third solar power plants Torresol Energy is operating, following Gemasolar’s start in October.
“Construction on Valle 1 and Valle 2 began in December 2009, and was completed in December 2011,” Torresol Energy writes. “In January 2012 the plants were connected to Spanish national grid for commercial operations. Roughly 4,500 workers worked over 2,700,000 hours to build and launch the twin projects during the two construction years.” Nothing to scoff at.
Here are some more facts on the new solar thermal power plants:
- They will each “produce 160 GWh of power per year, equivalent to the amount of power consumed by 40,000 households.“
- They will “cut CO2 emissions by approximately 90,000 tons/year” (together).
- They can produce electricity for up to 7.5 hours without a trace of sunlight due to their energy storage capabilities.
Torresol Energy & Masdar Power Looking to Expand into Other Sunny Regions
Not stopping there, Torresol expects to start work on new concentrated solar power (CSP) projects in other countries “located in what is referred to as the sun-belt region,” Enrique Sendagorta, President of Torresol Energy, said.
“It is worth mentioning that, due to the financial strength of Torresol Energy’s partners, SENER and Masdar, the Valle 1 and Valle 2 projects werefinanced through seven Spanish commercial banks in 2009 for a total financing of EUR 540 million, despite the global financial crisis,” General Manager of Torresol Energy, Alvaro Lorente, said. “This operation was awarded the Project Finance Deal of the Year 2009 in the Clean Energy Sector by EuroMoney.”
Masdar Power, another partner in the project, notes that it now has power plants with 200 MW of solar thermal power capacity in production. It is also interested in developing new CSP projects in other regions (especially the Middle East North Africa, or MENA, region).
“With the UAE’s visionary leadership and support, in just five years Masdar has become a prominent player in the renewable energy with several projects under its belt locally in the UAE and globally,” Masdar’s CEO Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said. ”Valle 1 & 2 are two additional milestones in Masdar’s portfolio of Concentrated Solar Power plants as a result of the joint venture with SENER. We are proud of this partnership with SENER and will continue making investments in utility scale projects in renewable energy, especially in solar and wind energy as they are the most relevant to the UAE.”