Thanks to the recent commissioning and grid connection of its new 50-MW CSP plant in south west Spain, Acciona Energy will end 2010 with four operational CSP plants totalling 214 MW, thereby “consolidating its leadership position in the solar thermal sector worldwide”.
The plant at Majadas de Tiétar (Cáceres) cost €237 million and is the third installed by the company in the world after Nevada Solar One (US) and Alvarado (Badajoz), and the second in Spain.
Located about two miles north of the town, the plant will produce clean electricity equivalent to the consumption of around 30,000 homes and will avoid the emission of 96,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide from coal-fired power stations per annum The Spanish company also calculates that it will contribute to the security of energy supplies by replacing fossil fuels equivalent to 57,000 barrels of oil.
Like the other plant developed by Acciona, this energy will be created using parabolic trough technology, which uses concave mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays into a fluid that is heated to around 400 degrees Celsius. This energy is then used to produce steam that drives a turbine connected to a generator to produce electricity.
The Majadas plant has a solar field of 135 hectares – equivalent to 189 soccer pitches – on which 800 solar collectors with 192,000 mirrors are located, making up a linear length of 77 kilometres. The solar field was constructed by group company, Acciona Infraestructuras.
The entire project has led to the creation of 350 jobs during the construction phase and another 31 for the operation and maintenance of the plant, plus indirect and induced jobs created in the area, located in the northern part of the Spanish province of Cáceres.
Acciona has extensive experience in the construction and operation of CSP plants using in-house technology. In June 2007, it commissioned the 64 MW Nevada Solar One (NSO) facility in the Nevada desert, “the first one built in the world after the California plants in the late 1980s and early 1990s,” claims the company.
Acciona reports that the positive results achieved and the experience gained in NSO were “decisive” when the company decided to take on CSP projects in Spain. The first – the 50 MW Alvarado plant in Badajoz province – entered service in 2009. Meanwhile, Palma del Río II (Córdoba), which has the same characteristics as Majadas, will shortly be brought on line, while Palma del Río I will start up in summer 2011. This will give Acciona a capacity of 264 MW distributed across five plants of this type.
As part of its project portfolio for Spain, Acciona has also begun the administrative procedure for a fifth CSP in Spain, which if given the green light by Spain’s Ministry of Industry, will be located at Orellana (Badajoz), and will also have a capacity of 50 MW.
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