solar thermal electric


Foundation stone laid for Catalonia’s first solar thermal electric facility

Catalonia in the north east of Spain is to have a solar thermal electric plant, following in the footsteps of Spain’s southern provinces, which already boast the most installed capacity anywhere in the world.
Foundation stone laid for Catalonia’s first solar thermal electric facility

The foundation stone of the future solar power plant in the municipality of Les Borges Blanques in Lleida was laid by the President of the Catalonian Regional Government, Artur Mas, on 19 March.

While the plant has been well received in the local community, Artur Mas harshly criticised the Spanish government's recent performance regarding energy legislation. During the ceremony, Mas said the central government had spent several years “not hitting the mark” on energy policy. The President of the Generalitat (Catalonia’s regional government) said this meant "the sector can work but it cannot work well". For this reason, the President of the Generalitat stressed the importance of "the authorities devising serious (regulatory) frameworks that generate confidence" for something as sensitive as energy.

The President of the Generalitat said that in Spain, the debate on energy has been held with "huge frivolity, which must be corrected once and for all. Not only stable measures are needed, but also clear ideas for the future from the point of view of energy supply. That is critical to any country and for any economy".

Without specifically mentioning them, Artur Mas also referred to the retroactive cuts to the solar photovoltaic feed-in tariff introduced by the central government through a new royal decree-law last year. "Some changes are needed to the steps taken recently," he said, because they can prejudice individuals who invested based on several regulatory frameworks that have subsequently been altered.

153 million investment

The Les Borges Blanques plant has been designed by Abantia and Comsa. It is estimated that it will enter Catalonia’s generation mix before 2013. The solar thermal electric plant will cost €153 million to build and will occupy 70 hectares. It will have more than 300 parabolic troughs to capture solar energy and will be the first facility of its kind in Catalonia.

One novelty of the project is that it will be hybridised with a biomass plant that will also drive the steam turbines, as well as a natural gas back-up system for days when the solar field does not capture any solar radiation.

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