Concentrating solar power (CSP) developers are now turning their attention away from the traditional markets in Spain and the US to new emerging markets such as South Africa, Australia and India. Now, after an announcement by the French government at the end of last month, it looks like France may be joining this list.
On 27 July the French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Delphine Batho, revealed the outcome of the national solar tender launched by the French Regulatory Commission of Energy for the implementation of solar power plants above 250 kW.
As part of this tender, the French company Solar Euromed was allocated a guaranteed tariff to produce energy using solar thermal electricity over the next 20 years. Solar Euromed will build a 12-megawatt solar thermal electric plant on the island of Corsica, which will produce enough power to meet the annual demand of approximately 10,000 households.
“After five years of commitment toward sustainable development, Solar Euromed is confirmed as a leading player in the CSP sector for its leading expertise, its contribution for the development of a competitive CSP industry, and its strong regional and local presence,” said the company in a recent press statement.
Alba Nova 1, as the plant will be called, will employ linear Fresnel reflectors, direct steam generation, and thermal storage. The technology behind the project has been developed through R&D with support from French public innovation funds since 2010.
To ensure commercial success of the project, Solar Euromed has partnered with independent renewable energy developer, Akuo Energy, and Caisse des Depots et Consignations, the French sovereign wealth fund.
"We are extremely proud to announce the upcoming construction of the largest innovative solar power plant in France approved last week by the French Government,” comments Marc Benmarraze, Solar Euromed’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are convinced that this project will produce significant economic impacts for the French CSP industry and enable Solar Euromed and its partners to successfully enter the global CSP market with 400 MW already in our project pipeline. We are very excited to introduce our novel CSP technology to the market with this successful award granted by a national authority in a competitive environment.”
Solar Euromed boasts its own technology based on the concept of direct steam generation and linear Fresnel reflectors. It implemented its technology at a pilot plant in the south of France, which will now be scaled up in the Alba Nova 1 plant in Corsica.
[Inset: Pilot CSP plant in south of France. Courtesy of Solar Euromed]
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