solar thermal electric

Spain

It may rain mainly on the plain in Spain, but the sun shines bright in the valleys

Valle means valley in Spanish and is also the name given to Torresol Energy’s latest additions to its concentrating solar power (CSP) portfolio. Valle 1 and Valle 2 are two identical 50-MW parabolic trough plants, located in Cadiz in southern Spain, which have begun operations this month. The plants are equipped with thermal storage which will allow them to continue to produce power, even when there is no solar radiation, for up to 7.5 hours.
It may rain mainly on the plain in Spain, but the sun shines bright in the valleys

It has been a busy time for Torresol Energy, a joint venute between Masdar and Sener. In October 2011, under the patronage of His Majesty the King of Spain Juan Carlos I and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, the company officially inaugurated Gemasolar in Fuentes de Andalucia (Spain). The Gemasolar facility is described by the company as “a significant breakthrough in the global solar industry and an important new field of cooperation between Spain and the UAE”.

Meanwhile, Torresol Energy continued with the construction of Valle 1 and Valle 2 which began in December 2009, and was completed in December 2011. In January 2012 the plants were connected to the Spanish national grid for commercial operations. Roughly 4,500 workers dedicated over 2,700,000 hours to build and launch the twin projects during the two construction years.

Each of the plants will produce 160 GWh of power per year, equivalent to the amount of power consumed by 40,000 households. Together, the two plants will cut carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 90,000 tons/year. The thermal storage of the plants allows them to continue producing energy for 7.5 hours at full power capacity without sunlight. Solar power thus becomes a source of manageable energy capable of supplying to the grid based on power demand, regardless of whether it is day or night or if the weather is cloudy.

“With these twin plants in Spain, Torresol Energy completes the first stage of our Strategic Plan. We now have three plants up and running, Valle 1 & Valle 2 and Gemasolar, in the South of Spain, and a proven track record that we can operate and carry out the maintenance of CSP plants both in power tower technology and parabolic trough technology. We expect to start soon on other CSP projects in different countries located in what is referred to as the sun-belt region,” revealed Enrique Sendagorta, President of Torresol Energy.

The General Manager of Torresol Energy, Alvaro Lorente, declared: “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 were financed through seven Spanish commercial banks in 2009 for a total financing of €540 million, despite the global financial crisis. This operation was awarded the Project Finance Deal of the Year 2009 in the Clean Energy Sector by EuroMoney.”

Along with the Gemasolar plant, the two Valle plants will help Spain contribute to Europe’s 2020 climate and energy targets which aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, increase the use of renewables as a primary source of energy by 20% and reduce primary energy consumption by 20% through improved efficiency.

200 MW of capacity in operation

“Getting Valle 1 & 2 into commercial operations has been a significant achievement for us. Getting Gemasolar, Valle 1 & 2 and (later this year) Shams One into operation means we already have over 200 MW of CSP plants in operation globally. In addition, Masdar and Torresol Energy are exploring further business development opportunities to grow our CSP presence worldwide, including the MENA region where we also see a terrific opportunity in the solar space,” Frank Wouters, Director of Masdar Power commented.

Torresol Energy’s projects have already won a number of awards including, Euromoney 2009 Project Finance Deal of the Year for Valle 1 and Valle 2 plants, the US CSP Today 2011 award ‘Commercialized Technology Innovation of the Year’ for Gemasolar, and the European CSP Today 2011 awards ‘Commercialized Technology Innovation 2011’ and ‘Most Effective Project Development 2011’ for Gemasolar.

In turn, Sener has also been awarded thanks to its solar solutions. At the end of 2011, Sener was awarded, mainly due to Gemasolar, the top European Business Award for Innovation. It won against nine other finalists in an extensive selection process that began in May 2011 and saw over 15,000 European companies competing for the honor. Sener was also awarded "Engineering Firm 2011" and "Increased Dispatchability Solution 2011” at the CSP Today awards, in recognition of its achievements in the CSP sector, specially the Gemasolar project development.

For additional information:

Torresol Energy

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