ESTELA held its third Industry Forum this week, which took place in Cologne on 14 and 15 February. In addition to member companies and research centre partners, representatives of the German government and Nord Rhine-Westphalia as well as institutions such as the European Commission, IRENA, the International Energy Agency and the European Investment Bank were present.
“We hope this period of halt on supports to renewable energies will be short and encourage to the Government to regulate as soon as possible the new deployment of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants in Spain until 2020,” said ESTELA in a press release today.
Dr. Luis Crespo, President of ESTELA, welcomed the attendees jointly with the Minister of Innovation by Science and Research of North Rhine-Westphalia, Mrs. Svenja Schulze, who highlighted the expectations of this technology and the role of European industry and research centres and presented regional government support for research in this technology, which has its leading representative in the 1 MW central tower installed in Jülich near Cologne.
The Forum addressed the situation of the European solar thermal industry, analysing the policies and the key factors for its development with financial and macroeconomic impact, such as job creation, which contribute to its wide deployment in countries of the so called, solar belt.
The positive influence of the future single European electricity market and expansion of the CSP sector into neighbouring Mediterranean countries in North Africa for example, was also analysed. It was concluded that the development of interconnection infrastructure would play an essential role.
The attendees addressed the issues of technological innovation challenges and the need to increase cross-connection between companies and research centres.
All the participants aired their concern as to what consequences the recent halt on renewable support by the Spanish government could have with regard to European companies, particularly Spanish firms, retaining their leading position as solar thermal technology takes off worldwide.
ESTELA made a call on the Government of Spain to resume renewable energy feed-in tariffs as soon as possible, and encourages it to regulate the next deployment of CSP plants in Spain until 2020.
On the other hand, ESTELA celebrated the success of a Spanish company in the recent award of the first two solar thermal power plants in South Africa under the REFIT and the progress of construction projects of CSP plants in the US, India, Morocco, Australia, and elsewhere.
ESTELA also held its General Assembly during which Luis Crespo (General Secretary of Spain's CSP industry association, Protermosolar) was unanimously elected President.
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