Enel Green Power Expands from Wind Energy to Solar Thermal

Italy’s biggest renewable energy group, Enel Green Power (EGP), plans to build two concentrated solar power (CSP) plants to diversify its energy mix, a research chief at its parent company said. EGP generates more than 80 percent of its power from wind power plants but is considering increasing the share of solar power generation in its energy mix, its chief executive said on Friday.

“Enel Green Power is planning a realization of a 30 megawatt (MW) concentrated solar energy stand-alone plant,” Sauro Pasini, head of one of the research centers of Italy’s biggest utility Enel, told reporters visiting the center on the island of Sicily on Saturday.

The Concentrating Solar Power plant, expected to be built in Sicily by EGP and several Italian partners, will use the CSP technology that uses sunlight and mirrors to create steam that turns a turbine to generate power, Pasini said. Another CSP plant, with a 25 MW capacity, is planned for a water desalination project in the Mediterranean region. Both projects depend on European Union funding for which EGP has applied and is expecting a decision on soon, its officials said.

Last year, Enel started a 5 MW Concentrating Solar Power plant called “Archimede” in Sicily, which uses molten salts as fluid in the system. This allows for much higher temperatures than usual to be generated and the heat stored for a longer time.