Spain will have 61 concentrated solar thermal power plants in 2014

When the 61 concentrated solar thermal power plants are operating in 2014 will avoid emissions of 3.4 million tons of C02 into the atmosphere. Concentrating Solar Power could supply Spain in 1% of its territory. The twenty concentrated solar thermal power plants already operating in Spain with an area of ​​only 3002 hectares (0.006% of the territory), according to the map with all sector data has published on its official website of Protermosolar ( association that encompasses the country’s concentrated solar energy industry, one of the few sectors in which Spain maintains global leadership.

The Ministry of Industry has granted permission for the construction of 61 solar thermal power plants in eleven provinces, mostly in the southern half of the country. Of this amount, there are 21 currently operational, with an installed capacity of 852.4 MW, under construction there are twenty-seven, with a capacity of 1302.5 MW, and pre-assigned and pending construction, thirteen, with an output of 370.4 MW. When in 2014 they are all connected to the network, Spain will have 2525.30 MW of concentrated solar thermal spread between six different technologies.

The 61 solar thermal plants who will be in service in 2014 will occupy 112 km2 (as of 10.6 square kilometers on a side or 0.02% of the country, whose length is 504,645 km2, equivalent to a square of something else of 710 kilometers on a side) and will generate 7298.25 GWh / year, enough to power 1,824,562 homes.

And if all electricity generated in Spain in 2010 (280 TWh) was induced in concentrated solar thermal power plants as the current would have needed to occupy 4293 km2 (equivalent to a 65.5 square kilometers on a side), similar to extension 0.85% of Spanish territory (less than 1 percent, when according to the latest scientific research areas with severe desertification in Spain accounted for 29.3% of its surface).

Moreover, the twenty-operating concentrated solar thermal power plants prevent the emission to the atmosphere of 1,181,908 tons of CO2, as shown by the map Protermosolar. When all are operating under in 2014 will prevent the emission to the atmosphere of 3.4 million tons of CO2.

The concentrated solar energy or CSP, along with biomass, is the only storable energy to be used depending on demand even when the sun does not shine. Currently, more central storage rating is Gemasolar operated by Torresol in Fuentes de Andalucía (Sevilla), fifteen hours. Thanks to this storage capacity, Gemasolar recently became the first solar thermal power plant in the world who shed solar electricity to the grid for twenty-four consecutive hours without interruption.

Besides helping to mitigate the high dependence by harnessing domestic energy from a renewable resource like the sun, concentrating solar thermal power plants are the most jobs create, from design and engineering phase, through manufacturing of equipment and construction the site until his inauguration. Each plant of 50 MW creates jobs during all phases (design, component manufacturing and installation) to an average of 2500 job equivalents / year, according to a study commissioned by Protermosolar that will be released in September, and 80 % is domestic value added.

Protermosolar, the Spanish Association of Solar Thermal Power Industry was founded in 2004 with the aim of promoting the development of the Spanish concentrated solar energy industry. Currently has around 100 members covering the entire industry value chain. Protermosolar is also founder and vice president of ESTELA, its European counterpart.

By José Santamarta,