Spain has 72% of global concentrating solar thermal power


Triples the U.S. and seven other countries with concentrated solar thermal power plants.

The CSP is one of the few sectors where Spain is the undisputed world leader, as the whole of concentrated solar thermal power plants accounted for 72.85% of total installed capacity in the world. Also, solar thermal technology developed by our research centers and companies are present in more than 60% of the plants under construction in countries like the U.S., India, UAE, Mexico ….

This leadership in international competitions are gaining our businesses, as recent South Africa and Morocco, and the research conducted in recent decades contribute to the prestige of the ‘brand’ Spain at this time of international confidence in our country, as reflected in the markets.

Valeriano Ruiz, Professor of Thermodynamics at the University of Seville and first president of Protermosolar, the Spanish association of solar thermal industry has coined a very graphic image, saying that “Spain is world champion in football and solar.”

The data demonstrated the irrefutable. The 35 Spanish solar thermal power plants producing electricity in full operation from that inexhaustible source is the sun, have a combined capacity of 1581 MW, accounting for 72.85% of the worldwide installed.

The plants constructed by leading companies such as Abengoa, Sener, Acciona, ACS-Cobra, FCC, Valoriza, Elecnor, or Ibereólica, are present in the eight other countries with this technology: the United States, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, India, Italy, Thailand and Australia.

In much of the central operating abroad there has been Spanish firms involved, either during construction or in the operational phase, such as Hassi R’mel (Algeria), Al Kuraymat (Egypt), Ain Beni Mathar (Morocco) or Nevada (USA).

The concentrated solar power electricity is the only manageable between renewable, and is certainly the largest global potential. For storage capacity tanks can even generate sales for the overall system at night even in the absence of sunlight like, for example, is made from Gemasolar, located in Fuentes de Andalucía (Seville) and opened in late 2011 by S. M. King Don Juan Carlos and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. The prospects are billionaires, considering future energy technology, although still in an early stage of their learning curve, so you have a huge journey ahead to multiply their effectiveness and reduce costs.

Other countries such as China and the United Arab Emirates, have joined the exclusive ‘club’ of global solar thermal and more recently, some Latin American countries. They are currently under construction that will power a combined capacity of 2,837.5 MW. Of the 2,063.50 MW excluding Spain which are recorded, in more than 60% there is participation of Spanish companies in the value chain. In this regard include the Shams 1, Medinat Zayed (United Arab Emirates); Ivanpha and Mojave (California), Solana (Arizona) and Crescente Dunes (Tonopah) in Nevada. Thanks to urge the Obama administration, the U.S. is installing 1312 MW new solar thermal, which account for nearly half of the plants under construction.

Spain, because the inertia of plants listed in the Register of Pre-allocation, will be installing 774 MW more.

This historical opportunity that solar technology represents for Spain is threatened for energy reform that projects the spanish government and lead to a different regulatory framework that once prompted domestic investors and companies, large investment funds and banking foreigners to invest in this technology, relying on legal certainty, now in question.

Will we pass this train? Will throw overboard? Technological leadership worldwide of CSP that Spain right now?

If in 2013 the current plan is terminated, our country, with 60 plants and 2425 MW installed, still maintain their privileged position, but with the United States catching up in a rush, as the sum of its operating plants and construction will be 1812.66 MW.

The essential difference is that while the United States has realized, belatedly, the enormous potential of solar energy, offers Spanish companies as role models, encourage them to settle in their territory (the Asturian Rioglass, for example, builds there a CSP mirrors factory), assured funding and a stable legal framework, in Spain some stakeholders to press Government to take retrospective action against solar energy as part of a campaign that tries to present it as the head of the deficit rate, which is absolutely oblivious to reality.

If Spain applies retroactive measures and / or tax burdens disproportionate to curb thermal energy ‘made in Spain’, would be one of the few known cases, if not the only one in history that a country would risk his own world leadership against international competition in an emerging sector with billion dollar economic outlook, in which 80% of the value chain is generated in our country and the expansion of our businesses (Abengoa and Acciona, Sener and TSK have been awarded in the past competitions in South Africa) is already producing returns of billions of euros.

Solar thermal power plants and the tariff deficit

The solar industry has received only about 2% of the cumulative premiums for the special scheme and can not be considered, therefore, responsible for the current deficit situation. Furthermore, in the future, contrary to what is usually published, the CSP shall premiums of fourth from the special annual volume and lower even those perceived for cogeneration.

At present they are operating in our country 35 thermal power plants totaling 1581 MW are under construction and 17 plants with a total of 774 MW.

Solar thermal power plants represent the largest potential alternative global manageable technology to be the basis of future generation mix CO2 emission free. For this market billionaire, Spain is currently the world leader but could lose that position as a result of misguided policies in our own country.

Spain might seize the historic opportunity offered by the Directive on EU Renewable transfers between Member States to comply with the 2020 goals and thereby contribute to the economic convergence of Andalusia, Extremadura and Castilla la Mancha and promote the development of components of the productive sector in the country .

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

The main objective is to promote the expansion and development of solar thermal technology in Spain and in the rest of the world by:

• Promote the development of solar thermal power plants within a stable and adequate regulatory framework for commercial-scale implementation.

• Promote technology development, working with governments to establish effective support programs, as well as companies, research centers and universities in order to produce the maximum possible synergies.

• Promote excellence in the planning, design, construction and operation of solar thermal power plants.

• To increase awareness of these technologies and their potential and macroeconomic benefits for society and contribute to the fight against climate change.

On solar thermal energy.

The solar electricity is generated by a heat engine similar to conventional thermal coal or gas, but it is powered by a renewable energy source such as solar radiation.

Solar thermal power plants have thermal storage systems, allowing them to work beyond the hours when the sun is shining, even to run 24 hours a day. In addition, this technology allows hybridize with other fuels such as gas or biomass, thus improving performance during periods of low solar radiation.

In the energy model for future electricity generation from solar radiation is one of the main options from several points of view: the sun is the most abundant renewable resource on Earth and Spain is a country with great potential. The resource-sunlight-is inexhaustible on a human scale and clean, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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