Abengoa has obtained a favorable environmental rating from the authorities of the Chilean Environmental Service to develop a solar-thermal plant using molten salts tower technology with an installed capacity of 110 MW.
Abengoa’s project in Chile will prevent the emission of approximately 643,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.
Construction on the project is due to start in the second quarter of 2014.
The project, located in the Atacama Desert, the region with the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, has been regularly visited by the authorities from the Chilean Environmental Service and the regional services in order to perform various types of evaluations as part of the process to grant environmental authorization to the project. The Evaluation and Review Committee unanimously voted to approve the project after verifying the absence of any type of negative impact during the construction and operations phases. The experts took into account issues such as use of the land, water, air, emissions and waste, as well as any other aspect that could generate an environmental impact in the area where the plant will be constructed.
Cerro Dominador will be the first solar-thermal plant for direct electricity production in South America. It is also the first non-conventional renewable energy plant to serve as a baseload power plant thanks to its production stability and reliability. Furthermore, it will have a thermal storage system designed and developed by Abengoa, which will enable electricity to be produced for approximately 18 hours without the need for a solar resource. This will enable it to supply electricity in a stable way, 24 hours a day, and to respond to all demand periods for electricity consumption.
The Cerro Dominador project forms part of the Chilean Government’s national renewable energy development program, intended to provide Chile with a clean energy future, while also promoting economic development and reducing the country’s dependency on coal and natural gas.
Abengoa will hold a ceremony to mark the start of the project on May 14 at the project’s site in the commune of María Elena in the Antofagasta region, northern Chile, to which the most senior regional and national authorities have been invited.
Construction of this plant will generate an average of 700 direct jobs, requiring up to 2,000 workers. Around 50 stable jobs will be created once the project comes into commercial operation. Similarly, the development, commissioning and operation of the plant will generate a high number of indirect jobs, as well as a network of services and new industrial investments that will develop the local market, promoting economic growth in the country.
Abengoa has been present in Chile since 1987, where it has carried out numerous projects. This new plant will consolidate its commitment to solar-thermal energy and demonstrates the huge potential for this technology in the country. Abengoa currently has 1,223 MW of installed capacity in commercial operation, 430 MW under construction and 320 MW in pre-construction, including both solar-thermal and photovoltaic technology. Abengoa is the only company in the world to construct and operate solar-thermal plants using both tower and parabolic trough technologies.
Abengoa (MCE: ABG.B/P SM /NASDAQ: ABGB) applies innovative technology solutions for sustainability in the energy and environment sectors, generating electricity from renewable resources, converting biomass into biofuels and producing drinking water from sea water.