5 October 2011 –Spain’s Gemasolar Solar Power Plant, the first commercial plant in the world to use molten salt thermal has been formally inaugurated.

According to a statement from the company:

“Gemasolar is a revolution in the CSP sector and its commercial operation is expected to lead the way for other central tower plants with molten salt receiver technology, an efficient system that improves the dispatchability of electric power from renewable sources.

“Gemasolar is a high temperature solar plant, that can reach operating temperatures of over 500°C, much higher than plants with parabolic trough technology, as it does not require oil, but rather directly uses molten salt as a transfer fluid. These higher temperatures in turn generate hotter, pressurized steam in the turbine, which significantly increases the plant’s efficiency.

“The salt storage capacity enables the plant to supply energy to the grid based on demand, regardless of whether there is solar radiation. Thus, Gemasolar, with its 19.9 MW nameplate capacity, can supply electricity to a population of 27,500 households in the South of Spain. It is expected that Gemasolar will produce a net total of over 110 GWhe per year by operating for a total of 6450 hours a year at full capacity.

“This annual production of Gemasolar (110GWhe) is the equivalent of the energy generated in a conventional thermal plant burning 89,000 tons of lignite or the converted energy of 217,000 oil barrels. Therefore, the plant is expected to save more than 30,000 tonnes of CO2 emission a year.

“The plant’s most cutting-edge equipment has been developed by SENER. This company has been responsible for leading the EPC and commissioning works of the plant as well as for supplying all the technology for Gemasolar and the basic and detail engineering design. As for Masdar, a strategic developer of renewable energy power projects, the company helped ensure the commercial approach taken to funding and operating this facility.

“Torresol Energy, which commercially develops, manages construction, owns and operates CSP plants globally, has been awarded a 25-year regulated tariff by the Spanish Government. It is developing two further facilities – Valle 1 and Valle 2 – in nearby Cadiz. These 50MW facilities will employ parabolic trough technology and have an expected net electrical production of 160 GWh/year each – equivalent to the average consumption of 40,000 households. The two plants will together help save 90,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. Both are scheduled to commence start operations by the end of 2011.

“These facilities will help Spain contribute to Europe’s 2020 climate and energy targets which aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent, increase to 20 per cent the use of renewables as a primary source of energy and reduce primary energy consumption by 20 per cent through improved efficiency.

“A 171 million Euro financing facility was secured through the open market in 2008 for the construction of Gemasolar, led by Banco Popular, Banesto and the Instituto de Crédito Oficial, with 90 million Euros of this facility provided by the European Investment Bank. A further Euro 540 million of project finance loans was secured for the construction of Valle 1 and Valle 2.”

Chief executive officer of Masdar, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: “Abu Dhabi aims to build bridges with like-minded nations to address the world’s greatest challenges, such as energy security, climate change mitigation, and sustainable human development.”

He said: “Masdar is working with international partners to develop and deploy the most recent scientific and technological innovations, increasing the role of renewable energy as part of a diversified energy. In this way, we will build on the UAE’s existing international role as an energy exporter by also becoming a global provider of future energy knowledge and expertise. The benefits of this plant extend beyond new technology to economic and social development and we look forward to working with other nations on opportunities to benefit from this significant achievement.”

Torresol Energy See www.torresolenergy.com is  a joint venture between the companies SENER and MASDAR and  was created” for the purpose of becoming a leader in the concentrated solar power sector”  in the so-called “solar belt”: Southern Europe, including Spain, Northern Africa, the Middle East and the Southwestern USA.

“Every new Torresol Energy project will introduce and test new technologies with SENER’s support in order to make Concentrated Solar Power an economically competitive option and thus make it a real, viable, ecological and sustainable alternative to traditional energy. In this regard, the protection of the environment for future generations is one of Torresol Energy’s core commitments.

“Currently, the Company has a plant in commercial operations, Gemasolar, a 19.9 MW solar power plant with central tower technology and a heliostat field, located in Fuentes de Andalucía, Seville. It has also two other plants under construction in Cádiz, Valle 1 and Valle 2, two twin 50 MW facilities with parabolic cylinder collector technology located in San José del Valle.

SENER www.sener.es is a” private engineering and technology group founded in Bilbao in more than 5000 professional employees and a turnover of 1066 million Euros. It has industrial holdings in companies involved in Energy and Environment, as well as Aerospace.

Masdar www.masdar.ae is designed to commercialise and deploy renewable energy technologies and solutions.

“The company serves as a link between today’s fossil-fuel economy and the energy economy of the future — developing the ‘greenprint’ for how we will live and work tomorrow

Masdar Power, one of the five integrated units of Masdar, is implementing “major projects such as the Shams One solar power plant in the UAE, as well as international projects including the London Array offshore wind farm, Torresol Energy’s Gemasolar, Valle 1 & 2 solar power plants in Spain.”