Erlangen/Aldeire, July 11, 2007. The foundation stone for the solar-thermal power plant Andasol 2 in Andalusia in southern Spain will be laid today. Andalusian Secretary of Innovation, Science and Commerce, Francisco Vallejo Serrano, is visiting the site to witness the foundation stone ceremony of a technology capable of replacing fossil and nuclear power plants, thus contributing to the climate-friendly power production of the future.
The 300 million Euro project has been developed by Erlangen-based Solar Millennium AG, and is located next to the Andasol 1 power plant, the construction of which began one year ago. The Andasol power plants are the first of their kind in Europe. According to plans, construction will take 24 months. The earthworks for Andasol 2 began in February, so that the plant can begin operation at the start of 2009. A single power plant will be capable of supplying environmentally-friendly solar electricity to as many as 200,000 people. With its collector area of 512,000 square meters per plant, it will be the largest solar power plant in the world.
German companies are playing crucial roles in making this technology available. Flagsol GmbH, the technology subsidiary of Solar Millennium AG, is providing the engineering for the solar field, i.e. planning, design and construction supervision, as well as the controls. Schott and Flabeg are supplying essential components for the solar field, while Siemens is providing the turbines. The Spanish ACS/Cobra group - the company that purchased 75 percent of the project's shares - is primarily responsible for the construction work. These solar power plants can also schedule the supply of electricity after sunset. Large thermal reservoirs permit the storage of enough energy to operate the power plant at full-load for 7.5 hours. In summer, the Andasol power plants will help meet peaks in demand in the Spanish power grid that are caused primarily by the high energy consumption of air conditioning units.
"The construction of this first European parabolic trough power plant in Andalusia will provide an essential role model for the solar-thermal power plant market. Thanks to this successful, ground-breaking work, Solar Millennium has now secured a leading position in the market, and we intend to expand upon this," says Christian Beltle, Solar Millennium AG Chairman of the Board. Solar Millennium has also developed a third power plant at this same location, which is to be completed together with the Portuguese EDP Group. Construction of the plant is set to begin at the end of this year.
Construction of the Andasol projects providing Spain with environmentally-friendly electricity is only a prelude to the massive development of renewable energy and the expansion of energy combinations in Europe. "Solar-thermal power plants in the Mediterranean countries, particularly in the huge, sunny areas of North Africa, can generate substantially more cost-efficient amounts of climate-friendly energy than solar power plants in Germany. Importing solar-thermal electricity from this region to Germany is, with a suitable power infrastructure, a viable possibility, and can help ensure supply," comments Christian Beltle on the long-term strategy, which has also been endorsed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in scientific studies: by 2050, 15 percent of European energy needs will be met by solar power plants in North Africa and the Middle East. Thus, in Mediterranean countries, solar-thermal power plants will be able to deliver twice as much electricity as wind, photovoltaic, biomass and geothermal power plants together.