This week’s CSP Today news brief includes the following companies and organisations: Abengoa, Siemens Drive Technologies and Areva.
Along with California Energy Commission, California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; European Commission; Port Augusta City Council, Beyond Zero Emissions.
Siemens provides integrated drive technology for Solana
Siemens Drive Technologies has started shipping drives to support a contract with Abengoa. The company is supplying integrated drive technology solutions for Solana, a 280MW (net) facility located 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, near Gila Bend, Arizona.
The plant, which will use parabolic trough technology and thermal storage using molten salts, is Abengoa’s first domestic CSP project in the US. Abengoa Solar received a $1.45 billion federal loan guarantee from the US government which facilitated financial closing with the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) and the start of the plant’s construction.
Siemens will provide 18 of its Robicon Perfect Harmony medium voltage drives; these drives, according to the company, are well suited to the power generation industry because they can ride through voltage dips, have a small footprint and requires no output transformer, harmonic line filters or power factor compensation.
Areva opts for Beaumont-Hague as test centre site
French nuclear engineering company Areva has chosen the Beaumont-Hague site as the location for a test centre for its CSP technology.
The centre, which is expected to be operational by the end of this year, will focus on optimising the performance of Areva’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) technology through research into the surface coating of receiver tubes. The technology uses mirrors which concentrate the sun’s rays towards receivers containing tubes which water flows through. The concentrated sun’s rays vaporise the water within the tubes, directly generating superheated steam. This is then used to produce either electricity or industrial processes which use steam.
The project will be developed in the Research Hall of Beaumont-Hague (Hall de Recherche de Beaumont-Hague – HRB), where more than 80 researchers from the group are already working on nearly 3,000 m² of pilot facilities. Eventually, a team of 15 experts will develop the next generation of tubes which will equip Areva’s thermodynamic solar power plants.
California’s renewable energy planning efforts move forward
The California Energy Commission (CEC) reports that a stakeholder meeting on the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) will be held on July 25 and 26.
The DRECP, a major component of California’s renewable energy planning efforts, will help provide effective protection and conservation of desert ecosystems while allowing for the development of renewable energy projects. Many of these projects have been proposed in the Southern California desert due to the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard. Since state policy prefers in-state generation of renewable energy, project developers must find both environmentally acceptable and economical sites, and the DRECP will facilitate this renewable energy facility siting.
Approximately 22.5 million acres of federal and non-federal California desert land are in the DRECP planning area, which comprises the desert regions and adjacent lands of seven California counties - Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. It is being prepared through an unprecedented collaborative effort between the CEC, California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also known as the Renewable Energy Action Team.
The DRECP will result in a biological mitigation and conservation programme providing renewable project developers with permit timing and cost certainty under the federal and California Endangered Species Acts while at the same time preserving, restoring and enhancing natural communities and related ecosystems.
HITECO’s first workshop held
HITECO, a European Commission project funded under the 7th Framework Programme, presented its preliminary results at the recently held ‘Efficiency Increase and Cost Reduction in CSP Technologies’ workshop in Valladolid, Spain.
The project’s objective is to develop and test a new solar receiver capable of operating temperatures up to 600º C.
During the workshop, the HITECO presentations covered different relevant optical and thermal modeling of the receiver, the development of solar selective coatings and preindustrial facilities for the application of these coatings in steel tubes, and studies about the welding process in borosilicate glass tubes with applications in solar industry.
These technical presentations were complemented by a presentation of the results of another relevant FP7 project of the CSP field “E2PHEST2US – enhanced energy production of heat and electricity by a combined solar thermionic-thermoelectric unit system”.
The project will explore the current parabolic trough technology limitations and potential improvement areas. According to the team, the current maximum operating temperature is around 400º C, and any increase in temperature would result in a severe drop in the receiver’s efficiency with the current commercial products, since the design and components critically limit the operation at higher temperatures.
Support for solar thermal power in Australia
A formal commitment to support the construction of a solar thermal plant in Port Augusta has recently been made by the Port Augusta City Council.
The Council has demonstrated support for the proposal by Beyond Zero Emissions, a not-for-profit research and education organisation developing blueprints for the implementation of climate change solutions, to build a solar thermal plant to replace the coal-fired power stations. Now elected members, too, have made a formal commitment to support the project. Port Augusta City manager Greg Perkin said he hopes the formal commitment by the Council will encourage the Port Augusta community to get behind the project.
Port Augusta City Council has also been encouraging residents to cast a vote in support of a solar thermal power station, preferring it over a gas fired power station.