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Europe's Largest Thermal/Solar Plant Will Go On Line (11 MW) - AFP

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 12:33 PM
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Europe's Largest Thermal/Solar Plant Will Go On Line (11 MW) - AFP
Spain, championing the drive towards renewable energy, is set to launch production of solar energy from what will be Europe's largest thermo-electric plant. The thermo-electric solar plant at Sanlucar La Mayor, near the southern city of Seville, appears the perfect place to boost the drive to wean Spain off its dependence on oil, as the sun beats down almost incessantly on the southern Andalusia region. "There are 320 days of sunshine a year in Andalusia," says Professor Valeriano Ruiz, director of the thermodynamic laboratory at the University of Seville, who was aghast to find that heavy rain coincided with a visit last week by European journalists to the Sanlucar complex.

The technology of helio-thermodynamism is more productive than electricity production via the photovoltaic -- or solar panels -- method, according to Ruiz. He says it is the only means of providing power on the scale of fossil energy reactors as Spain goes big on the idea of concentrated solar power (CSP). The first section of the site is ready for inauguration, and once up and running in the coming months it will have an 11 megawatt (MW) capacity, slightly more than its 10-megawatts counterpart at Pocking in Germany, which to date is Europe's largest solar energy producer.

Sanlucar La Mayor will ultimately overtake that as Spain plans to build eight reactors with an overall capacity of 302 MW by 2010. When all eight are on stream that would be sufficient electricity to supply 180,000 homes, the equivalent of a city such as Seville itself. The Abengoa group has invested 35 million euros (45 million dollars) in the first reactor and expects to shell out a total of 1.3 billion euros by the time the site is complete.

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