Andasol 3, the solar thermal power plant built by a consortium of five German companies in the Spanish province of Granada, has been inaugurated.
The completion of the third Andasol power plant on a site measuring some two square kilometres has meant the creation of the largest European solar power plant, located in Andalusia, southern Spain.
Attending the power plant inauguration ceremony were the General Secretary of Industry and Energy for Andalusia, Isabel De Haro Aramberri, as well as board members of those companies with a stake in Andasol 3: Stadtwerke München, RWE Innogy, RheinEnergie, Ferrostaal and Solar Millennium.
Dr. Kurt Mühlhäuser, Chairman of the Stadtwerke München managing board said, “Andasol 3 is a perfect example of how the energy transition needs to be realised at a European level. It can only succeed if the various parties involved – as here at Andasol 3 – are united in a common aim and if the political conditions are favourable.'
He said SWM is currently in a drive to expand its renewables capacity. 'By 2025 we aim to be producing enough green electricity in our own installations to be able to meet the demand of the whole of Munich – that’s 7.5 billion kilowatt hours.'
Dr. Hans Bünting, Chief Financial Officer of RWE Innogy noted, “Andasol 3 proves that converting Europe’s electricity production methods can be achieved far more efficiently if we take an international approach, rather than pursuing national concepts. I see this power plant as a role model for the rest of Europe; it may even generate the impetus needed for the development of a European market with common regulations for renewable energy sources.”
Construction on Andasol 3 began in mid 2008. Due to its high local levels of direct solar irradiation, Andalusia is one of a handful of locations in Europe ideally suited to solar thermal power generation. The power plant, with an installed output of 50 megawatts, was completed on schedule this summer. It is currently running in test mode; commercial operations are due to begin in the coming weeks.
Once fully operational, Andasol 3 will generate approximately 165 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, saving some 150,000 tonnes of CO2 when compared with a modern hard coal-fired power plant.
Combined, the three Andasol power plants can meet the electricity needs of about half a million people using power generated by solar energy.