SolarReserve Receives Environmental Approval for Solar Thermal Plant in Chile

Solar Reserve Crescent Dunes Solar Thermal Energy Plant
Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant is the world's first utility-scale solar thermal facility to feature advanced molten salt power tower energy storage capabilities. (PRNewsFoto/SolarReserve)

SolarReserve, an industry leader in baseload solar power solutions and advanced solar thermal technology, has received environmental approval from the Chilean government to develop one of the world’s largest solar projects with energy storage. Utilizing SolarReserve’s proprietary solar thermal energy storage technology, the Copiapó Solar Project, scheduled to reach commercial operation in 2019, will deliver 260 megawatts (MW) of reliable, clean, non-intermittent baseload power 24 hours a day to consumers of the central interconnected system (SIC). The project technology is based on SolarReserve’s successful Crescent Dunes project in the U.S., which is complete with construction and is currently in final commissioning.

As part of SolarReserve’s project development and permitting process for the Copiapó project, the company is collaborating with stakeholders and local communities to ensure minimal environmental impact. This process includes careful site selection, low water use systems, and extensive environmental studies prior to starting construction.

The Copiapó project underwent comprehensive environmental assessment under the Chilean Impact Assessment System (Sistema de Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental – SEIA) administered by the Environmental Evaluation Service (SEA), and as a result was successfully awarded an environmental qualification resolution (Resolución de Calificación Ambiental) (RCA), which is the name for the Chilean environmental permit.

“One of the fundamental goals for SolarReserve is minimizing the environmental impacts of our projects at every stage – from site selection and construction, to full operational use,” said Kevin Smith, SolarReserve’s CEO. “Sustainability is the focus of our business. Our proprietary solar energy storage technology provides a viable and cost competitive alternative to fossil-based electricity generation, with the potential to meaningfully reduce reliance on fossil fuels and associated carbon pollution that is contributing to climate change.”

The Copiapó project, located in the Atacama Region, consists of SolarReserve’s concentrating solar power (CSP) tower technology with molten salt thermal energy storage combined with solar photovoltaic(PV) panels . This hybrid concept will maximize the output of the facility, delivering over 1,800 gigawatt hours (GWh) annually, while providing a highly competitive price of power. It will produce up to 260 MW’s of firm baseload power which is critical to Chile’s industrial sector, particularly the mining companies; operating at a capacity factor and availability percentage equal to that of a coal fired power plant. No other proven renewable energy technology can provide this cost competitive energy solution to meet the needs of Chile’s largest and most important industries.

 

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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