Giant Dubai CSP project 7% ahead of schedule; Fund chief to head Europe CSP industry group

Our pick of the latest solar thermal news you need to know.

The 950 MW Noor Energy 1 CSP-PV project will include 600 MW of parabolic trough capacity, 100 MW of tower capacity and 15 hours of storage.

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Dubai Noor Energy 1 construction ahead of schedule

Construction of the 950 MW Noor Energy 1 CSP-PV project in Dubai is currently 7% ahead of schedule, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) said in a statement May 15.

Developed by ACWA Power, the giant $4.4 billion project sets new records on scale and cost efficiency. The 950 MW Noor Energy 1 project includes three 200 MW parabolic trough CSP systems, a 100 MW CSP tower plant, 250 MW of PV capacity and 15 hours of molten salt CSP storage capacity.

Awarded at a record-low levelized tariff of $73/MWh, the Noor Energy 1 project reached financial closure in March. The project will be brought online in phases in 2020-2022 and the first parabolic trough plant and central tower unit are scheduled to be completed by October 2020. Shanghai Electric is the lead engineering procurement contractor (EPC).

Some 73% of solar field construction has now been completed, including the main structure for the assembly and installation of heliostats, DEWA said. The plant will incorporate 70,000 heliostats and the world's tallest CSP tower at a height of 260 meters.

The $4.4 billion cost of Noor Energy 1 will be met by $2.9 billion of debt and $1.5 billion of equity.

DEWA is the largest shareholder, providing $750 million, half of the project equity. ACWA Power will provide around $383 million and China's Silk Road Fund will provide around $367 million. 

Energy fund chief to head up CSP industry group

Jose Luis Martinez Dalmau, CEO of energy infrastructure fund Saeta Yield, has been appointed president of ESTELA, the European CSP industry association, for a two-year term.

Dalmau will replace Luis Crespo who retires this year

CSP developers are looking to tap into growing demand for renewable energy projects from corporate groups and institutional investors.

Under Dalmau's leadership, ESTELA will promote the grid value of CSP technologies, rather than cost efficiency, the industry group said in a statement.

"The key objective is to motivate some [European Union] Member States to adjust their tendering practices for the procurement of new renewable power capacity," ESTELA said.

"From now on, the focus should be put on the value of such added capacity for the European power system and the European economy rather than on a pure national cost-approach that would ultimately jeopardize the ambitious goals of Europe to fight climate change," it said.

ESTELA will continue to support research and development activities in Europe as well as the participation of European companies in other more active markets, such as Morocco, MENA, South Africa, Chile, Australia, it said.

ESTELA will also seek alliances with other renewable energy sectors to promote hybrid project designs when applicable.

New Zealand investor buys Sundrop Farms CSP facility

New Zealand infrastructure investment group Morrison and Co has bought solar-powered greenhouse developer Sundrop Farms, Australian news ABC reported May 15.

Sundrop Farms owns and operates a 36 MW CSP tower plant and integrated energy system at its large tomato-growing facility in the South Australian desert.

Developed by Danish group Aalborg and commissioned in 2016, the plant supplies electricity, heating and desalination services to 200,000 square meters of state-of-the-art greenhouses. Freshwater is provided from the desalination of seawater transported 5 km from the Spencer Gulf coast.

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