Morocco tenders for 380 MW CSP capacity; Europe claims hybrid plant breakthrough

Solar thermal news you need to know.

Image credit: Fernando Alonso Herrero

Morocco invites bids for two CSP plants at Noor Midelt

The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) has invited pre-qualifications for the design, financing, construction and operation of Noor Midelt Phase I, consisting of two hybrid PV-CSP projects each of CSP gross capacity 150 MW-190 MW.

The CSP technology must be a synthetic oil parabolic trough with storage or a molten salt tower with storage and developers have until October 14 to make their bids, official documents show.

PV technologies and capacities must be detailed at the later Request for Proposal stage, MASEN said.

The Moroccan government has chosen to support hybrid PV-CSP plants in order to provide low-cost power output during the day and electricity supply after sunset.

While PV with batteries are seen as the most economic solar solution for storage durations of a few hours, CSP plants offer lower generation costs across longer storage periods.

Morocco's Noor solar plan targets 2 GW of solar capacity by 2020 and the government has preselected five development sites in the middle of the country.

Noor Ouarzazate, the first solar complex, will host three CSP plants of combined capacity 510 MW as well as 70 MW of PV capacity. All three CSP plants have storage capacity.

The first project, Noor I, a 160 MW CSP parabolic trough plant, is already operational. The 200 MW Noor II parabolic trough plant and 150 MW Noor III tower plant have both reached financial closure and are under construction.

A fourth phase, Noor IV, will see two PV plants developed with a combined capacity of 70 MW.

Four consultants bid for 200 MW Dubai project

Ernst & Young, KPMG Lower Gulf Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp and PricewaterhouseCoopers have bid consultant advisory services for a 200 MW CSP plant project in Dubai, the Zawya Projects news agency reported July 24.

Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) launched the tender for consultant advisory services on June 12 and bids were required by July 20.

The 200 MW CSP plant must use tower technology and provide 8 to 12 hours of thermal energy storage.

The project tender is reportedly planned for the first half of 2017 and the plant is expected to be operational by April 2021.

Saeed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA, said he expected the successful project to bid an electricity price at around $80/MWh.

The project represents the first phase of Dubai's plan to build 1 GW of CSP capacity within the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park by 2030.

Dubai has set a target of 25% of energy from solar power by 2030 and the total capacity of the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum park is expected to reach 5 GW, including PV and CSP capacity.

Researchers claim advances in hybrid CSP-gas efficiency

HYSOL, a European research consortium, has completed a prototype for a hybrid CSP-gas plant which demonstrates "multiple technical and economic advances," the group said in a statement July 12.

Under a three-year project, co-funded by the European Commission and led by Spanish construction company ACS-COBRA, HYSOL researchers have been integrating CSP technology with natural gas or renewable gases such as biogas, biomethane, combination gases.

An aeroderivative gas turbine integrates auxiliary fuels and a CSP plant system in order to achieve generation efficiency similar to combined cycle gas turbines, HYSOL said.

"The thermal energy of the escape gases produced by the gas turbine is recuperated thanks to HYSOL which takes advantage of this energy in order to heat the melted salts from the storage system which are sent directly to the vapour generator or are stored for later use," it said.

The researchers hope the research findings will help to overcome some of the cost constraints currently holding back CSP development.

CSP Today