GlassPoint to develop new 2 GW CSP plant in Oman; Spain set to kickstart solar growth

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

GlassPoint is currently building the 1 GW Miraah enhanced oil recovery CSP plant in Oman and now plans to build a 2 GW facility at the Mukhaizna oilfield.

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GlassPoint signs MoU for new 2 GW CSP project in Oman

GlassPoint Solar has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Occidental of Oman to develop a 2 GW CSP plant for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) at the Mukhaizna oilfield.

Preliminary studies have been completed and the partners have started engineering work to define the project scope and field integration plans, the companies said in a joint statement.

GlassPoint is already developing the 1 GW Miraah CSP EOR plant at Petroleum Development Oman's Amal oilfield.

Earlier this year, the Miraah plant started to supply solar steam to the oilfield complex from four out of 36 planned generation blocks. The project is being brought online in a staggered fashion and eight more blocks are scheduled to be completed by early 2019.

Occidental of Oman is the country's largest independent oil producer. The company has already implemented one of the world's largest steam flood projects for EOR at the Mukhaizna site.

Occidental plans to invest in solar EOR projects through its Low Carbon Ventures business.

"This project will enable technical learning and commercialization success to promote similar projects in other areas to help reduce Occidental’s global carbon footprint," the partners said.

Spain proposes 3 GW new solar, wind per year

Spain's minority Socialist government has set out a plan to build 3 GW of solar and wind capacity per year over the next decade and produce 35% of energy from renewable sources by 2030, local media reported November 13.

Under the draft proposals, Spain would aim to produce 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2050. New fossil fuel exploration and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) licences would be banned, and funds would be set aside to re-skill workers in renewable energy industries.

Spain has installed around 2 GW of CSP and 5 GW of PV capacity to date. Since 2012, new installations have slowed after the government introduced sales taxes and removed subsidies.

                              Spain direct normal irradiance (DNI)

                                                         (Click image to enlarge)

Source: Solargis

South Africa's Kathu CSP plant to start commercial operations by early 2019

South Africa's 100 MW Kathu CSP plant has been synchronized to the grid and is now in the final stage of construction and commissioning, Sener and Acciona, lead engineering procurement contractors (EPCs), said in a statement November 26.

The plant is expected to start commercial operations "in the next couple of months," Siyabonga Mbanjwa, Sener's Managing Director for Southern Africa, said.

The 12 billion-rand ($867 million) Kathu project is being developed by a consortium led by France's Engie.

The project incorporates parabolic trough technology with 4.5 hours of molten salt thermal energy storage. Direct Normal Irradiance at the site is around 2,715 KWh/m2/year.

Construction began in May 2016 following the signing of a 20 year power purchase agreement (PPA) with state utility Eskom.

Engie holds a 48.5% share in the development consortium which includes South African investors SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec bank, Lereko Metier and the Public Investment Corporation.

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