Abengoa considers expanding its 110-MW concentrated solar power (CSP) project in Chile by new 100 MW to supply mining firms, Chilean daily El Mercurio reported Thursday.
The Cerro Dominador concentrated solar power (CSP) plant will be built in the Atacama desert, northern Chile. Abengoa won the project as part of a government tender in January 2014.
Some of the mining firms in the northern zone have shown strong interest in this type of predictable energy, CEO Manuel Sanchez said.
Abengoa is investing nearly USD 1 billion (EUR 731.4m) in the construction of the original plant, scheduled for 2017. The expansion, which could begin in eight to 12 months, will require an additional USD 750 million, according to Sanchez.
Spanish sustainable energy multinational Abengoa on May 9 announced that the Chilean Environmental Service’s Evaluation and Review Committee unanimously approved its concentrating solar power (CSP) and energy storage project. The project is planned for the country’s northern Atacama Desert region, which has the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, and will produce 110 megawatts of energy.
Dubbed Cerro Dominador, Abengoa’s CSP project is “groundbreaking” in more ways than one. In addition to being the largest CSP facility announced in South America to date, it will be “the first to serve as a baseload power plant” — supplying electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week — thanks to a molten-salts energy storage system capable of storing the equivalent of some 18 hours worth of electricity production, Abengoa explains in a press release.
Coming amid ongoing technological advances, the integration of grid-scale energy storage capacity in CSP (also known as solar thermal power) plants is being touted as a potential “game-changer” for the technology.