The solar thermal power plant Andasol 3 in Andalusia, southern Spain, for the first time produced solar generated steam during a test phase in which the rows of parabolic mirrors were aligned with the sun.

This test is another successful step on the way to completing and commissioning the solar power plant which will generate 50 megawatts. Andasol 3 is due to begin commercial operation in October 2011 and, together with the neighbouring sister plants Andasol 1 and Andasol 2 which are almost identical in design, to supply around half a million end consumers with environmentally friendly electricity. Andasol 1 and Andasol 2 are already connected to the grid.

Andasol 3 has a thermal storage which enables the power plant to generate electricity reliably for up to eight hours even at night or in cloudy weather. By the end of July both storages will have been filled with the liquid salt mixture required for this purpose. After the turbine has been synchronised in August, further tests will be performed during which it is planned that electricity should already be fed into the Spanish high-voltage network.

A total of more than 200,000 parabolic mirrors have been installed in Andasol 3 which cover an area equivalent to some 70 football pitches. The investors in Andasol 3 are the Stadtwerke München, Ferrostaal, Solar Millennium, RWE Innogy and RheinEnergie. The Spanish company Duro Felguera together with Ferrostaal, Solar Millennium and their joint subsidiary Flagsol were responsible for planning and constructing the solar power plant.

Stadtwerke München (SWM) is one of the largest power and infrastructure companies in Germany. Over one million private households, commercial and business customers profit each day from SWM’s services and offerings. For decades SWM has supplied the Bavarian metropolis with power (electricity, natural gas, district heating) on a reliable and sustainable basis. The SWM expansion campaigns for renewable energies and the campaign for environment-friendly district heating, to name but two examples, serve as role models for other communities. SWM also supplies Munich with drinking water fresh from the source in the Bavarian alpine upland – one of the highest-quality waters in Europe – and operates 18 indoor and outdoor swimming pools in one of the most modern pool systems in Germany. The transport subsidiary MVG is responsible for the underground, buses and trams and is thus a major cornerstone in Munich’s local public transport network. The SWM Group employs some 7,500 people. In fiscal year 2010 the Group posted a turnover of around 3.8 billion euros.

Ferrostaal is a global provider of industrial services in plant construction and engineering. As a technology-independent system integrator, the company offers development and management of projects, financial planning and construction services for turnkey installations in the segments of Petrochemicals, Power, Solar, Oil & Gas and Special Projects. As a supplier-independent full service provider, Ferrostaal assembles complex modules for automotive manufacturers and suppliers, and trades as an independent sales and service partner with machines and installations in printing, plastics, packaging and recycling. Ferrostaal employs around 5,300 people in more than 40 countries. In 2010, its annual turnover amounted to 1.8 billion euros. 70% of the shares in Ferrostaal AG are held by the International Petroleum Investment Company from Abu Dhabi (IPIC), while 30% are owned by MAN SE (Munich, Germany).

Solar Millennium AG, Erlangen, (ISIN DE0007218406) is a global company which is active in the field of renewable energies and focuses on solar thermal power plants. Together with its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, it specialises in parabolic trough power plants and has achieved a leading position worldwide in this sector. Solar Millennium makes every effort to further enhance its expertise in the field of solar thermal power plants with the aim of establishing and sustaining its position at the cutting edge of technology. All the main business areas along the value chain for solar thermal power plants are covered: from project development and financing to the technology, right through to turnkey construction and operation of the plants. In Spain, Solar Millennium developed the first parabolic trough power plants in Europe and implemented these with partners. Further projects with an output of over 2,000 megawatts are being planned around the world, regional focuses here being at present Spain, the USA, India, China, the Middle East and North Africa. 

RWE Innogy concentrates the skills and power plants of the RWE Group in the renewable energies sector and is rapidly enhancing these in Europe. The focus is on both onshore and offshore wind power projects. But RWE Innogy will grow in the water power and biomass business sectors, too. The company is also intensively involved in geothermal power and in wave and tidal power plants. Another central task is innovation. Here RWE Innogy does not limit itself to classical research and development, but also invests in selected technology companies which are extremely promising. 

RheinEnergie, Cologne, is the municipal supplier of power and water in Cologne and the Rhine region. As the local supplier, RheinEnergie regards itself as bearing particular responsibility for climate protection which it lives up to with, among other things, its programme “Energy & Climate 2020”. In the context of this programme alone the company will provide 25 million euros in the coming five years, thereby generating investments of around 100 million euros for energy efficiency and climate protection. This will enable at least an additional 100,000 to 150,000 tons of CO2 to be saved. RheinEnergie is also one of the largest municipal owners of wind power plants in German, generating a total capacity of more than 100 MW.