As reported at EarthTechling by Lauren Craig, October 18th, 2011, the largest solar power plant in Europe is officially up and running. The 50-megawatt (MW) Andasol 3 parabolic trough plant, together with the Andasol 1 and 2 plants, creates a 150-MW behemoth in Andalusia, Spain.
Andasol 3 is expected to generate approximately 165 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year, and save about 150,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
During construction the project employed nearly 600 people and continuing operation and maintenance of the facility will create about 50 permanent jobs. The power plant has about 205,000 parabolic reflectors that concentrate solar heat into a heat transfer fluid, transmitting the heat through a steam circuit to drive a turbine, producing electricity. A thermal storage tank holding 30,000 tons of a special blend of salts can store heat for eight hours, allowing Andasol 3 to continue to generate electricity at night.
“Andasol 3 proves that converting Europe’s electricity production methods can be achieved far more efficiently if we take an international approach, rather than pursuing national concepts,” said Hans Bünting, chief financial officer of RWE Innogy, one of the collaborating builders. “I see this power plant as a role model for the rest of Europe; it may even generate the impetus needed for the development of a European market with common regulations for renewable energy sources.”
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