World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Power Plant – Shams 1 – Launched by Masdar and Total and Abengoa

Inauguration of Shams 1, a 100-megawatt solar thermal plant, is a major milestone in the development and deployment of renewable energy in the Middle East

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Masdar, along with its partners, today launched Shams 1, the largest concentrated solar power plant (CSP) in operation in the world. Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, partnered with French energy company Total and Spain’s energy infrastructure company Abengoa. The 100-megawatt solar-thermal project will power thousands of homes in the United Arab Emirates and displace approximately 175,000 tons of CO₂ per year. The US $600 million project took three years to build.

“The inauguration of Shams 1 is a major breakthrough for renewable energy in the Middle East,” said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar. “Just like the rest of the word, the region is faced with meeting its rising demand for energy, while also working to reduce its carbon footprint. Shams 1 is a significant milestone, as large-scale renewable energy is proving it can deliver electricity that is sustainable, affordable and secure.”

Located in the UAE’s Western Region, in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Shams 1 was designed and developed by Shams Power Company, a joint venture between Masdar (60 percent), Total (20 percent) and Abengoa Solar (20 percent). With the addition of Shams 1, Masdar’s renewable energy portfolio accounts for almost 68 percent of the Gulf’s renewable energy capacity and nearly 10 percent of the world’s installed CSP capacity.

“Abu Dhabi is investing and incubating a new energy industry, domestically and internationally,” said Dr. Al Jaber. “Through Masdar, the UAE is redefining the role it plays in providing the world with energy. From precious hydrocarbon exports to sophisticated renewable energy systems, we are balancing the energy mix and diversifying our economy – moving toward a more sustainable future. Today, the UAE is the only OPEC nation delivering both hydrocarbons and renewable energy to the international market.”

Shams 1 is an example of how collaboration between companies can achieve large-scale, clean-energy solutions that help meet the world’s growing energy demands.

“As a long-lasting partner of Abu Dhabi, we are particularly proud to have been part of the challenging adventure that was Shams 1 construction. This is a major step in the process of transforming the capabilities of solar power in the region,” said Christophe de Margerie, chairman and CEO of Total. “We share Abu Dhabi’s vision that renewables have a promising future alongside fossil energies. Total is today a world leader in solar industry. As such, we are pleased to accompany the Emirate in the diversification of its energy mix.”

Covering an area of 2.5 km², or 285 football fields, Shams 1 generates electricity to power 20,000 homes in the UAE. Also, because solar power is generated during peak demand, the UAE is able to reduce the need for “peak shaving” generators, which are expensive and idle most of the year.

“The Middle East holds nearly half of the world’s renewable energy potential,” said Santiago Seage, CEO of Abengoa Solar. “The abundance of solar energy is an opportunity to integrate sustainable, clean sources of power that address energy security and climate change. The region needs more projects like Shams 1, and we look forward to pushing the boundaries of future energy.”

Incorporating the latest in parabolic trough technology, Shams 1 features more than 258,000 mirrors mounted on 768 tracking parabolic trough collectors. By concentrating heat from direct sunlight onto oil-filled pipes, Shams 1 produces steam, which drives a turbine and generates electricity. In addition, the solar project uses a booster to heat steam as it enters the turbine to dramatically increase the cycle’s efficiency. The project also includes a dry-cooling system that significantly reduces water consumption – a critical advantage in the arid desert of western Abu Dhabi.

Source: Business Wire


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  • This information will endeavour to answer the issue as to whether the modern capitalist world in which we live is ever going to be able to embrace the method of a Sustainable Energy System.

    Germany the European leaders in the switch towards implementing domestic and commercial solar power panels as the recommended method for producing energy for the future are this year struggling with how a reliance on Solar technology can go very fiscally wrong. What had begun as a bold experiment in re-balancing energy sources has ended in a developing monetary pricing crisis that has begun to contrain economic growth.

    This winter productivity from solar panel installations has been exceptionally low and Germany has discovered itself in a position with little option than to import expensive nuclear generated electricity from close by countries. Moreover, in the face of the highest electricity costs in Europe the government is even opening taboo fuel oil generators to produce up the power slack.

    A move to prevent fracking has held back the development of domestic unconventional gas, leaving the country dependent once again on importing volume, mainly from Russia. The overall result being electricity rates which are now estimated to go up dramatically. What is more, this is on top of the already high prices being paid in order for the German energy organizations to re-coupe the massive subsidies which they have been paying to finance the feed in tariff system.

    So here we have it, the leading renewable energy country in Europe on the verge of being consumed by the economics of restricted oligarchical supply of conventional fossil and nuclear fuels combined with the relative inelastic demand of fuel requirements of a cold black winter which cannot be supplied from a major renewable mix of solar power. So what can we learn from the circumstance in Germany? And above all what is the mix of energy provision for Sustainability within the economic environment in which we live?
    There isn’t any doubt whatsoever as to the procedure by which energy suppliers plan to re-coupe their expenses of the feed in tariff system. They simply raise the tariffs that they charge all of their customers. This has to be done in order to manage their net profit, share-price and dividend outlook and for this reason alone it makes perfect sence for the feed in tariff not to be at a level higher than the average per KW/h of standard supply electricity. However, in addition to the per KW/h price inflation pressure of suppliers having to service feed in tariff payments to those who will continue to gain benefit from the 43p initial rate there are 2 other crucial elements creating real economic difficulties associated with solar panel systems.

    Firstly the feed in tariff of installed systems only raises every year in accordance with the retail price index and not the inflation index of electricity (which currently and historically for the past 20 years has been substantially more than the previous). Therefore, in the framework of the current feed in tariff rate being 15.44p per Kw/h (which is less than the existing average cost of standard supply per KW/h), not only is there an instant disparity relating to the price at which you sell the electricity that you produce (perhaps justifiably and that which you buy. However, most substantially on a year by year basis the gap between what you are paid for your produced electricity and that which you buy from your provider will continue to increase disproportionately in the favor of the provider. Unfortunately this financial policy can only result in a constant round of price rises by the big suppliers as increased solar systems are set up, since there is no antagonistic mechanism in place (primarily due to the relatively inelastic demand of energy) which results in a lesser revenue flow from rising prices.

    Secondly and most importantly the above linked to the nature of the way domestic solar systems function means a residence even with a bigger system installed will very rarely cut the requirement to buy electricity from their energy supplier by more than 25%. Therefore, in the structure of the feed in tariff system any projection of profits from installations will only be eaten away by electricity price inflation.

    So has the feed in tariff system been a success?

    In order to kick start an industry without doubt it has, but continuing to move forward without modification it will simply become a stress on everyone but the shareholders in the energy corporations for the points already discussed.

    So what is the answer?

    Without destroying or altering the framework of the feed in tariff system altogether the answer would be to at the very minimum have the feed in tariff pegged against a weighted electricity inflation rate in order that it is not possible for the energy suppliers to simply inflation depreciate the value of feed in tariff payments and also to act as an antagonistic mechanism to restrict price increases. This in isolation would safeguard those people who currently have systems installed and any future households who have systems installed. It is also worth stating here that should there be a lowering of the electricity price index then this would also be reflected.

    A second option would be to eliminate the economics altogether and make it straightforward. I have constantly been one to feel that the simple solution to a problem is typically the best. If you produce 3000 kw/hrs per year but use 4000 kw/h per year then you pay for 1000 kw/h and a fixed service charge. However, for some reason within the confines of a capitalist system this just won’t do and the reason for this everybody, lets just hold our breath for a moment, is that once you take away the relationship to the monetary system and differing inflation rates the figures cannot be regulated in the favor of capitalism but work in the favor of society.

    All great and good i may possibly hear many of you say but what of those people who don’t have a roof over their head which enables them the benefit of shielding themselves? And what will the landscape be after 20 or 25 years when the contracts end?

    There are a lot of commercial installations around the country which are yet to get off the drawing board due to a shortage of private investment capital out there. Why not allow private individuals to invest in these projects employing some kind of personal allowance for which they would be able to get an electrical credit each year associated to the size of investment or a personal feed in tariff rate attributable to their own small % of ownership or even better implement a solar energy project just like that suggested by Sustainable Energy and Heating Systems Ltd that is currently in the publication stage with the Intellectual property office in the UK.

    As to the matter of the length of time associated with the feed in tariff contracts. That could well be discussed in the next article but for your entire solar panel installer needs please do not think twice to contact us.

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