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Loan Approved for First European Solar Thermal Power Plant in Spain

The European Investment Bank is providing a first EUR 60 million tranche for the first large-scale commercial solar thermal power plant in Europe. The new concentrating solar thermal power generation plant will have a net capacity of 50 MWe. It will be located some 60 km from the City of Granada in Southern Spain.

The project is the first phase of development at this site; a second similar phase is to be implemented shortly after. It will also test a new high temperature thermal storage system (molten salt) to extend the daily electricity generation to over 12 hours in winter and up to 20 hours in summer. The power plant is designed to generate electricity continuously to the grid when in operation.

Generating power from the renewable solar source will allow replacing more polluting fossil fuel-fired plants, thereby contributing to national and EU efforts to use indigenous renewable energy and to contrast climate change. The project supports Spain's policy to develop 200 MWe of solar thermal generation capacity, an objective likely soon to be significantly increased.

The project substantially benefits from EU research funds. It contributes to the deployment and industrialisation of new technology, thereby reducing the costs of future applications with the aim of achieving competitiveness with established technology over its lifetime. It incorporates EU innovative elements on technology developed in the USA to raise energy conversion and operating efficiency and to reduce costs. Immediate social benefits include some 45 permanent new jobs and about 1000 staff years of temporary jobs during construction.

The finance is being provided to the special purpose company AndaSol-1 Central Termosolar Uno, S.A., owned by ACS (75%) and Solar Millenium (25%). ACS is the third largest construction company in Europe resulting from the merger between ACS Group and Grupo Dragados. Solar Millenium AG is an innovative, technology and services German company that specialises in large-scale solar thermal power plants.

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