SolarReserve, the industry leader in baseload solar power solutions and advanced solar thermal technology with energy storage, has received an environmental approval from the Chilean government to build a 390 MW solar thermal power station with 5,100 MWh of energy storage.
This important milestone marks SolarReserve’s third approval of a solar thermal project that will provide Chile with a non-intermittent, 24-hour supply of energy – at a price competitive with fossil fuel based generation.
Using SolarReserve’s proprietary solar thermal energy storage technology, the Likana Solar Energy Project in the Antofagasta region, where there are many mines, will be comprised of three 130 MW solar thermal towers, each with 13 hours of full load energy storage. With 5.1 GWh of total energy storage capacity, the facility will deliver 390 MW of continuous output, resulting in over 2,800 GWh generated annually. It will operate at a capacity factor and availability percentage equal to that of a fossil fired power plant, while providing a highly competitive price of power – and with zero emissions.
SolarReserve’s technology and applicability for mining will be discussed in an article on energy for mines in International Mining’s September issue.
“The Chilean transmission system will have difficulty accommodating large amounts of intermittent power. The distribution companies and mining sector require a firm, secure, and stable supply of electricity 24 hours a day,” said Tom Georgis, SolarReserve’s Senior Vice President of Development. “The Likana project will help lower electricity costs for Chilean families and businesses, while safeguarding grid stability.”
SolarReserve will be bidding energy and associated capacity, from Likana and the company’s other Chilean projects, into the upcoming auction for firm energy supply issued annually by Chile’s power distribution companies.
“What’s happening in Chile is a preview of the future of solar thermal with energy storage around the world. Even more remarkable than baseload solar, SolarReserve set a new benchmark for solar thermal pricing by bidding $0.064/kw-h, without subsidies, in Chile’s last auction for energy supply,” said Kevin Smith, SolarReserve’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’ve proven that solar with thermal energy storage can compete head-to-head with conventional energy on both functionality and cost.”
This achievement will have far-reaching global impacts, as grids will be able to cost-effectively incorporate solar energy that can:
• Deliver non-intermittent baseload power that is more easily integrated into existing grids, and
• Provide firm capacity to reliably meet demand during peak hours, generating when energy is most
valuable, reducing cost and risk for electricity customers.
As part of SolarReserve’s project development and permitting process for the Likana Solar Project, the company collaborates with stakeholders and local communities to ensure minimal environmental impact. This process includes careful site selection, low water use systems, and extensive environmental studies prior to starting construction. The Likana Solar Project underwent comprehensive environmental assessment under the Chilean Impact Assessment System (Sistema de Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental – SEIA) administered by the Environmental Evaluation Service (SEA), and as a result was successfully awarded an environmental qualification resolution (Resolución de Calificación Ambiental) (RCA), which is the name for the Chilean environmental permit.