Weekly Intelligence Brief: January 19 -26

This week’s CSP Today news brief includes the following companies and organisations: Abengoa Yield, BrightSource Energy, Solar Trust of America, California Energy Commission; ANEST; KA CARE, Chatham House; Flabeg FE, ACWA Group; The Royal Institute of Technology of Sweden.

Palen’s future on hold until Investment Tax Credit question is resolved, says Abengoa

According to a report published by Rechargenews.com, the Spanish company will not move forward with its Palen project until the future of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) after 2016 becomes clear. The 30 % ITC is due to step down to 10 % for large solar projects at the end of 2016.

The announcement was made by Abengoa Yield’s chief executive Santiago Seage during the opening ceremony of the Mojave parabolic-trough CSP plant in California, held on 23 January 2015.

The project has endured long permitting proceedings over the years. On 27 June 2012 it was acquired by BrightSource Energy from the Solar Trust of America. It went then through a twenty one month permitting process before the California Energy Commission (CEC), to allow the permit to be converted from parabolic trough to tower.

On 12 September 2014, the CEC released its decision and accepted the conversion, but recommended a reduction in the acreage and a single tower as opposed to the two 250 MW towers originally proposed. Then, 14 days later, Palen Solar Holdings -the consortium behind the project formed by BrightSource Energy and Abengoa, withdrew their proposal.

On 4 November 2014 Abengoa announced it had acquired BrightSource’s interest in the project. The company indicated that it will continue to use tower technology, and will include molten salt and thermal energy storage in its design, unlike the previous configuration.

Seage highlighted the importance of thermal energy storage: “We expect that going forward, most if not all concentrating solar power plants in the Southwest will include storage.”

Italy’s ANEST forecasts 120 MW of CSP in construction by 2016

According to Gianluigi Angelantoni, president of Italy’s National Association of Concentrated Power (ANEST), it is possible to have 120 MW of CSP under construction in Italy by 2016. The country currently has a pipeline of 300 MW of CSP, representing a direct investment of € 1,200 million.

The 120 MW of projects include two larger scale CSP plants and nine small scale projects. The plants are to be located in Sicily, Sardinia, Basilicata and Calabria and will include trough, tower and Fresnel technologies.

To see a review of the situation of the Italian CSP industry, visit this link: http://social.csptoday.com/tracker/market/italy

Saudi Arabia postpones 41-GW solar energy goal to 2040

Saudi Arabia is delaying by eight years its target to commission 41 GW solar power capacity, which includes 25 GW of CSP, a government official announced last week.

“We have revised the outlook to focus on 2040 as the major milestone for long-term energy planning in Saudi Arabia,” said Hashim Yamani, president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA CARE), the local agency established to oversee renewable energy policy.

The announcement was made during the World Future Energy Summit 2015, celebrated in Abu Dhabi last week. Yamani explained that the country “will need more time to consider which domestic energy sources will fit their long-term strategy,” as reported by Bloomberg.

Saudi Arabia’s government set out its ambitious goal in May 2012. According to the same report, the resolution came after “an influential Chatham House paper suggested business-as-usual policies would leave the kingdom a net oil importer by 2038”.

Flabeg FE appoints new CEO

The Germany-based manufacturer of high-tech glass and mirrors for CSP plants has appointed former chief financial officer, Christian Hanke, as the new chief executive officer (CEO).

The announcement was made on 16 January 2015 and the company indicated that the former CEO, Johann Heitzmann, (61) will continue to be a member of the company’s management board.

Flabeg FE GmbH is a subsidiary of the Saudi-Arabian ACWA Group, “a private ownership company with an annual turnover of more than US$7 billion in infrastructure and renewable energies,” as said in a written statement.

The Royal Institute of Technology of Sweden inaugurates solar lab

The department of heat and power technology of the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden will celebrate the opening ceremony of its “high flux solar laboratory” on 27 February 2015.

The institution has been working on the planning, development and construction of “one of the world's strongest indoor high flux solar laboratories for solar energy research” for the last three years.

The organization is now conducting research on three programs on concentrating solar power components. Some of the areas in which the team will focus their efforts include: solar heating, CSP, CPV, solar reactors and high-temperature materials.

For more information about the event, please visit this link: https://www.kth.se/en/itm/inst/energiteknik/forskning/kraft_varme/ekv-researchgroups/csp-group/events/solar-lab-inauguration-1.535143