Weekly Intelligence Brief: August 11 - 18

This week’s CSP Today news brief includes the following companies and organisations: Rayspower, Sundhy (Chengdu) Solar Power Co., CGN Solar; Climate Policy Initiative (CPI); Abengoa, The U.S. Department of Energy; African Development Bank.


Rayspower bags a major contract in China

Chinese entity Rayspower has bagged the contract for the supply of parabolic mirrors for what is being termed as the first CSP project in China.

The contract award for this project was decided through open competitive bidding procedures. As per information available, all of RP3 type mirrors for this project will be supplied by Sundhy (Chengdu) Solar Power Co., a subsidiary of Rayspower.

The YanQing 863 Parabolic Trough CSP Platform was developed by the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), with the aim of studying the parabolic trough system technology and its key components.

The Parabolic Trough CSP Platform includes 3 x 600m parabolic solar collector loops that have a 5770mm aperture width.

Chinese CSP developer and EPC company, CGN Solar, was chosen by the CAS as one of the partners for this project.

CPI studies the journey of CSP in Spain

Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), an organisation that focuses on improving upon energy and land use policies around the world, has analysed the journey of the CSP sector in Spain, articulating what worked and what did not for the sector from a regulatory perspective.

CPI mentioned that the Spanish financial incentives for renewable energy were apt to support CSP installations. Spain managed to amass 2.3 GW of CSP plants in approximately five years. This meant an average of 300MW financed every year during the 2006- 2012 period.

But as Spain’s economic situation suffered owing to the global financial crisis, the shortcoming of shoddy policymaking came to the fore. The absence of a cap or any other kind of policy control over the amount of CSP deployed led to a state in which support became much more expensive than planned.

The way the Spanish authorities responded to such scenario was not really ideal, the report concludes. The decision to approve retroactive amendments to directly curtail the cost of support to CSP plants resulted in an adverse impact, hurting the financial performance of operating plants. In fact, this severely affected the domestic CSP sector. Overall, inept policy changes stepped up risk aversion and financing costs to a level that Spain is now much less attractive for CSP than many other developed and emerging nations.

CPI mentioned that CSP support policies should encourage competition and cost reduction as well as support deployment. Another lesson is that countries should abstain from making retroactive changes to policy that can damage investors’ perception of policy risk.

Geographic diversification working out well for Abengoa

Abengoa has cited its focus on geographic diversification to be the key driver behind its growth, as the Spanish engineering group reported revenues of €3,405 million in the first half of 2014.

North America contributed 39% of revenues posted in the first six months of this year. South America followed with 25%; Spain 14%; the rest of Europe, 13%, and 9% came from Asia and Africa. The group improved its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) over 30% year over year during the January-June 2014 period.

Revenues in the engineering and construction segment, including the result from technology and manufacturing activities, decreased by 5% to €2,068 million, while EBITDA increased by 5% to €366 million. The group mentioned that this performance came on expected lines owing to the conclusion of some large projects, such as Solana, a 280MW CSP plant in Arizona, in the U.S.

In the CSP sector, Abengoa Solar was chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy in June to work out a storage technology. The two-year programme will require an investment of €1.3 million by the department. The group also conducted the ground-breaking ceremony to commemorate the commencement of the works of the first solar-thermal plant in Latin America, located in the commune of María Elena in the Atacama Desert, Chile.

African Development Bank to support renewable energy in Mali 

The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), a bilateral trust fund administered by the African Development Bank, has approved in Tunis a US$530,000 grant to Mali, as co-funding for a project to promote renewable energy in the country (PAPERM project).

The objective is to garner renewable energy investments from the private sector. One of the core areas of the PAPERM initiative is to improve upon the policy, legal, regulatory and institutional environment to promote investment in renewable energy.

Specifically, SEFA will finance policy, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks, as well as capacity building for various audiences involved in developing, financing and operating renewable energy power projects.

The SEFA funded component is part of a wider project (PAPERM) in the context of the country’s Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) with a total project cost of approximately US$ 2.6 million, also funded by the SREP (US$1.5 million) and the government of Mali (US$0.4 million).