Launch of the largest solar thermal power plant in Latin America

Chili: inauguration de la plus grande centrale solaire thermique d
Santiago de Chile, Chile | AFP | Tuesday 08/06/2021 – Chile on Tuesday opened Latin America’s first solar power plant in the world’s driest and sunniest Atacama Desert (north), a plan to help the country achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Covering an area of ​​700 hectares, 10,600 mirrors surround a tower 250 meters high, the top of which is bombarded by the sun’s rays.

A tank containing molten salt is heated to over 560 degrees and produces steam, which operates a turbine that produces 110 MW of clean electricity.

The infrastructure is connected to a nearby photovoltaic power plant, and the two together provide a total of 210 MW of renewable energy.

Called the “Serrado Dominator” (Mountain of Dominance), the project has the uniqueness of being able to operate 24 hours a day, even in the absence of the sun, because molten salts generate 17.5 hours of energy.

“This will save us more than 600,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year, which is equivalent to emitting 300,000 cars a year,” Chilean President Sebastian Pinera told a crowd. Launch of the project, construction began in 2014.

The project of the Spanish companies Apengova and Agiona was built 200 km east of the coastal city of Antofagasta, in the middle of the Atacama Desert, about 3,000 meters above sea level, near the municipality of Maria Elena.

He said it was a new step towards renewing Chile’s energy matrix by 2050 and achieving the carbon neutrality provided by the Paris Climate Agreement by that date. Pinera said. That is, a country with no net CO2 emissions. .

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“Chile is a country poor in past energies, we had little oil, little coal, little gas, but very rich in future energies. We have the highest radiation deserts in the world (..), the best wind in the world, geothermal energy coming from volcanoes, the sea The wave energy that comes from, ”said the Chilean president.

Chile wants to become a benchmark in green hydrogen production, which is the subject of widespread consensus around the world as a fuel for the conversion of polluting fossil fuels.

At the CEM12 / MI6 climate forum hosted by Chile, the country pledged to promote green hydrogen as a fuel in conjunction with the United Kingdom, Australia and the European Union.

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Cory Weinberg

About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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