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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Municipality of Moura and 3 companies want to invest €40M in new solar thermal power station

The Municipal Council of Moura and three companies, two Portuguese and one German, want to build a solar thermal power plant in that municipality of Alentejo region, a predicted investment of 40 million euros.

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Alentejo is a region with low population density, occupying almost 33% of the area of Portugal and having only 5.2% of its inhabitants. For an effective regional development of Alentejo, it is critical to achieve the Alqueva Multi Purpose Project (Empreendimento de Fins Múltiplos do Alqueva) in its whole potential - agro-industry, agriculture, irrigation, tourism and renewable energies. This can be a great opportunity to develop the potential of Alentejo in the production of electricity from renewable sources, with emphasis on solar photovoltaics and now, solar thermal. The production will be carried out by centralized power plants, the Alqueva Hydroelectric Plant, small hydro plants, mini PV power plants and micro-generation.

The functional specialization, as a mechanism for creating competitive territories and stable employment, migth be a solution in the particular case of the Moura city and surrounding territory, by the promotion of a regional cluster in the area of solar power and innovation. In the context of the Regional Development strategy, the Moura Project has two main “tracks”: Moura Solar Factory (MFS), Moura Technological Park and the micro-generation Program. Now, a new track is in its initial development phase - a new solar thermal power plant.

It is worthy of remark that the known 46 MWp (62 MWp in the posterior 2nd phase) single-axis tracking system centralized photovoltaic plant in Moura (Amareleja parish), promoted by the local municipality and Acciona Energia (Spain), is expected to be completed by the end of 2008. This plant will have the highest power so far installed in the world with this technology. The installation of 46 MWp power represents an investment of approximately 250 million euros.

A 7.6 million euros PV panel manufacturing plant (MSF) will provide panels for the second stage of the Amareleja power station construction. The factory, located also in Amareleja (Baldio das Ferrarias), is being constructed by Acciona and became operational in December 2007. Its future production will be targeted at the international market, with a capacity of producing 24 MW of solar panels annually.

Actually, the new project is expected in a memorandum of understanding already signed between the Municipal Council, the German company SKY Energy and the Portuguese TOM, Lda. e Lógica ( this one from the Municipality) , which aims with concerted efforts to create the necessary conditions for building the plant.

The new solar thermal power station, which will have 10 MW of installed capacity, will be installed in an area of about 15 ha. The selection of this area should be completed in January 2009.

By the end of August 2010, it will be defined the financial structure of the plant construction, for later project presentation to the Ministry of Economy.

The construction of the plant, estimated the Mayor José Maria Pós-de-Mina, should start as soon as the relevant permits and allowances are issued and it is guaranteed a tariff that allows the project viability.

Image: Moura (Amareleja) Photovoltaic Power Station / by Luis Alves


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