GE invests in German 50 MW concentrated solar power plant with energy storage

Badajoz, Spain, October 28, 2011 – GE unit GE Energy Financial Services announced today it and German fund KGAL are jointly investing $157 million in a 50-MW parabolic trough concentrated solar power plant using molten salt energy storage in Torre de Miguel Sesmero, Badajoz, Spain.

The GE unit and KGAL agreed to invest structured equity in Extresol II, developed by Spain-based ACS, a developer, builder and operator of solar thermal power plants. Additional financial details were not disclosed.

ACS has built more than $2.8 billion worth of concentrated solar power facilities with molten salt energy storage in Spain. An ACS subsidiary, Cobra, finished construction of Extresol II in Dec. 2010 and provides operations and maintenance services to the plant.

This investment is GE Energy Financial Services’ first in a concentrated solar power plant using molten salt storage. Concentrated solar power involves generating power from steam turbines with free, clean heat from the sun, avoiding the use of traditional fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas or oil. The plants use mirrors that reflect sunlight to heat a thermal fluid.

The fluid is used to boil water to create steam and power steam turbines that generate electricity. Extresol II stores some of the solar heat by melting a special salt mixture during the day, then extracts the heat when the sun isn’t shining, such as at night, to continue producing steam for the turbines. Because salt is able to store heat for long periods, these facilities can generate electricity an extra seven hours a day.

This solar power plant is contributing to the European Community’s goal of generating 20 percent of its power from renewable sources, reducing emissions by 20 percent and increasing energy efficiency by 20 percent by 2020. The plant generates enough renewable electricity to power about 37,900 average Spanish households and avoids about 149,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year assuming its power displaces generation from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

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