Spanish multinational renewable energy developer Abengoa is to build one of the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) farms in the US, a 200-MW facility located in south-central California’s Imperial Valley. Awarded an engineering and construction (E&C) contract valued at $360 million, the project is scheduled to be up and running in a mere 18 months, with clean, renewable power coming on-line in phases during 2H 2013, according to a company press release.
The 200-MW solar PV project is expected to create around 150 direct jobs during design and development, as well as additional jobs with local sub-contractors. Abengoa has reached an agreement with local businesses to promote economic development around the Imperial Valley region, which has literally and figuratively become a “hotbed” of solar and renewable energy resources and projects.
Abengoa’s also got CO2 emissions reduction and environmental conservation on its mind, stating that “the plant’s design will reduce atmospheric carbon emissions as well as generating significant energy and fuel savings.”
Geographic, Renewables Diversification Key to Abengoa’s Success
Abengoa is doing well despite Spain’s economic and financial troubles, which led to a temporary suspension of its renewable energy feed-in tariff (FiT) in late January.
From its headquarters in Seville, Abengoa’s expanded internationally, and it’s been management’s determination in diversifying geographically that drove revenues 18%, cash flow 24% and and net income 58% higher in Q1 2011, according to its Q1 results.
More than 70% of Abengoa’s total €1,764 million ($2,205 million) in revenue was generated internationally. The company has established itself here in the US with offices and plants, including two solar thermal, aka concentrating solar power (CSP) stations in the Arizona and Mojave deserts. Revenue from the Americas region accounted for nearly 50% of the Q1 total, with US revenue accounting for 17% and Brazil revenue 14%.
Renewable energy Engineering & Construction (E&C) makes up the bulk of Abengoa’s business. E&C revenue rose 19% to €931 million ($1,163.75 million) in 1Q while EBITDA rose 13% to €106 million ($132.5 million), with an 11.4% margin. Electricity Infrastructure concessions (1Q Rev: €103mm, +18%; EBITDA margin: 65%) and Industrial Production (1Q Rev: €730mm, +17%; EBITDA margin: 15%) are Abengoa’s other two major operating divisions.
With 121,000 reflective parabolic mirrors installed over an area roughly the size of 300 soccer fields, the CSP farm generates steam at a temperature of 400 degrees which drive two 50-MW turbines to generate clean, renewable electricity. The CSP farm will provide electricity for 52,000 households and avoid some 63,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.