Abengoa Pushing Forward With Palen CSP Project Despite Difficulties

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Abengoa — the prominent Spanish multinational energy and telecommunications company — has decided to continue pushing forward with the development of the Palen concentrating solar power (CSP) project regardless of the withdrawal of its planning application a few months ago (September), according to recent reports.

The 500 MW project had been under development via a partnership between Abengoa and Brightsource, before the planning application was withdrawn following on the news that the project would have to be reduced in size, from two towers to one, and that it would have to take up considerably less land.

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As part of Abengoa’s recent announcement to continue pushing forward, the company also revealed that it will be acquiring Brightsource’s stake in the project — and that it will be altering the project to a single tower configuration, and increasing molten salt storage.

“Abengoa aims to bring forward a project that will better meet the needs of the market and energy consumers. Concentrating solar power, and specifically tower technology with thermal energy storage, can play a key role in helping California achieve its clean energy goals by providing the flexibility needed to maintain grid reliability,” the company stated in a press release.

That statement alludes to the fact that the state of California has placed storage requirements on the state’s main utilities. In reference to that, PG&E’s proposed molten storage project is intended to help the utility reach its share of the 1.3 GW target for storage.

The new plans will still have to be submitted to the CEC, and are pending approval.

From the outside, the recent development seem to signal that it was simply a matter of Brightsource wanting out that led to the withdrawal of the application — perhaps due to ongoing issues with the most prominent CSP project out there (Ivanpah)? Brightsource owns a 20% stake in that one.

Image Credit: Abengoa

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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