The Spanish multinational Ibereólica has submitted for approval by the Government of Chile's Environmental Assessment Service (SEA) the Pedro de Valdivia solar thermal electric or concentrating solar power (CSP) plant project: a formidable 360-megawatt plant that will require an investment of $2,600 million. The project is currently at the "qualification" stage, says the SEA.
According to information presented to the SEA, the project involves building and operating a 360-MW CSP plant in two phases of 180 MW each. Each of these phases will, in turn, consist of two adjacent independent 90-MW plants. The energy generated by the project will be evacuated into the Northern Interconnected System (SING). The project also involves the construction of two 220-kV transmission lines (each 5.5 kilometres long), an electricity substation and interconnection lines to and from the SING.
The site on which Ibereólica plans to build the CSP plant is located in the town of Maria Elena, Tocopilla province, II Region of Antofagasta. According to the Pedro de Valdivia project specifications published on the website of Chile's Environmental Assessment Service (sea.gob.cl), the high solar radiation in this region is "the best in the world".
The installation designed by Ibereólica is also the "largest to be developed in both II Region and nationally to date". Ibereólica estimates that the Pedro de Valdivia CSP plant "will prevent the emission of about 1,400 million kilos of carbon dioxide per annum; the equivalent emitted by coal power plants with a similar power rating".
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