Australian MP Visits Gemasolar Plant in Spain  

Posted by Big Gav in , , , , ,

The SMH has a report on a visit by Independent MP Tony Windsor and some renewable energy advocates to Spain's solar thermal power plants - Fund studies, not schemes, says Windsor.

Mr Windsor, a member of the government's multi-party climate change committee, spent last week researching clean energy facilities and policy-making in Europe, including an inspection of Torresol Energy's 20 megawatt Gemasolar power station near Seville, Spain.

Gemasolar uses 2650 mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays on to the top of a central ''power tower'' and heat salt to more than 500 degrees. The molten salts store heat that is slowly released to power a steam turbine, generating enough electricity for 25,000 households.

Last month, Gemasolar became the first solar thermal power station to supply electricity into the grid for 24 hours - including throughout the night - a key test for solar energy's ability to provide baseload power.

Mr Windsor visited the facility with Ross Garnaut, a climate change adviser, and Matthew Wright, head of Beyond Zero Emissions, a think-tank which proposed last year the extensive use of baseload solar power in its stationary energy plan to re-power Australia with 100 per cent renewable energy.

Mr Windsor said the Gemasolar plant was ''an incredible sight''.

''I was in the vehicle with the project manager, Santiago [Arias], and when we drove in, we drove down this track between the reflectors. The tower was some hundred yards away as we started this drive and I made the point, 'we're driving into our future here', and we really are!

''I have no doubt that this sort of stuff is where we should be going.''

Mr Windsor's tour took in a full range of renewable and low-emissions technologies that could receive funding from the multi-party climate committee's proposed clean energy finance corporation, which will provide $10 billion of debt and equity finance, and loan guarantees.

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