Concentrated Solar Power Investment
CSP portfolio summary
At Low Carbon we are committed to the development of concentrated solar power (CSP) as a key element within our overall renewables offering.
CSP uses mirrors to concentrate the sun’s radiation and heat a ‘working fluid’ of molten salt. The thermal energy generated by this process can be integrated into thermal energy storage, which allows energy to be discretely released during evening and other prescribed periods.
Provenly stable, controllable, predictable and cheap to produce – its electricity costs 20% less than offshore wind – CSP is expected to substantially reduce UK consumers’ overall electricity costs.
To diversify the UK’s energy mix while reducing dependence on more expensive energy sources, 100% renewable power can be produced by imported CSP.
A key partner in Low Carbon’s CSP import activities is Nur Energie: an independent developer of large-scale CSP projects in the Mediterranean region. Currently developing a +2.2GW CSP pipeline in Tunisia, Greece and Morocco, the firm’s flagship project is TuNur, one of Low Carbon and Nur Energie’s most important joint initiatives.
TuNur, a 2GW solar export scheme based in the Tunisian Sahara, will leverage the most bountiful and intense solar radiation on earth. Yet its impact on the local desert environment will be negligible. With power flowing via a submarine transmission line to Italy and the European grid, it’s expected that by 2018 TuNur will generate enough electricity for 2.5m homes throughout the UK and Europe.
For more information on Nur Energie, please visit www.nurenergie.com.
Nur Energie and the CSP pipeline
With its ample sunshine and expanses of open space, the Sahara Desert provides an ideal location for large-scale concentrated solar power projects such as TuNur. A key link in the Tunisia/Greece/Morocco CSP pipeline, in a country whose average sunshine levels are 20% higher than at the best of Europe’s solar sites, TuNur’s desert location yearly enjoys solar radiation of 2500 KWh/m2.
Nur Energie has developed Greece’s first CSP site, a 50 MW tower power plant, in an island location whose solar resource is among Europe’s best. Since Crete is autonomous, islanders have historically paid high electricity prices; given the demand for power both daily and seasonally, CSP technology delivers a highly efficient and cost-effective solution for the territory’s energy needs.
Nur Energie is involved with a number of CSP and PV projects in Morocco. Key to these is the backdrop of a Moroccan trade balance severely affected by the historic importation of more than 95% of the country’s energy needs. Recognising the desert’s potential, Morocco’s government has established the Moroccan Solar Plan (MSP), with a 2020 solar assets target of 2 GW. Since summer 2012 Nur Energie has also operated two Moroccan meteorological measurement stations.