Abengoa won a favorable environmental rating from the authorities of the Chilean Environmental Service to develop a solar-thermal plant using molten salts tower technology with an installed capacity of 110 MW.
The project, located in the Atacama Desert, the region with the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, has been regularly visited by the authorities from the Chilean Environmental Service and the regional services in order to perform various types of evaluations as part of the process to grant environmental authorization to the project.
The Evaluation and Review Committee unanimously voted to approve the project after verifying the absence of any type of negative impact during the construction and operations phases.
The experts took into account issues such as use of the land, water, air, emissions and waste, as well as any other aspect that could generate an environmental impact in the area where the plant will be constructed.
Cerro Dominador will be the first solar-thermal plant for direct electricity production in South America. It is also the first non-conventional renewable energy plant to serve as a baseload power plant thanks to its production stability and reliability.
Furthermore, it will have a thermal storage system designed and developed by Abengoa, which will enable electricity to be produced for about 18 hours without the need for a solar power resource. This will enable it to supply electricity in a stable way, 24 hours a day, and to respond to all demand periods for electricity consumption.
Abengoa will hold a ceremony to mark the start of the project on May 14 at the project's site in the commune of Maria Elena in the Antofagasta region, northern Chile, to which the most senior regional and national authorities have been invited.
Construction of this plant will generate an average of 700 direct jobs, requiring up to 2,000 workers. Around 50 stable jobs will be created once the project comes into commercial operation. Similarly, the development, commissioning and operation of the plant will generate a high number of indirect jobs, as well as a network of services and new industrial investments that will develop the local market, promoting economic growth in the country.