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Spanish Solar Thermal Plant First in World Tied to National Grid

April 24, 2007 -

FLORENCE, ITALY - A new solar thermal plant in Spain, the largest of its type in Europe and the first in the world to produce power for a national grid, illustrates how technology innovation can be applied to meet the growing demand for cleaner energy. Featuring a specially designed steam turbine-generator supplied by GE Oil & Gas, Planta Solar (PS10), an 11-megawatt solar thermal power plant at Sanlúcar in Spain’s Seville province, was inaugurated March 30. Now producing power for Spain’s electricity grid, it is the first solar plant developed in Spain by the Abengoa Group of Seville.

“While similar plants have been developed for experimental use, Planta Solar 10 marks the first time such a solar thermal plant of this size has been connected to a national grid for the production of electricity,” said Claudi Santiago, GE Senior Vice President and President and CEO of GE Oil & Gas.

“As the first of its type to enter commercial service, this project is a milestone in the development of solar thermal technology,” he added. Several other projects ranging from 7 to 50 megawatts and employing similar technology are currently under development in Spain, Portugal and North Africa. Planta Solar 10 is based on solar tower technology: flat mirrors reflect the sun’s rays to the top of a tower for heating water and producing pressurized steam. The steam then is expanded through the turbine, which drives the generator to produce electricity for Spanish domestic consumption.

The GE steam turbine-generator was manufactured by GE’s French affiliate, Thermodyn. The design of the GE steam turbine for this project differs from the turbines Thermodyn typically builds for industrial applications such as incineration and biomass projects.

The inlet steam conditions of this turbine more closely resemble those of turbines used by the French Navy for electricity generation or the propulsion of nuclear ships, submarines or aircraft carriers. The inlet steam for the solar plant operation is saturated, which requires the turbine to have a design that prevents blade erosion due to the high humidity ratio of the steam that flows through the various stages. Thermodyn’s experience in building 35 turbines with similar steam conditions for the French Navy was a key factor in the selection of this technology by Abener, the Abengoa subsidiary that developed the Planta Solar project.

Founded in 1941 in Seville, Spain, the Abengoa Group includes four business units that operate internationally in the fields of energy, telecommunications, environment, and industry and services. About GE's Oil & Gas business GE's Oil & Gas business is a world leader in advanced technology products and services, operating in all segments of the global oil and gas industry. Based in Florence, Italy, the company offers complete solutions for production, LNG, transportation, storage, refineries, petrochemicals and distribution systems, as well as pipeline integrity solutions including analysis and pipeline asset management. Through its recent acquisition of VetcoGray, GE Oil & Gas has added products, systems and services for onshore and offshore drilling and production to its portfolio.


Updated: 2016/06/30

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