Atacama 2 will feature a 110 MW solar thermal electricity (STE) power plant with tower technology that will incorporate a thermal energy storage system able to generate electricity for 15 hours without direct solar radiation. It will also have a 100 MW photovoltaic plant.
The Environmental Qualification Resolution from the Environmental Evaluation Service (SEA) took into account aspects such as land and water use, emissions reduction and the management of waste from the projects. Construction of the complex is expected to start within the next two months.
The design follows the Atacama 1 solar complex model currently under construction near Maria Elena, in the Antofagasta region of Northern Chile. Atacama 1 will incorporate the first solar thermal electricity power plant in Latin America, with 17.5 hours of thermal storage. The complex will also have a 100 MW PV plant.
Both Atacama 1 and Atacama 2 will showcase an innovative thermal storage system with molten salts designed and developed by Abengoa, which provides solar thermal technology with a high grade of dispatchability, supplying stable electricity 24 hours a day and permitting to meet the different periods of energy demand.
In addition, these plants will also have a management system for the energy produced by both solar thermal electric and PV technologies, which will mean a new step forward for the integration of renewables in the grid through the incorporation of this ancillary service.
Abengoa has been present in Chile since 1987, where it has carried out numerous projects for mining companies, the electrical industry, communications and the industrial sector. Abengoa currently has 1,603 MW of installed capacity in commercial operation worldwide, along with 360 MW under construction and 320 MW in pre-construction.