BrightSource Technology Cleared for 38MW Greek Concentrated Solar Plant

Greek regulators cleared the way for a 38-megawatts (MW) concentrated solar power plant (CSP) to be built on the island of Crete, using technology developed by U.S. company BrightSource Energy.

It will be the first such power plant built outside the U.S. (BrightSource recently received federal permission to build a massive CSP plant–the Ivanpah project–on public lands in California.)

Developer Nur-Moh SA announced that it received a 38 MW Electricity Generation License for the power plant from the Greek regulatory agency. Nur-Moh SA is a joint venture between Nur Energie, an independent power producer and developer active in the Mediterranean region, and Motor Oil Hellas (MOH.ATH), one of the largest corporations in Greece.

"After careful consideration, we selected BrightSource’s LPT 550 energy system because of the technology’s superior performance, low impact environmental design and ability to be customized to Crete’s unique energy load profile," said Kevin Sara, founder and CEO of Nur Energie.

The system uses thousands of small mirrors–called heliostats–to reflect sunlight onto a boiler atop a tower to produce high temperature steam. The steam is then piped to a conventional turbine, which generates electricity. In order to conserve water, the steam is air-cooled and piped back into the system in a closed-loop process. By using a dry-cooling technology, the plant consumes approximately 95% less water than competing wet-cooled solar thermal technologies.

"This licensing agreement reflects growing recognition of power towers as the commercial solar thermal technology of choice for energy markets around the world," said John Woolard, president and CEO of BrightSource Energy.

For Nur Energie, this is the first CSP plant to be licensed within a portfolio of solar development activities, including large scale solar power plants in North Africa.

Nur Energie Ltd is focused on developing projects with CSP, PV and CPV technology in five core markets- Greece, Italy, France, Morocco and Tunisia, and has a pipeline of over 100MW of PV projects and over 2210MW of CSP projects in development.

BrightSource, which also has licensed its technology to developers in Asia and South Africa, is likely to hold an IPO in 2011, according to recent reports.

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