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Brussels, 23 September 2009

Commissioner Piebalgs takes part in the inauguration of the state of the art Solar Power Plant in Seville

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs participated today in the inauguration of Europe's largest central receiver  solar power plant near Seville, Spain, in the presence of King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía. The new plant called PS20 will produce enough clean electricity to supply 10,000 homes, and will prevent the emission of approximately 12,000 tons of CO2 per year into the atmosphere.

Commissioner Piebalgs said: "I see the PS20 concentrating solar plant as a sound response to our climate and energy challenges: huge CO 2 emission reductions; contributing to the security of supply by using locally available energy sources; improved technological innovation, entrepreneurial leadership and job creation. PS20 is a clear example that EU research efforts have a multiplying effect, as it is largely building on the success of the neighbouring PS10 plant which was the first Concentrating Solar Power demonstration plant co-financed by the European Research programme."

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants are systems that use solar radiation as a high-temperature energy source to produce electricity out of heat like other thermal power plants. The EU has been giving support to this technology for more than ten years and has enabled research activities, to develop, to validate, to demonstrate and to disseminate various CSP technologies. Under the 5th and 6th Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, the EU contributed about €25 million to research projects in CSP technologies. This contribution has had a leveraging effect leading to a significant additional private investment that all in all amounts to about ten times the investments from the European Research Programme.

The PS20 plant built and operated by Abengoa Solar has an installed capacity of 20 MW. It is the second commercial plant of its kind, completed after the PS10 experience. PS20 features a number of technological improvements compared to PS10.   

The European Union's energy and climate package formally adopted in April this year contains the targets of 20% greenhouse gas emission reduction compared to 1990 and a 20% renewable energy share by 2020. The contribution of a wide range of technologies, including solar power, will be needed to achieve these targets.

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