Endesa to replace Spanish coal complex with ‘Europe’s largest PV plant’

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The complex will feature 1.585GW of PV and replace a 1.1GW-plus thermal power trio Endesa is decommissioning at Andorra, Teruel. Image copyright: 2011-2019 Endesa S.A.

Plans for what is being billed as “Europe’s largest solar plant” have been put forward in Spain as the UN climate negotiations came to a close in Madrid.

Endesa took the floor at the COP25 summit in Madrid to announce a roadmap to replace its major thermal power plant in the Teruel province with a renewable “megaproject”.

José Bogas, CEO of the energy giant, spoke at the climate talks of a scheme to deploy a 1.7GW-plus green energy complex in Andorra, a four-hour drive east from capital Madrid.

The installation would be mostly PV-powered – 1.585GW of the 1.7GW-plus total – but also feature a 139MW wind component and a further 160MW in energy storage systems.

The capacity surge is meant to plug the gap left behind by a 1.1GW-plus thermal power plant Endesa is working to decommission at the same location, Bogas said.

The coal-powered complex in Andorra – split into three equally sized plants – was commissioned between 1979 and 1980 and will be dismantled after Endesa got the green light from the Spanish government this year.

According to the firm’s estimates, deploying the 1.7GW-plus in new solar, wind and storage capacity will require overall investments of around €1.487 billion (US$1.65 billion).

The Andorra plans add to Endesa's efforts to replace another coal complex –  1.052GW Compostillas, in the León province – with 390MW in new renewable capacity. 

Endesa's gigawatt-scale solar push is the latest move of the industry's frantic year in Spain, with major PV pipelines progressing through development with and without the help of subsidies.

The country – home to this year’s COP talks after anti-government unrest in original host nation Chile – ended this year months of political standstill by electing a coalition government, including figures that masterminded a shift to solar-friendly policies.

For its part, Enel has marked progress with its solar ventures in the country this year, completing its auction-backed 339MW pipeline even as it was awarded a fresh 72.4MW through a Balearic-specific tender.

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