Greece plans world's largest solar power park

GALWAY, IRELAND - Greece has revealed plans to build the world's largest solar park, which will have a generating capacity of 200 megawatts MW.

The plan was recently revealed by Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou. The facility will be located on 520 hectares 1,285 acres of disused coal mines in the northern city of Kozani. Costing more than 600 million euros $807 million, the plant's construction will be overseen by state-owned energy company Public Power Corporation SA Athens, which will release a tender in the coming months. PPC hopes to find a large international partner for the project by this summer, with the project expected to be completed in just one year, by mid-2012.

The Kozani project will be capable of producing 260,000 megawatt-hours MWh of electricity annually, offsetting 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

Greece is going through its worst-ever recession, and new energy projects are seen by the government as one way of stimulating new jobs and growth in the economy.

"This photovoltaic park is a defining project in our drive to change the Greek development model and attract innovative investment," commented Prime Minister Papandreou.

Arthur Zervos, chief executive of Public Power Corporation, added: "This is a great step toward the fulfilment of a viable energy policy for our country, as well as a new growth prospect for the local community. As a public company we chose to launch an international tender for the Kozani project in order to ensure full transparency."

In related news, London-based Nur Energie, through its NUR-MOH Heliothermal joint venture, has received the green light from the Greek regulatory agency to construct a 38-MW concentrated solar power CSP plant on the Greek island of Crete. The plant will use the LPT 550 solar power system from BrightSource Energy Oakland, California, which will produce electricity for approximately 13,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by 35,000 tons annually. The system uses thousands of small mirrors, known as heliostats, to reflect sunlight onto a boiler on top of a tower to produce high-temperature steam, which is then piped to a conventional turbine to generate electricity.

"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 customised to Crete's unique energy load profile," said Kevin Sara, founder and CEO of Nur Energie. "When completed, this will be the largest tower installation and the most technologically advanced CSP plant in Europe."

IIR's Renewable Energy Database provides extensive coverage on the wind energy, geothermal, hydroelectric, landfill gas-to-energy and utility-scale solar power plants throughout North America, and is now expanding coverage across the world.


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