Torresol Energy celebrates its tenth anniversary
Torresol Energy, a company created to promote the technological development, construction, operation and maintenance of large solar power plants, owner of the innovative plants Gemasolar–a pioneering facility with central tower and molten salt heat storage technology– in Fuentes de Andalucía (Seville); Valle 1 and Valle 2 -with SENERtrough® parabolic trough technology- in San José del Valle (Cádiz), celebrates its tenth anniversary.
On 11 March 2008, the engineering and technology group SENER and the alternative energy company from Abu Dhabi Masdar founded Torresol Energy with the purpose of turning solar power into a true alternative energy that is clean and able to compete with traditional sources, by means of the development of innovative plants with storage capacity and cutting-edge technology.
As a result, SENER, which owns 60% of the company, committed to a long-term investment in its own technology by building and operating the most innovative, efficient and profitable solar power plants. For its part, Masdar, which owns the remaining 40%, shared the same vision of the potential of solar power, which comes from an inexhaustible source, is clean and abundant, and is possible to manage thanks to thermal energy storage.
Torresol Energy started with a small team whose first mission was to ensure the permissions required to develop three plants in Andalusia (Spain) – Gemasolar, Valle 1 and Valle 2 -, get finance and commission the construction and engineering works to SENER. 10 years later, Torresol Energy operate three facilities with state-of-the-art technology that offer 117 MW of clean, safe energy to more than 100,000 homes, while annually reducing the CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere by 117,000 tons (close to 650,000 tons in total since they have been operating commercially).
Enrique de Sendagorta, President of Torresol Energy, declares: “Solar power energy, thanks to its manageability and reliability, due to its storage systems, is essential when it comes to progressing towards a scenario of zero-emissions power generation. The current leadership enjoyed by Spanish companies is a historic opportunity within an emerging global market, and it is a unique success case in the continuous support of R&D activity, which we, at SENER, decisively started working on in this sector a decade ago. At Torresol Energy, our three plants have demonstrated that the central receiver tower and parabolic trough technologies, both with salt storage, are excellent solutions for generating renewable energies.”
Besides, the 120 professionals working at Torresol Energy are experts in operating and maintaining solar power plants. These highly qualified experts have accumulated unique experience in the sector: Gemasolar is the central receiver tower and molten salt heat storage plant that has been operating the most hours in the world, one of the reasons being that it is the first plant in the world to commercially operate using this technology. It was also the first one to operate for 24 hours uninterruptedly, a record it has broken year after year. It was a true revolution in which Torresol Energy marked a turning point in the renewable energies sector: both its design and construction, led by SENER, and its operation and maintenance, overseen by Torresol O&M (TOM) technicians, posed the challenge of starting from zero, as there was no previous experience on which to base anything.
The operational efficiency achieved by TOM has allowed Torresol Energy to get over the regulatory changes and adapt the financial structure of the businesses to the new environment, while guaranteeing the continued operation of the facilities, implementing an ambitious program for reducing the operating costs. The high level of knowledge acquired by the TOM technicians is a reference for SENER in its new projects. The Torresol Energy plants also serve as a technological platform for testing SENER’s innovations in thermoelectric solar power, including trough collector loops, heliostats or other equipment and systems. This allows the engineering firm to spearhead state-of-the-art technology.
Similarly, Torresol Energy is unwavering in its commitment, which involves its entire people, to make Gemasolar, Valle 1 and Valle 2 benchmark facilities in terms of Health, Safety and Environment.
Ten years after its constitution, Torresol Energy is facing its maturation phase with the aim of persevering in achieving operating excellence in all its plants, which are currently implementing the Lean production system to ensure the highest standards of technical, economic and environmental excellence.