Month: March 2017

 

Only 6% of Nigerians have access to 20 hours Power supply daily!

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Solar power energy is the future; this is another reason to go solar. LATEST survey report by the Independent Energy Watch Initiative, I-WIN, has revealed that power supply had been on consistent decline, month-on-month.

According to the report, between January and June last year, only an average of about six percent of Nigerians enjoyed over twenty hours (20hrs) of supply availability daily.

The survey which was anchored on the feedback from electricity customers in Nigeria, was aimed at assessing the overall performance of the Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs).

The survey evaluation was based on the following indices:   Customer service, value for money, hours of supply availability, quality of power, communication and customer engagement and quality of electricity supply infrastructure.

According to the results of its ‘aggregated power sector poll’, I-WIN stated that a major outcome of the survey is the fact that most Nigerians (average of 79 percent) have suffered a transformer failure or other forms of electricity supply infrastructure failure.

The findings revealed that a nation-wide average of 62 percent of the affected customers are compelled to make contributions to replace the components of failed infrastructure to the extent it affects them which sounds so ridiculous.

It added: “From our findings, about 56 percent of electricity customers in Nigeria experience less than eight hours of power supply availability daily.

“This low level of service delivery has been highlighted in previous studies to be a major contributing cause of increasing deviant customer behavior in Nigeria. Not surprisingly, only an average of about 6 percent of Nigerians enjoy over twenty hours (20hrs) of supply availability daily.”

The survey further revealed that the bulk of Nigerian electricity customers insist that they get little or no value for money as regards the quality of power supply, as it also indicates an heightened level of frustration by electricity consumers nationwide over the poor quality of power supply amidst high bills/charges for same.

“Overall, the services of the distribution companies were rated poorly by Nigerians, and the operators are enjoined to review the results of this survey critically with a view to discerning the issues highlighted.”   The search however urge Nigeria government, house owners, and companies to start investing in renewable energy. Solar power is said to be cost-effective, safe and reliable to run homes and businesses without an extra running cost.

Source; Nigeriatoday

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We do not only offer quality solar power; we also invest in our employees!

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At AWPS Renewable Energy Ltd, Nigeria’s #1 provider of premium quality solar power systems, we believe that our employees are a key competitive advantage and the driver of how we deliver quality solar power systems to our customers.

Investing in our Tech team Lead @Schneider Electric Training

We take pride in providing our employees with a challenging workplace and rewarding them for working together, improving every day and delivering great results. We believe the best method for doing so is to foster a culture that: promotes continual learning, professional development and improvement

Because we know that our people are our assets at AWPS Renewable Energy Ltd, we continue to provide a supportive and empowering our staff, a working environment that is conducive to development and career growth. This includes giving our people the opportunity to learn and grow professionally through regular training and proven career development tools, as well as the transfer of best practices, knowledge and technology across our businesses.

We know that our future success relies on developing and training both our new and longstanding employees. Our investment in our professional development and technical training programs allows us to nurture the next generation of talent by ensuring our people are well equipped to meet the challenges which arise at different stages of their careers.

Our Tech Team Lead teaches other Experts

 

 

 

When you invest in your employees, like we do, not only do you save money on the cost of replacing employees because they stay with you, but they also are happier and they serve your customers better. And that means more profits for your business.

Delivering sustainable growth is only achieved through the efforts of a talented, committed and well trained team.  
At AWPS Renewable Energy Ltd, the quality of our solar power installations is not easy to come by.

This why we stand-out, this is why smallstarter.com ranked us #3 solar power company lighting up Africa. When Gilat Satcomm need a partner to provide reliable quality solar power for rural internet kiosk in Nigeria, they called us. They came because of our legendary service.

 We offer quality installations that meets American and European code. The Inverters, charge controllers and Batteries we offer for installations are form Europe and USA.  we provide our people with the training needed to reach their potential. This is an investment in their future and ours.

 

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Solar Energy Vs Generator!

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The expense of solar power energy versus generator is considerably less over the long term.

Solar Energy Versus Generator.

The first expense of a solar power system will certainly be more than that of a generator system.  This is frequently the factor individuals install a generator instead of going solar.

One must look beyond the preliminary price, nonetheless,  to get the complete comparison of solar power versus generator, Lets take a look at the points highlighted below;

  • Solar system as soon as installed has little upkeep or additional cost. There is no fuel to purchase, given that the sun’s power fuels the system.
  • Generator are not so, after installation, a generator will certainly require routine maintenance by a specialist every 3months. Generator call for fuel -a price that is frequently boosting. Also, relocating generator parts  must be changed from time to time as a result of deterioration.
  • Solar power systems have no relocating components to wear out or require lubrication as soon as mounted.
  • Solar energy could be less hassle-free to purchase and install, considering that its not as commonly offered as generators.
  • Generators needs to be kept track often to be certain of adequate fuel is available. It has to be replenished commonly when utilized as a regular source of power.
  • Solar power is receives in power through the panels, free of cost and saved in batteries, It awaits usage when needed, however, in time of minimized use, the power stays in storage space.
  • Generators runs regularly, regardless the amount of power being used at a given time. As they run, they eat pricey energy. When power usage is decreased in bright day time, generators need to remain to run.
  • Solar power has no discharges when functioning. Solar power makes use of a sustainable power source.
  • A giant drawback to generator use is still the concern of discharges as well as the environmental pollution that arises as a result of smoky air released into the atmosphere. this is said to be dangerous for our health

Generators are generally very expensive to run and maintained. For majority of people,  the resolution for solar power  versus generator argument is to mount a hybrid system. Utilizing solar power as the main energy resource will certainly conserve money. The sun is cost-free. solar power is convenient, efficient and environmental friendly.

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Nigeria needs Alternative Sources to meet Energy demand

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Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the International Day of Forests on March 21.

This year’s theme, ‘Forest and Energy’, aims at raising awareness on the importance of all types of woodlands and trees and celebrate how they sustain and protect humanity.

Globally, this year’s theme highlighted the importance of wood energy in improving people’s lives, powering sustainable development and mitigating climate change.

However, the celebration in Nigeria was low key. Emphasis by government and non-governmental organisations was placed on tree planting, with the many functions of forests captured in a few instances.

For many people, forests are habitat for wildlife and trees; as against the fact that they (forests) do more in protecting and sustaining their lives.

Unfortunately, Nigeria’s forests have gradually been degraded by activities such as logging, expansion of agricultural lands and converting of forests to other uses, thus leading to a reduction of the forest cover from 10 per cent of the landmass to less than five per cent.

While such activities are crucial to countries’ economic development and the wellbeing of local communities, they may also undermine the valuable services that forests provide, including carbon sequestration, air and water filtration, soil fertility, as well as a source of income and jobs.

Evaluating Nigeria’s use of forests to generate energy, the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, lamented the high rate of consumption of fuel wood, which is estimated at about 87 percent with daily consumption rate put at 27.5 million kilogrammes per day.

The situation, he said, was alarming and unacceptable as it far exceeded the sustainable production from both the natural and artificial forests.

Jibril added that the ugly trend had led to a large scale deficit and degradation of forests nationwide in meeting fuel wood supply.

Speaking at an event to mark the day,the minister said: “To enhance the sustainable use of forests, government has put in place strategies such as control of wood exports through the instrument of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna), engagement of wood based industries in reforestation, enhancing conversion efficiency and increased value additions for processed wood before exportation.”

He said:”It is obvious that the national forests alone can no longer sustain the growing need for fuel wood consumption in the country, therefore there is the need for a paradigm shift to alternative sources.”

The alternative sources, according to him, included improved cooking stoves, increased planting of wood lots, putting an end to indiscriminate bush burning and illegal felling of trees and increased urban and rural tree planting amongst others.

However, there are other importance of forests as noted by experts. A UN report estimated that 1.6 billion people use forests as sources of livelihoods and income – for  example by gathering building materials, fruits, nuts, mushrooms, honey and medicinal plants, harvesting wood, grazing livestock and hunting game.

Other functions of the forests as noted by the experts include climate change benefits. A complex and old growth forest ecosystem is said to continue to sequester and store high amounts of carbon, thus, sustainable forest management can improve the climate-mitigation functions through the protection of remaining primary forests, by enhancing carbon stocks, and through afforestation and reforestation.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations also noted that wood fuels  provide 40 per cent of today’s global renewable energy – as much as solar, hydroelectric and wind power combined, adding that globally, forests hold energy content approximately 10 times that of the world’s annual primary energy consumption. They thus have significant potential as renewable resources to meet global energy demand. -Dailytrust

 

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Buhari, will the darkness continue?

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Power sector in Nigeria is no doubt one of the most inefficient in meeting the needs of its consumers anywhere in the world.

The Power Holding Company of Nigeria which before now was a wholly government owned venture before it was sold to private entities was the organization governing the use of electricity in Nigeria. Renamed PHCN, it was formerly the National Electric Power Authority (abbreviated NEPA).

For a better part of power generation history in Nigeria, consumers have experienced more power outages than supply. This accounts for why Nigerians humorously represented the acronyms NEPA and PHCN to mean – Never Expect Power Always Please Hold You Candle Now. For a better share of history, Nigerians have also blamed the power outages on the distribution company saying they are in the habit of always holding onto power and releasing only the bills. This is one of the stack truths and another is the fact that Nigerians seem to have gotten themselves used to the incessant power outages.

This leaves an inquisitive mind asking, who is to blame? Considering the history of system failures in Nigeria, can we say the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) is holding unto the power? The simple answer is not farfetched. There is no power to hold unto. The company cannot distribute what it does not have. The power is not available for them to transmit or said the other way. The quantity of power available as compared to the need is just too minimal that it should leave one confused on how best it can be fairly distributed. It is like giving a three-square meal of one single rat to a thousand hungry lions.

At the end of 2014, according statistics gathered by the Heinrich Boll Foundation Nigeria, the country had an installed power generation capacity of 8,000 MW.

But only 4,000 MW was being fed into the national grid. Several reasons were given for this huge difference between capacity and actual generation but the reasons do not reduce the energy need of the country which is ever on the increase. As at the end of 2015, the electricity need of Nigeria stood above 40,000MW and research say 192,000MW will be needed by 2030. With this huge gap, 80 percent of the population is left in darkness.

With an actual generation of 4,000Megawatts in 2015, attaining 192,000 MW by 2030 will sound like a day dream but the pessimist will say it achievable.

EFFECTS OF LACK OF POWER ON THE ECONOMY

The almost non-existence of power adversely affects living standards of the population and reduces the income of small and medium scale businesses that form the core of the economy of most African societies. Right from the point of starting the business, they are made to spend a bulk of their started-upa budget on ensuring there is power. Billions of dollars leave the shores of Nigeria in exchange for generating sets and their spare parts.

For an SME to start business in Nigeria, the entrepreneur must consider a budget for a power generating set that would be able to power his business premise and equipment or production area. He/she must also consider the cost of having to buy gas (petrol) to keep the power going. This becomes a serious hindrance to economic growth, more also that, the economy of the nation is vastly running on these SMEs.

From the Suya (barbecue) seller on the street to the medium size production companies, power is a must must continue in business. They all need power in one way or the other and with no power coming from PHCN, generators always come to the rescue. This means, there will be increased pollution and the demand for fuel will increase. That will be good business for fuel importers but bad business for the nation.

The fuel import need of the country is greatly increased since there is no sufficient fuel refined locally. This will result in the reduction of the nation’s foreign reserves as huge sums are used to import fuel to keep the country running.

ELECTRICITY AND POVERTY

In Nigeria, where the poverty level is said to be one of the highest according to statistics from the World Bank and others despite the enormous natural resources. One cannot explain why a country with such enormous wealth cannot power herself. Most of the electricity used by both businesses and homes in Nigeria is generated using generating sets.  In an economy where the majority of the people live on less than $2 a day, depriving them of one of the basic item in the list of social amenities like power in the 21st century makes the poverty bites even harder.

Professor Iwayemi, Akinbolaji Philip an expert once said “Energy and income poor Nigeria is energy resource rich and the sixth largest exporter of crude oil in the world. Nigeria persistent energy crisis has weakened the industrialization process, and significantly undermined the effort to achieve sustained economic growth, increased competitiveness of domestic industries in domestic, regional and global markets and employment generation” and that is our truth in Nigeria.

Lack of electricity also hampers employment generation. When SMEs spend more than they can afford to pay the few staff they can hire on generating their own power, they will sure hire few hands to remain in business. Where there are no jobs, the poor will remain poor in their poor state. If the burden of having to privately generate power is removed, SMEs will engage more hands or at least have more to pay their few hired hands a better wage.  The informal sector of the Nigerian economy has proven over the years to possess the ability to keep the unemployment level down but lack of electricity is said to be partly responsible for why the sector cannot take more jobless youths off the streets.

Nigeria is known for its rich deposit of fossil fuels.  In the list of these natural blessings are natural gas, coal and of course solar power. Now, 22% of global electricity comes from renewables such as solar, wind and biomass. Nigeria currently is underutilizing these resources. It has been noted that when Nigeria effectively harness them, the country will be able to generate 40 percent of the electricity Nigeria needs to provide the economic backing she needs for development, improve infrastructure, create employment and importantly – improve the standard of living in most communities.

But the reverse is the case. Instead of increase, our power generation is on the decline. Few weeks ago, power generation went below 1000 megawatts. Meaning, there was no electricity in the entire country for hours. It is like going back to the Stone Age in the 21st century. In the new order, even our yam pounder runs on electricity.

What is then responsible for this? Experts say lack of commitment and vision may be responsible for this. There is no concrete road map to combat the energy crises in the country. I fact, the political class do not recognize the absence of power as an energy crises. Every yearly, various government agency budget millions for generating sets and the gas to keep them running not minding what it takes the common man on the street corner to do same for his business or his home. And for a larger percentage of the population who cannot afford GEN which is very expensive to run and maintain, the darkness continues.

That we have a huge power generation gap in Nigeria is no longer news. The existing power generated in country according to experts; is not up to 15% of the power required in Nigeria. What may also not be news is that, the political will and policy direction to quickly resolve the crises for now is not in sight. How do we close the gap, what source of energy will be more efficient, sustainable, cost effective, less time consuming to set up (since the need is immediate) these and more are some of the questions that the nation struggle to answer the question of how long the darkness will continue? Source;TheCable

 

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The world’s largest “Artificial Sun” is powering up in Germany!

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Power Synlight is the largest collection of film projector spotlights ever assembled in one room, and scientists in Germany are turning them all on at once in the pursuit of efficient and renewable energy.

This experiment involving the world’s “largest artificial sun” is taking place in Jülich, a town located 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Cologne, and it was designed by scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The device features 149 industrial-grade film projector spotlights, and each one boasts roughly 4,000 times the wattage of the average light bulb.

When this artificial sun is turned on, it generates light that’s 10,000 times as intense as natural sunlight on Earth. Swiveling the lamps and concentrating them on one spot can produce temperatures of around 3,500 degrees Celsius (6,332 degrees Fahrenheit), which is three times as hot as the heat generated by a blast furnace.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Every day, a huge amount of energy hits the Earth in the form of light from our Sun. While we do already have ways to harness the Sun’s energy, such as through solar panels, much of it remains untapped. Scientists hope their experiments with Synlight will illuminate ways to tap into that wasted energy.

The experiment is not without its risks and costs, however. “If you went in the room when it was switched on, you’d burn directly,” Bernard Hoffschmidt from the DLR told The Guardian. To avoid that, the experiment will take place inside a protective radiation chamber. This artificial sun consumes a vast amount of energy when powered up, as well — a four-hour operation eats up as much electricity as a four-person household would use in a year — so it is expensive.

This will all be worthwhile, however, if the Synlight experiment leads to more efficient and cleaner energy for the future. The first goal is to determine the optimal setup needed to use sunlight to power a reaction that produces hydrogen fuel — a potential clean fuel source for cars and airplanes. “We’d need billions of tones of hydrogen if we wanted to drive [airplanes] and cars on CO2-free fuel,” Hoffschmidt explained. “Climate change is speeding up so we need to speed up innovation.”

In the future, the facility may be used to test the durability of space travel parts when blasted by solar radiation, so not only could Synlight help us deal with our energy crisis here on Earth, it could help us explore worlds far beyond our own, too.

Source; Theguardian

 

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Solar Nigeria programme provides 13m pounds for solar power generation!

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Solar Nigeria Programme (SN), a programme funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) says it will provide additional grant of 13 million pounds to help reputable companies involved in solar energy in Nigeria.

Mrs Ifunanya Nwandu, Private Sector Coordinator announced this at a renewable energy forum organized by “Power for ALL “on Friday in Abuja.

Solar Nigeria Programme began in 2014.

The programme was designed to end in 2020 with the mandate to provide grants and technical assistance to companies involved in providing household solar technologies.

Nwandu said that the grant would help strong companies to accelerate their expansion to provide solar energy for 25 million Nigerians.

According to her, SN has also improved energy access for over 1.5 million people since it commenced operation in 2014.

She said that the organization had been involved in delivering clean, reliable and affordable solar energy to Nigerians.

She said this was possible by accelerating the private markets for off-grid solar solutions.

According to her, by utilizing the 38.3 million pounds provided by DFID, Lagos and Kaduna State governments, the programme has delivered

solar installations in 175 schools and 11 clinics in Lagos and 34 primary health clinics in Kaduna.

She said that the combined projects in both states had resulted in the provision of 6MW of solar power.

According to her, in 2016, more than 166,000 solar systems were acquired on commercial terms by individual consumers from companies who benefited from the grants provided by SN.

She said that SN was also helping to demonstrate how solar systems could be technically viable to drive growth in the private sector solar market

Nwandu said SN was committed to collaborating with the Federal Government and state governments to improve renewable energy to health and education facilities, particularly in Nigeria. -theguardian

 

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Nigeria Imports 70m Generators & Many people have died through the inhalation of carbon monoxide arising from the use of generators.

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No fewer than 70 million generators have been imported into the country,  -Mr Segun Adaju.

 

Adaju told The Nation that shortage of gas, which is the feed-stock for power plants across the country, is the reason for the high incidence of generation units’ importation in the country.

Adaju said a research by his organization showed that Nigeria is the net importer of generators with about 70 million generators brought in the past few years.

He said the worsening electricity situation was making Nigerians to seek solace in alternative energy supply, adding that the issue has depleted savings of many individuals and organizations.

Adaju said: ‘’Between 60 and 70 million generators of different brands and sizes have been imported into the country, in the past few years. The generators are of lower and higher voltages, depending on the needs of the owners. Besides, the generators range from the smallest to the biggest, such as Perkins and Caterpillar brand. The generators are worth billions of naira, which means that Nigerians are repatriating funds to access power.’’

He said there are health hazards caused by fumes from the generators, stressing that the issue has made people to inhale carbon monoxide, which is life-threatening.

‘’Many people have died through the inhalation of carbon monoxide arising from the use of generators. Aside this, generators cause air pollution and other environmental hazards,” he added.

Generation and provision of solar energy for individuals and communities nationwide is way good way to go for reliable alternative power supply. Nigerians could replace their generators with solar energy and in return, get better and safer services.

He urged the federal and state governments to invest in solar energy and other methods of off-grid electricity for growth.

He said the intensity of the sun is high in Nigeria, urging Nigerians to leverage it to generate solar electricity for the people.  Source; The Nation

 

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Grandma we have light 24 hours a day..

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This comment was treated with comic disbelief by the grandmother, when her 8 year old grandchild told her that they had constant electricity. Grandma in her sixties thought back to better days in the 70’s when electricity supply was constant in Nigeria. She remembered the 80’s where even though it was on everyday, she suffered periodic blackouts. And then came the late 90’s and 2000’s. One was considered lucky when the gods at Nepa graced them with electricity.

The offending system

She quickly shooed the little child off the phone and asked to speak to her son. Her son reaffirmed that indeed they had power 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Yes his child was being truthful. Her son could not have moved out of Nigeria without telling him. Had he said something and she forgot, maybe she was getting too old. Grandma looked at her phone and it showed her son MTN phone number. As her confusion grew, the son explained that he had invested in solar and he was now enjoying the benefits that people in more organized societies enjoyed.

This conversation had me thinking about my children and their first visit to Nigeria in 1994. They were excited to come home for the first time. They had left a cramped one bedroom apartment in West Paterson, NJ to come to a house in Nigeria. They woke up every morning and the first thing they did was go outside to play. Something they could not do in New Jersey. They had uncles and aunties and household help that fawned over them. My mother even bought a goat that they talked to every day. People were saying that these American children were stupid to talk to a goat. The goat followed them around the compound and seemed to have a relationship going.

Then one day it happened. The lights went out. My boys were so excited when we brought out candles, because it felt as if they were going camping. Can you imagine lighting candles today?

Fast forward to 2016. My youngest came to visit last year and he enjoyed rationed electricity. We had power but we rationed it. We had a small solar power installation with more batteries and not enough panels to charge the batteries. We had lights but could not enjoy the fans at night because we did not put enough charge into our batteries. On his next visit later in 2017 he will have 24/7 refrigeration, day time AC and a fan through the night.

We have been told since my primary schools days that the power situation will be fixed. Every administration has declared a power emergency and yet we are no closer to Nirvana.

In 2014 I installed my first system, a Chinese manufactured 1.5 kw inverter with 200 AH in batteries. The inverter and batteries were junk. Later that year I purchased flooded batteries and a different inverter. I got better results, we could now power the fridge but I was not charging better. I purchased a Flex Max 60 amp charge controller, only to discover that I had junk panels. I imported new panels and my production leaped. We have been doing slow but incremental upgrades ever since. We went from 1 kw in panels to 2 kw. We went from 216 AH in batteries to 432 AH in batteries. I can run my freezer 24/7 now and the fridge during the day. Next phase is an additional 1500 – 2000 watts in panels, an additional charge controller and a small AC. We can take advantage of our day time production to keep the house or office cool.
Solar allows you to increase capacity over time. You start with what your budget can handle and then slowly increase till you get to where you are comfortable. It is important that you buy quality or you will suffer my fate.
You are your own utility company. Make the best of the opportunity.

The writer Mr. Christopher Onwuasoanya is the President of AWPS Renewable Energy, LTD in Lagos. He spends his time between Lagos and NJ where he lives with his wife and three sons. He does not remember the last time he used a generator. He has learnt to manage his power resources to ensure that he has power 24/7 365 days a week.

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Three solar thermal plants that could generate electricity 24 hours a day!

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The Chilean government recently gave the go-ahead on a massive solar thermal plant that is expected to produce electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week—a considerable feat for a plant that depends solely on solar energy.

Solar Thermal Plants

The plant, proposed for a site in Chile’s Tamarugal province, would consist of three 150 megawatt solar thermal towers, which become heated as mirrors placed around each tower reflect sunlight onto it

That heat is transferred to molten salt, which circulates through the plant during the day and is stored in tanks at night. The salt, a mixture of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate that’s kept at a balmy 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit (566 degrees Celsius), is used as a “heat transfer fluid.” As energy is needed, the salt can be dispatched to a heat exchanger, where it will lend its heat to water to create a super-heated steam. That steam is used to move a traditional steam turbine to create electricity.

Because the molten salt will stay hot for hours in its thermal storage tank—even throughout the night or during a cloudy morning—the molten salt is said to store that thermal energy. Each tower will have 13 hours of energy storage, for a total of 5.8 gigawatt-hours of energy storage capacity.

In total, the proposed Tamarugal plant would be able to provide 450 MW of power continuously, 24 hours a day. The plant could theoretically generate 2,600 GWh annually.

Thevcompany that proposed this project, has also proposed two others—a 260 MW, 24-hour plant near the city of Copiapó in the Atacama Region of Chile, as well as a 390 MW, 24-hour plant in the Antofagasta Region. Mary Grikas, a spokesperson, told Ars via e-mail that Copiapó is shovel-ready, and now Tamarugal is, too, with the Chilean government’s recent approval, which assessed the site for environmental impact. The plant in Antofagasta is still waiting on permitting approval.

It still might be a while before the plants become a reality, however.  There will now needs to secure Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) so that the company can be assured that it can sell its power to grid managers in Chile. The next public auction for such agreements is in October. If the company is awarded PPAs, the company will seek financing through investors to build the plants—Tamarugal’s reported investment value is a hefty $2.6 billion, but that number could change after the Power Purchase Agreements have been locked in, Grikas said. She added that if the company is awarded a Power Purchase Agreement in October, the company hopes to close financing and start construction on Tamarugal by the end of 2018.

Although a 24-hour plant is relatively novel, the technology proposed for Tamarugal isn’t new. In southern Arizona, the Solana solar thermal plant uses concentrated solar power from rows and rows of parabolic mirrors to heat an oil that’s sent to either directly create steam or be transferred to heat molten salt for storage and later use. Ivanpah is another massive solar thermal plant outside of Las Vegas that was built to produce 448 GWh annually. But that plant has hit some bumps in the road—it has struggled to meet its production goals, and last May one of the towers suffered an electrical fire. Pilots have also complained of glare coming from the boiler towers.

But this project may have an advantage in the solar thermal game. Rather than use a heat transfer fluid to heat molten salt, the project will be design to heat the molten salt directly. The company used this technique on a solar thermal project it built at Crescent Dunes, outside of Tonopah, Nevada. While Ivanpah is still short of its production goals, Crescent Dunes has recently delivered 105 percent of its contracted output, and the plant is operating 2 percent above its expected efficiency, according to industry publication Power Magazine.

Crescent Dunes is smaller than what has been planned for Chile. The solar company intends for its Chilean 24-hour solar thermal plants to compete with other base load plants like coal, natural gas, hydrothermal, or nuclear plants. Grikas told Ars that the Tamarugal plant will operate with a 75 to 85 capacity factor, depending “upon final configuration of the steam turbines for each tower.” Comparing that to information from the Energy Information Administration on other renewable sources of energy, that’s a competitive number—on par with geothermal and not as good as nuclear but far above other intermittent renewables like wind and solar photovoltaic panels.

Tamarugal and its brethren are expected to have 30-plus-year lifespans, during which they will use no fossil fuels and need no replacement of molten salt. As an added benefit, when the proposed plants are finally decommissioned, The brains behind this project went further to say that the molten salt can be used to create “high-grade fertilizer.” -arstechnica.com

 

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