European Society has developed a demand for sustainability as a priority in the activities of both Public and Private entities alike. In order to adapt to this need, EU authorities have set amongst their energy-related objectives to achieve a 20% share of renewable energies in the EU energy mix by 2020. These objectives are to be translated to specific national goals in all member states in the upcoming months.
Concentrated solar power was recently reanimated after first market success in late 80's. Industry involvement is still in infant state with large Spanish construction companies being the first to take the commercial risk in the implementation of commercial plants. The emerging market in Europe is mainly driven by the Spanish feed-in-law which allows for the implementation of more than 500 MW in the next years. Other countries, like Greece, Portugal and Italy are currently implementing similar regulations. Single projects in northern Africa are becoming reality due to feed in laws in Algeria and GEF subsidies in Morocco and Egypt in hybridization with combined cycle plants.
However, in order to make this industrial reality unfold in countries that benefit from an abundance of solar resources, up to the point in which such energy would represent a significant part of the total electrical production pool, progressive improvements will be required, which will allow:
- the expansion of CSP market
- the creation of new markets for European products and technology
- reduction of the electricity generation costs in CSP plants
- enhancement of solar plant performance through R&D
- ensuring the compatibility of these plants with the specific technical and financial requirements, enhancing its inherent technological advantages over other renewable energy sources
ESTELA has been created in order to efficiently channel and coordinate all efforts made by the European industry to achieve the aforementioned objectives. This will be managed through various courses of action:
- Technology: by advising and promoting any technological development which would allow ESTELA's objectives to be met.
- Regulation: by directly representing the industry in their negotiations and debates with European institutions, encouraging legal changes that would allow European solar thermal electrical industry to continue developing its full potential, ultimately competing on equal terms with electrical production from other sources.
- Information and Communication: by spreading knowledge of the advantages of solar thermal electrical production in relation to other energy sources amongst key political representatives of the European Union and of national governments, and the general public.
- Direct Action: by taking steps that can be adopted by pertinent Organizations and Institutions in order to promote the development of solar thermal energy production projects, such as importing CSP electricity from Northern Africa and creation of a European HVDC "super grid".
ESTELA expects to develop the following activities, as well as those necessary to attend to its own existence and survival:
Technology and R&D:
encourage and support initiatives presented by associates within the framework of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) of the EU
coordinate the support of initiatives presented by entities or organizations of R&D with other entities (e.g. SolarPACES),
act as a link between its associates and the EU Administration with regard to objectives, support mechanisms and resources of the SET-Plan
evaluate the constitution of a Technology Platform for CSP (as independent or associated platform)
Promote, among the EU institutions, the evaluation of support mechanisms for the CSP market penetration adapted to the national peculiarities, in line with those that have had the greatest success to all Member States, via the announced Directive on energy
Encourage the setting of sufficiently ambitious goals for solar thermal electricity in the 2020 national objectives, depending on the potential of each Member State and on reasonable expectations of cost reductions
Promote measures which will facilitate the import of renewable energies to the EU, particularly solar electricity
Promote the adoption by third countries of measures and incentives which help the de velopment of CSP in their territory
Information and Communication
Produce an informative leaflet to be distributed amongst the targeted persons from the EU institutions, and amongst the specialized press
Participate in meetings, forums etc. that are to be held on a European and international level, especially when a national association of the industry does not exist
Produce and periodically update a Web page about the state of the technology and the industry.
Develop and specify in collaboration with the national and international interested entities (e.g. EUROMED) a proposal for the development of solar thermal plants around the Mediterranean, connected to the large European electrical grids by various HVDC links.
Promote and coordinate the associates' proposals in order to obtain aid from the EU for projects aiming to demonstrate new commercially via ble solar thermal technologies.