Who would want Abengoa’s assets?

Abengoa bankruptcy: Who might buy the company's CSP plant assets in Chile, South Africa and the USA, or invest in Abengoa Yield? Photo: Mojave Solar Project, Abengoa

Abengoa bankruptcy: Who might buy the Spanish company’s CSP plant assets in Chile, South Africa and the USA, or invest in Abengoa Yield? Photo: Mojave Solar Project, Abengoa

By Jason Deign

Abengoa, the Spanish renewable infrastructure developer, is thought to be hunting buyers for assets, including a large amount of storage, as it faces bankruptcy.

The company filed for preliminary creditor protection a fortnight ago after failing to secure funds from investors led by Gonvarri Corporación Financiera. It now has four months to secure an agreement with creditors.

Given scale of the business, which employs 7,000 people in Spain and many more abroad, it is possible the company might be bailed out by whichever party wins general elections in Spain this December 20.

In any event, however, it seems likely the business will be forced to sell much of its project portfolio to offset debts that may amount to more than €20bn.

According to data from Abengoa’s website, that portfolio includes a total of 27 hours of molten salt storage tied to some 360MW of solar thermal plant generation, spread across three projects in South Africa and one in Chile.
Read more →

Living the renewable lifestyle

Enercon wind turbines at the Gorona del Viento wind and pumped hydro clean energy project, which will give El Hierro renewable energy sufficient to replace 80% of its diesel.

Enercon wind turbines at the Gorona del Viento wind and pumped hydro storage project, which will give El Hierro renewable energy sufficient to replace 80% of its diesel use. Photo credit: Animam for Energy Storage Report

A small island in the Atlantic is showing how energy storage can be used to help run on 100% renewable energy.

To get to El Hierro, in the southwest tip of the Canary Islands, you first need to fly to the provincial capital of Santa Cruz, in Tenerife, halfway along the island chain. There, a surprising sight currently greets visitors.

Alongside the cargo boats and cruise ships in the town’s busy port lie three hulking drill rigs.

The massive structures await the start of an oil prospection project green-lighted by Spain’s Minister for Energy, Trade and Tourism, Jose Manuel Soria, in the waters between Morocco and Fuerteventura in the eastern Canaries.

Soria’s steamroller approval of the project, with an OK being granted in principle even before the closing date for objections, has angered Canary Islanders.

The potential for oil extraction

They see the potential for offshore oil extraction as a threat to tourism, the main source of income for the islands.

“They’re probably here because if they were in Fuerteventura people would set fire to them,” says Olivier Bello, who works at Tenerife’s La Laguna University, nodding towards the drill rigs.

The islanders have good reason to feel concerned. After all, in El Hierro, less than 30 minutes flight time by prop plane from Santa Cruz, they are showing how there could be another, more sustainable energy economy.
Read more →

Islands of energy storage

Island energy storage projects offer a test bed for the systems and technologies that might proliferate on the mainland on a much larger scale. Photo credit: El Hierro renewable energy project, ABB energy storage systems

Island energy storage projects offer a test bed for the systems and technologies that might proliferate on the mainland on a much larger scale. Photo credit: El Hierro renewable energy project, ABB energy storage systems

Energy storage for island communities has been in the news a lot recently. Hawaii has been seeking out up to 200MW of storage, while El Hierro in the Canaries is set to become the first island to rely entirely on wind and pumped hydro power next month.

Meanwhile, the millionaire’s playground of Necker Island in the Caribbean and several more are looking to invest in various technologies that store energy. The reasons are hardly surprising.

Islands are usually isolated from large mainland grids and shipping or in some cases even flying in diesel to generate energy is expensive. As a result, island-dwellers, such as those in Hawaii and the Caribbean, suffer high energy bills.
Read more →

Spain kills its renewable industry

Short-sighted mandarins in Spain are studiously dismantling a once-iconic renewable industry and its accompanying prospects for energy storage.

Short-sighted Spanish mandarins are studiously dismantling a once-iconic renewable industry and its accompanying prospects for energy storage.

Spain’s beleaguered renewable energy sector suffered a further setback last Friday when the government approved measures many observers feel will plunge most plants into debt. The proposals, announced in July, have yet to be ratified by the courts but will almost certainly see feed-in tariffs replaced with an allegedly ‘reasonable retribution’ of 7.5% over the lifetime of a plant, based on parameters which have yet to be announced.
Read more →

Storage gets touch of TV glamour

While it has little to do with the industry we couldn’t resist pointing out that a glamorous new ad has an energy storage angle. Mercedes-Benz’s five-minute Sprinter van promotional film is shot in and around Torresol Energy’s Gemasolar concentrated solar power plant in Spain, which readers may know is famous for having the world’s largest molten salt storage reserve.

EIB backs Spanish gas storage project

The Castor Project is an underground natural gas storage facility on the east coast of Spain.

Castor is an underground natural gas storage facility on the east coast of Spain. Photo credit: Castor Project

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is putting €500m into an underground storage project that will be able to store up to 30% of the gas used daily in Spain. The backing for the Castor project, which is being developed by Spain’s ACS Group and Dundee Energy of Canada for the Spanish Ministry of Industry, is the first transaction under the EIB’s Project Bond Credit Enhancement initiative.
Read more →

Spanish market prospects dashed

In Spain, a country which could by now be getting almost all of its power from renewable energy sources, luddite lawmakers have stamped out practically the only remaining chance of developing a viable energy storage market.

In Spain, which could be getting almost all of its power from renewable energy sources, luddite lawmakers have stamped out practically the only remaining chance of developing a viable energy storage market. Photo credit: Mike Stone

The likelihood of Spain developing an energy storage market any time soon has been killed with newly announced legislation on self-consumption of renewable energy. Under proposals which have taken more than a year to be drawn up, the Spanish administration is planning a toll duty on end-user produced energy that will make it effectively more expensive than buying the already pricey power on the grid.
Read more →

Ingeteam targets energy storage with new inverter

Spanish electrical manufacturer Ingeteam this month launched a new product called Ingecon EMS Plants, an inverter for 500kW to 1,000kW solar plants that features a battery bank management system. The product should help to stabilise grids by charging or discharging storage equipment as needed to compensate for swings in power output from the PV installation, according to Ingeteam.