Chilean concentrated solar power (CSP) generator Cerro Dominador signed a five-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with local industrial group Copec, which will use the electricity at its growing network of electric vehicle charging points.
According to Copec, the PPA will start in July 2020, supplying 50% of the group’s energy needs and reducing its annual emissions by 11%.
Cerro Dominador is a 210MW CSP-PV hybrid complex, South America’s first, located in the high-altitude Atacama desert in Northern Chile.
“Considering Chile’s goal of decarbonising the country, and the possibility of moving it ahead after the announcements at COP25, our technology emerges as an alternative with the most potential for this momentous challenge,” Cerro Dominador CEO Fernando González said in a statement.
Chile has set a goal to switch off all of its 5GW coal capacity by 2040, and during the COP25 climate summit in Madrid the European utility Engie announced the speeding up of its coal shutdown. The government has also announced plans to increase electrification of the country’s transport and industry.
For its part, Copec is expanding its 23-station electric vehicle charging network, which will be 100% supplied by Cerro Dominador.
The complex is owned by EIG Global Energy Partners, which should conclude the 110MW CSP element of the hybrid plant by mid-2020. The 100MW of PV is already operational and selling power on the Chilean spot market.
The announcement of the new PPA comes a month after the the central tower – where molten salts are heated by the heliostats – caught fire, damaging part the of complex. At the time Cerro Dominador said no-one was hurt and that it would appraise the damage to avoid delays in the construction.
A few days later, the company announced the installation of the last heliostat, the ground-mounted mirror that reflect the solar rays to the central tower.