While previously seen as an outsider of energy production, storage is mainstreaming thanks to lower costs, new technology and the fact that power storage has become a viable, less costly means to load level and harmonise electric power fed from decentralised energy resources. By Mark Andrews, Technical Editor
WElink Group to build â‚¬230m solar farm in Portugal
Dublin-headquartered modular home builder and solar energy developer WElink Energy is to build Europeâ€™s largest privately funded solar farm in Portugal following the signing of the EPC contract with China Triumph International Engineering Co Ltd (CTIEC). The Â£200 million Solara4 solar project will have a 220MW peak capacity and will generate enough clean electricity to power the equivalent of 200,000 homes with an emission reduction of 218,310 tons of carbon dioxide.
Commenting on the deal, WElink Energyâ€™s Chief Executive Barry Oâ€™Neill said: â€œWe are delighted by this deal to develop one of the worldâ€™s largest green energy power plants in Portugal. WElink has a history of delivering solar farms throughout the world and this development we have added to our portfolio is our most significant to date. Solar generation is an advanced technology by renewables standards and is playing a significant part in helping Europe meet its climate change obligations â€“ we are delighted to be helping in this endeavour.â€
The project is considered a milestone project for Portugal and followers on from the countryâ€™s renewables leadership which saw 57% of total consumption last year supplied completely by renewable energy.
Economy Minister Manuel Caldeira Cabral remarked on the deal during the signing ceremony: â€œConsumers have in the past paid higher prices for the promotion of renewable energy, we do not want to stop the progress that renewable energy can have, but fortunately the technology has evolved and evolved in a way that solar energy can now be Competitive, paying the investment with unsubsidized tariff.â€
He added that â€œthis is a large-scale investmentâ€¦.and is the biggest investment that this company (WElink), which already has solar panels in various parts of the world, is doing.â€ and â€œis the first of a series of investments that this company wants to carry out in Portugal.â€
Construction is to start before the end of Q1 this year and will create 200 construction jobs and support up to 600 at peak times. Once complete and into operation, 30 permanent operation and maintenance jobs will be created.