More than 3000 MW of CSP projects have been announced in Europe and MENA

According to estimates by CSP Today's latest overview of CSP in Europe, North Africa and the Middle-East

- Out of these 2500 MW are to be built in Spain but a ceiling of 500 MW on the granting of the feed-in tariff creates uncertainty

- Parabolic Trough technology is dominant in all three regions, accounting for 87% of projects in Spain
- Israel and the UAE bring CSP to the Middle East by opening tenders for 350 MW worth of projects and encouraging innovation through R&D
- Projects in Algeria, Morocco and Egypt ascend to 245 MW, however high costs of this technology and low levels of government support slow the progress of CSP in the region

Concentrated Solar Thermal looks more and more like a viable alternative for electricity production in Southern Europe and MENA, all regions with abundant solar resources and growing energy demand. Price volatility of oil and gas, energy security and the threat of climate change have propelled the commercial development of this technology, according to an assessment by CSP Today.

The lion's share of projects in this region are being carried out in Spain, where CSP Today found that around 54 projects, ascending to nearly 2500 MW, have been announced. Out of these only two projects, PS10 (10MW) and Andasol 1 (50MW), have been connected to the grid but some think that around 1500 MW of CSP will be in operation by the end of 2010. Despite all the enthusiasm, the Spanish market is a good reminder that this technology still depends on government support to be cost competitive. Government regulation RD 661/07 stipulates that the 27 cent per kWh feed in tariff currently granted to CSP plants will be reviewed once the market reaches 500MW. The uncertainty this creates poses a threat for the future development of CSP in Spain.

In North Africa, the governments of Algeria, Morocco and Egypt have entered partnerships with Spanish companies Abengoa and Iberdrola for the integration of CSP capacity into existing fossil fuel plants. This move will allow these countries to tap into their huge solar resources, which in all cases amount to more than 2500 kWh/m2/year, while improving the dispatchability of CSP electricity. Countries in this region, particularly Algeria, have been exploring the possibility of exporting electricity from CSP to Europe. However, despite significant solar resources and the tantalising possibility of exporting surplus electricity, high costs remain a deterrent for the development of this technology in North Africa but particularly for countries such as Algeria and Egypt, which are net exporters of natural gas. The fact that CSP consumes large amounts of water for steam generation is also an obstacle for the development of this technology but this might be mitigated if CSP is used for water desalination.

Israel and the UAE are taking solid steps to take advantage of their significant solar resources and develop innovation driven CSP industries in their respective countries. In Israel the government approved a feed-in-tariff in 2006 and has a 250 MW project in the Negev dessert currently open for tenders. The UAE has opted for a different path to promote CSP, focusing on promoting R&D through the Masdar Initiative. The UAE has 100 MW of CSP open for tenders and eventually it intends to expand it to 500 MW. The main barrier to the development of CSP in the UAE, according to CSP Today, is the scarcity of land in this country and potential competition for land with property development.

To Download CSP Today's overview of CSP in Europe North Africa and the Middle East go to our webpage

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