Cerro Dominador

The first thermosolar plant in Latin America clean will supply energy to the National Electrical System by stages until reaching full load.
The plant will allow 100% renewable energy to be generated for the system 24/7, in a flexible, reliable, and safe way.

Today the Cerro Dominador Concentrated Solar Power Plant successfully synchronized with the Chilean electrical system, marking the start of the Group’s contribution to speed up the decarbonization of Chile.

“We are proud of this latest milestone in the development of our project. Having started to deliver electricity to the National Electrical System is evidence of the reality and benefits of CSP technology. “We know that the deployment of a new technology in the country is a great responsibility and that is why we have spared no measures to ensure that this new plant’s integration with the country’s electricity grid is a success. For this we have developed a plan that will be implemented in stages, beginning with synchronization, followed by a safe and progressive increase in the power injected into the system,” Cerro Dominador CEO Fernando González explained.

The project, which has become one of the most emblematic renewable energy projects in the country and the continent, is in the Antofagasta Region. Unlike other projects, this system does not use photovoltaic panels, but rather 10,600 mirrors (heliostats), each one with a surface area of 140 m2, which reflect sunlight and concentrate the heat on a receiver at the top of a 250-meter tower. This receiver contains molten salts circulating that, after absorbing the heat and reaching temperatures of over 560 degrees, are stored in large tanks and then used to generate electricity using a steam turbine.

This innovative system allows the plant’s storage system to produce energy 24 hours a day, not just when there is sun. In addition, it will be capable of avoiding close to 640,000 tons of CO2 a year and supply a city of approximately 380,000 households.

At Cerro Dominador they explain that the CSP plant will supply energy to the grid in a gradual and phased way over the coming months. “Synchronization kicks off first phase. We then move on to the second phase, which is calibration of the operation, where we undertake a detailed adjustment of the different systems and perform the final acceptance tests on the plant. Lastly, we hope to complete the last phase with an operation that is consistent with the National Electrical Coordinator’s needs,” they commented.

“We are very pleased to be able to take this great step toward decarbonization. To achieve the carbon neutrality targets set by Chile, there is a need to incorporate more renewable energy plants that offer the same attributes of flexibility and reliability as the plants that are decommissioned. This ultimately proves that CSP technology has come to stay,” González stated.

The project, in addition to having the support of financial institutions, obtained financing from the Laif Program of the European Union and the KFW Development Bank. And it was built by the Consortium formed by Acciona-Abengoa.