A 50 MW solar thermal power plant in Spain was inaugurated today and hailed as a blueprint for European energy co-operation.

Andasol 3 in Andalusia was built by a consortium of five German companies: Stadtwerke München (SWM), RWE Innogy, RheinEnergie, Ferrostaal and Solar Millennium.

It comprises about 205,000 parabolic reflectors and is currently running in test mode, with commercial operations set to start in the coming weeks.

Members of the consortium have praised the project as an example of international collaboration.

“Andasol 3 is a perfect example of how the energy transition needs to be realised at a European level,” said Kurt Mühlhäuser, SWM chairman. “It can only succeed if the various parties involved are united in a common aim and if the political conditions are favourable.”

Hans Bünting, of RWE Innogy, added that the plant proved that “converting Europe’s electricity production methods can be achieved far more efficiently if we take an international approach, rather than pursuing national concepts”.

And the German government’s phase-out of nuclear has given added importance to Andasol 3. “The companies in Germany’s major cities in particular need to come up with innovative ways of meeting future energy needs,” said Dieter Steinkamp, RheinEnergie’s managing director.

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