China’s first commercial CSP plant produces power

3 January 2019

ABB has delivered an integrated automation solution that controls production at China’s first commercially operated concentrated solar power plant. Fast completion of the project enabled the plant to become the first to produce power under the government’s CSP initiative while also beating the deadline to qualify for the maximum feed-in tariff.

Located at Delingha in central China and operated by China General Nuclear Power Group, the 50 MW plant, which is equivalent to the power produced by 45 000 tonnes of coal a year, started producing renewable power on 30 September this year. It is one of 20 demonstration plants in a government initiative to establish CSP commercially and boost the country’s growing capacity to produce emission-free renewable energy. China is already the world’s largest producer of solar photovoltaic power but generates very little with CSP.

The brain of the CSP plant is the ABB Ability Symphony Plus distributed control system, which unifies all the plant’s production processes into a single user- friendly system. These include the parabolic troughs which collect and intensify the heat, the heat transfer system which transports the heat to molten salt tanks where it is stored, and the power block where the electricity is generated and fed into the transmission grid.

The ABB solution includes unique precision control of the parabolic troughs, which enables each one to harness maximum heat as the sun passes overhead.

ABB’s scope of supply included products, engineering, testing, installation supervision, commissioning of the solar field and commissioning support for the power block, and training.

“This is a proud moment for ABB and for China General Nuclear Power Group,” says Kevin Kosisko, managing director of ABB’s power generation and water business. “By completing the project to meet a very challenging deadline, we enabled the plant to maximise revenues and become the first to produce power in the government’s CSP initiative.”

Built on the sparsely populated Delingha plateau, the demonstration plant is expected to boost China’s efforts to meet a 2030 target of producing 20 % of its overall energy from renewable sources. 

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