Awarding Power Plants (Criteria & Award)

 → The DESERTEC-Criteria were developed to ensure that large-scale solar projects in desert regions are implemented in an environmentally and socially responsible way. They consider in particular economic viability, security of supply and social and environmental impacts of these projects.

The DESERTEC-Criteria are the result of several years of research and will continue to be developed on the basis of experience and through extensive dialogue with all stakeholders.

The aim is to ensure that the implementation of projects meet DESERTEC’s demands for high levels of local content, for education and employment as well as for maximising environmental friendliness. Because only under these conditions can projects offer integrated solutions that deliver climate, water, energy, and economic security. This is the basis for long-term sustainable projects and cooperation between regions and nation-states, which then can also make a significant contribution to peace and security.

You can download the DESERTEC-Criteria as pdf

The DESERTEC Foundation is releasing these criteria for the first time after having used them in 2012 and 2013 to evaluate the concentrating solar thermal power project, TuNur. This 2GW solar tower project under development in Tunisia includes the construction of an undersea transmission cable to export clean desert power to Europe. The project’s design reduces water usage to a bare minimum and its strong focus on local-manufacturing means that up to 20,000 jobs could be created in the course of construction and operation.

The DESERTEC Award winner of 2014 is .... Gemasolar!

DESERTEC awarded the Spanish power plant Gemasolar of the operating company Torresol with the DESERTEC Award 2014 because of its thermal heat storage capacity.

Operating on the basis of concentrating sun rays, solar thermal power stations do have the potential to out-phase conventional power stations if they posses sufficient integrated thermal storage capacity. This would enable them to deliver electricity at any time – day and night – and on demand, thus following the load variations, and in addition compensating the fluctuating renewable energy sources that are eventually fed in the grid. These features qualify them as an ideal complement to the mix of renewable energies in any grid.

Gemasolar has an integrated thermal storage capacity of 15 hours which is sufficient to operate the power station around the clock at any season in the year. Gemasolar has proven its functional proficiency as it is operating since March 2011. This functional proficiency is a very important feature for security of electricity production.

Although its capacity of 20 MW is relatively small, Gemasolar demonstrated that the concept works and that power stations of this type are capable to cover base load. We are confident that in near future we will see solar power stations using the same concept but with higher capacities; in this respect GemaSolar is considered a road paving pioneer for future power stations.

Why did Gemasolar win?

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DESERTEC annually awards the DESERTEC Award to projects that are not only future-orientated and cutting-edge, but also can be replicated in many other locations around the world.

The first solar-generating plant in the world was set up already more than 100 years ago in Egypt. The success of existing solar-thermal power plants strengthens the belief that a global energy transition is truly possible.

Based on the DESERTEC Criteria four power plants were nominated for the DESERTEC Award 2014. The DESERTEC critiera consider in particular economic viability, supply security, the social and environmental impacts of renewable energy projects located in deserts.

DESERTEC is categorically open for new technologies with the emphasis on arid areas. In the following years, also wind and photovoltaic projects could be awarded.

With the DESERTEC Award we proove the feasibilty of an Energy Turnaround. Support our work and become part of the solution.

THE DESERTEC AWARD 2014 – Video Trailer