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Solar revitalizes abandoned desalination plant in Spain

A new €99 million solar project will help the Rambla Morales desalination plant, which shut down in 2011, to resume operations by fall 2022.

From pv magazine Spain

The Rambla Morales desalination plant near Almería, Spain, has been abandoned since 2011. However, it is now set to resume operations by fall 2022, according to a new document from Servicios Hídricos Agricultura y Ciudad SL, a subsidiary of Aqualia.

The project to restart the facility will provide 20 cubic hectometres of water per year to the surrounding area, which includes the municipalities of Almería and Níjar. With this water, 3,000 hectares could be irrigated, which is the equivalent of 10% of the irrigable area of ​​the entire province of Almería, or 60% of the irrigable area of ​​Níjar.

The objective is to start producing and supplying desalinated water in early 2022. The “Mar de Alborán” desalination plant is seen as a potential solution to the water deficit in the area, where the aquifers are over-exploited and have low levels with high salinity, which means that demand for irrigation water cannot be covered by existing natural water sources.

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The project includes the construction of a PV plant that powers the installation, thus making it more sustainable to preserve the environment in which the desalination plant is located, the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park. The facility is expected to be ready in the summer of 2022. The company estimates a total investment of €99.2 million ($119 million).

Lucas Díaz, the director of Aqualia in Andalusia, Extremadura and the Canary Islands, said that the project to start up the desalination plant will be “very complex.” However, he added that Servicios Hídricos is working hard “to turn this infrastructure into a technological benchmark that promotes the economy of the area, guaranteeing water for irrigation and municipalities, based on sustainability, caring for the environment and social commitment.”

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Source: pv magazine