SENER wins European Business Awards for the Environment/Basque Division for its Gemasolar project

21/12/2011 (Spain)
SENER wins European Business Awards for the Environment/Basque Division for its Gemasolar project

SENER came out on top in the competition for the European Business Awards for the Environment/Basque Division, for its Gemasolar project, which it entered in the category of Sustainable Development Process. Ihobe, an Environmental Management Public Corporation whose aim is to support the Department for the Environment, Spatial Planning, Agriculture and Fisheries of the Basque Government, was the organization responsible for awarding the Basque edition of this award. Itziar Urrutia, the Director of SENER's Bilbao Division, was selected to accept the trophy presented by Environmental Minister Pilar Unzalu, in a ceremony held on the evening of December 20th at the Teatro Campos Elíseos in Bilbao, with over a hundred companies in attendance.

SENER has been distinguished in the category of Sustainable Development Process for the Gemasolar solar plant, nowadays the most innovative solar plant in the world, in commercial operation. SENER has been responsible for supplying all the technology and all the engineering for Gemasolar, leading the EPC, start – up and commissioning works of the plant. Promoted by the company Torresol Energy (60% owned by the SENER group, 40% owned by Masdar) and located in the village of Fuentes de Andalucía in Seville, Gemasolar is the first commercial plant in the world with central tower receiver technology and a molten salt heat storage system. This system allows producing energy throughout 15 hours without sunlight; in other words, a clean source such as solar energy can become manageable, as this plant can deliver power to the grid according to the demand, even at night or during cloudy weather.

Gemasolar has leaded the way to a new CSP production technology that can become the best alternative possible, because it has the highest potential in technological development, as well as in the reduction of generation costs. Therefore, Gemasolar is considered a technological milestone, and it will be a model for the success of future solar plants.

The European Business Awards for the Environment, created by the European Commission, are the most prestigious accolades in the field of sustainable business development, and are awarded in four categories: Sustainable Development Management, Product or Service, Process and International Cooperation. The current Basque version of the European awards featured 28 Basque companies competing against each other. These same companies will face off against each other along with candidates from the rest of Spain in the Spanish division of the awards. Finally, next year the winning company from each of the European Union member countries will compete for the European version of the award. Along with SENER, this year's awards were won by Iberdrola, Osakidetza Comarca Bilbao, Udapa, Yor and Colegio Calasancio.

In the words of Environmental Minister Pilar Unzalu, “These companies have demonstrated that the environment need not be an encumbrance on economic growth. Rather, it is a magnificent opportunity for creating wealth, increasing business competitiveness, generating quality employment and boosting social well being”.

The prize jury appreciated the unique way the entrants contributed to reaching the objectives of the 2010-14 Ecoefficiency Program for Basque companies, in which over 300 organizations from the Basque Country are participating, and whose goal is to increase the competitiveness of the Basque business climate by integrating the environmental factor into their way of conducting business.

“The Green Sector is located in the sectors that offer the most business opportunities: more jobs and more profits, with current annual growth rates of around 6% worldwide”, asserted Unzalu.

This prize caps off an intense year of awards and recognitions for SENER; it recently won the top European Business Award for Innovation, where it beat out nine other finalist companies in an extensive selection process that began in May 2011 and which involved competition from over 15,000 European companies. In November, SENER won the CSP Today awards for "Engineering Firm 2011" and "Solution Dispatchability Increaser 2011". The company had previously won the American version of CSP Today's "Engineering Firm 2011" award because of its progress in the U.S. market. In October Sendagorta was also awarded the "Managing for Growth" award by the Spanish Confederation of Directors and Executives and the "Best Basque Businessman" organized by the Basque Company and Society Foundation.

These awards are in addition to other recognitions won in 2011 by the SENER group's subsidiary Torresol Energy, mostly due to its having launched its innovative flagship solar plant, Gemasolar.

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