Partner at the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP and a member of Abengoa’s International Advisory Board.
Nestled in the historic city of Seville, Spain, Abengoa is rooted in the exploration world that led Seville to be the gateway from Europe to the Americas. Over 400 years ago, Seville became the main connection between Europe and the New World. Today, Abengoa is the connection between the old world and the emerging technologies that are defining the future of our planet.
For centuries, nations have chased the power of the sun wondering how electricity could be produced to power communities across the globe, while humanity has struggled to secure clean reliable water supplies, especially in times of drought.
Since the beginning of the environmental movement, international communities throughout the world have struggled with how to deal with the massive amount of waste generated by human activity and deposited in landfills around the world.
Now, Abengoa is giving solutions to these important defining challenges.
An example of this are the solar projects that the company is developing in different areas of the planet, which are making the skeptics to become core defenders of this kind of solar initiatives at commercial scale. Today Abenoga’s commercial scale solar plants are already delivering electricity to the grid in the United States, Abu Dhabi, Algeria and Spain. In addition, Abengoa is building new solar plants in Chile, United States and South Africa.
Until the last few years, the United States had only very limited commercial scale solar energy production. Today, Abengoa hosts some of the largest commercial solar plants in the world in the deserts of California and Arizona. In particular, Arizona’s sola plant, with 280 megawatt, features state of the art thermal storage technology and provides enough electricity to meet the demand of 70,000 Arizona homes, even when the solar resource is not there. This innovative technology is a major step forward, as the solar plant continues to provide electricity even after the sun goes down.
In the same way Abengoa is leading the solar energy revolution, the company is also trying to address the water needs of communities faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges in supplying water to their citizens. Abengoa’s I+D center within the water laboratories in Seville has developed pioneering technologies, providing water solutions through the use of water desalination plants as well as creating alternative water supply solutions for communities.
I have often said that water is the lifeblood of nations and communities. Because of historic droughts now underway in the Southwestern United States, communities are struggling to address water shortages and to plan for their future water supply. In the Rio Grande River shared by Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico, the ongoing drought has created problems that threaten to devastate municipal, industrial, and agricultural water supplies.
The same is true for the Colorado River, which is shared by Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico. The Colorado River is experiencing an historic dry period which is creating shortages for municipal and agricultural users throughout the Basin. In California, Governor Jerry Brown has already declared a state of emergency because of the lack of water.
In the view of scientists and water managing organizations, these droughts are caused by climate change. In addition, the growing population of the Southwest and the increased demand for water has put many communities in a crisis mode.
The United States is not alone in facing droughts. Droughts are also occurring in Latin America, Africa, Asia and many other places around the world. Abengoa’s water technology and projects are helping to provide water solutions to many of these communities. The company has built water projects around the globe, including water projects in China, Ghana, Algeria and Mexico.
As part of its pioneering efforts, Abengoa is also poised to address the challenges created by our landfills across the world. Starting in its facility in Salamanca, Spain, the company has developed the technology to convert solid urban waste into energy. As the earth’s population is expected to grow beyond 7 billion people, the amount of trash created will exponentially grow. Abengoa’s deployment of its solid urban waste energy technology will help addressing the waste problem the world faces and, at the same time, will help developing new alternatives for reliable energy supplies.
As Abengoa explores the energy frontiers, it is also leading the way in advanced cellulosic biofuels. Abengoa’s projects are already creating bioethanol and biodiesel. In the United States, its advanced cellulosic plant located in Houghton, Kansas, will soon convert straw and other biofuel material into biofuels.
In conclusion, the world is confronting major challenges from climate change and population growth. Abengoa’s proven technologies will help the world deal with these changes. Today the world confronts major challenges from climate change and population growth. Abengoa’s proven technologies will help humanity address the challenges that come with this reality.