Chilean regulators have approved the environmental impact study for Valhalla Energia’s proposed 300MW pumped storage plant in the Atacama Desert which will utilise seawater and help eliminate the intermittency of solar energy.

The project site takes advantage of the unique geographic characteristics of a high coastal cliff located close to the Pacific Ocean which contains natural surface concavities, making it ideal for the storage of seawater. Solar energy will be used to pump water up the side of the 600m high cliff.

Approval is still required for the 600MW Cielos de Tarapac√° solar plant which is complementary to Espejo de Tarapac√°. Valhalla Energia says that the combination of the two projects will create the world’s first large scale system capable of producing solar energy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, competing directly and without subsidies with thermoelectric generation.