CENER (National Renewable Energy Centre of Spain)

The National Renewable Energy Centre (CENER) is a technology centre specialized in applied research and development, as well as the promotion of renewable energies. It is equipped with a cutting-edge technological infrastructure which together with a highly qualified technical staff makes this centre enjoy both national and international prestige. It began its activity in 2002 under the auspices of the Government of Navarra, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Research Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT), which, together with the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, are its trustees.


CENER provides professional services in the fields of wind, solar, biomass, bioclimatic architecture, and grid integration of renewable energies, all over the world, to a considerable group of institutions and companies related in one way or another to the energy business. Its headquarters are located in the City of Innovation, in Sarriguren (Navarra / Spain), although it has facilities and offices in other locations such as Sangüesa, Aoiz, Madrid and Seville.



CENER´s infrastructures

With an investment of around 95 million Euros in total, CENER manages important technological infrastructures with the aim of improving technical reliability and efficiency, as well as achieve a reduction in generation costs. Thus, R&D&I will continue to play an essential role in the development of renewable energy technologies and in ensuring that the European goals for 2020 are not just met but exceeded.


The Wind Turbine Test Laboratory (LEA) is a unique facility in the world both in terms of size and the power of the machinery it is capable of testing, as well as in terms of the extensive variety of technological services it offers. The LEA occupies a surface area of 30,000 sq.m., where we can find: Blade Test Laboratory, Powertrain Test Laboratory and a Compound Materials and Processes Laboratory. It also performs field tests and has a 30 MW experimental Wind Farm.


The Second Generation Biofuel Centre (CB2G) it is a semi-industrial pilot scale test facility able to develop biofuel production processes based on raw materials that are not competitive with the food industry. A wide range of biomasses (herbaceous and woody) can be processed at this facility, including suitable pre-treatments for the different biomasses and conversion processes, developing production processes for a wide range of 2nd generation biofuels and operating continuously with endurance tests, simulating industrial conditions. 


The Microgrid Atenea developed by CENER is focused on industrial applications and its main objective is to cover the energy consumption in industrial areas. It has been designed as a demonstration pilot plant and as a test bench for different technologies: power generation, energy storage and control systems. The Microgrid comprises renewable generation systems (wind power and PV energy) and conventional power generation, energy storage systems (Pb batteries, redox flow battery, ion-lithium, supercapcitors, etc…) as well as programmable and real loads, such as industrial estate lighting, LEA loads, etc. It is considers as singular facility due to the size, the particular application and the equipments installed.



Solar Thermal Energy Department

The Solar Thermal Energy Department of the National Renewable Energy Centre offers technological services and carries out applied research activities related to the thermal use of solar energy. Its main objective is to help improve thermosolar technologies and thus facilitate their penetration into the market with the final aim of converting them into a leading player in the process of transforming the current energy system into an environmentally sustainable system.


With a technical team of more than 20 highly qualified professionals, the Solar Thermal Energy Department of CENER is an international reference in the Concentrating Solar Power field. Among the key personnel within this technical team, is the former R&D Director of Abengoa Solar New Technologies.


CENER senior solar researchers are well known CSP technical advisors. Within the last 5 years, they delivered assignment from the World Bank in India, and from other institutions in America, Europe, and Africa. They were technical advisors to the A.T. Kearney CSP cost reduction potential study for ESTELA and to MASEN in the definition of the Ouarzazate complex. They also reviewed CSP-related programs for the US Government and the European Commission, and carried out a very detailed study for the Spanish Institute for Energy Saving and Diversification (IDAE).about the potential of the different CSP technologies in Spain. 


Since its inception, the Solar Thermal Energy Department of CENER has dedicated a large part of its activities to support the Concentrating Solar Thermal Power (CSTP) industry in Spain and elsewhere.

These activities can be classified into three groups:

  • Technical assistance: Technical assistance and advice to companies to ensure the success of commercial solar power plants projects.
  • R&D Projects: Collaborations with companies in defining and developing R&D projects for development and improvement of solar thermal power technologies. 
  • Strategic Assessments: Strategic advice to institutions and companies in relation to technology and solar thermal power industry.


The CENER team has participated, with different degree of involvement, in more than 50 concentrating solar thermal power (CSTP) plant projects in Europe and elsewhere, many of them in the fields of solar radiation and solar thermal concentrating systems and supported through private and public funding. The reports and lessons learned from these activities have resulted in more than 170 publications, including books, technical reports, papers in reviewed journals and conference proceedings.


The CENER team is currently working in the development of more than twenty five commercial CSP plant projects in Spain and abroad. The activities of the CENER team in these projects range from site monitoring and solar resource characterization to modeling of plants and estimates of annual electricity generation. These projects have CSTP plant configurations that differ in capacity, choice of technology and options regarding storage. The experience acquired in these projects and the very sophisticated methodology developed by CENER for their development will place the team in a unique position to make a successful project of the one that is the subject of this proposal. 


The members of the CENER team have also been actively involved in the development of CSTP technologies for many years and especially in the development of tower technology. They also have been actively involved in many of the activities of SolarPACES, the implementing agreement of the International Energy Agency (IEA) for Concentrating Solar Power Technologies and Solar Chemistry Applications, which bringing together teams of national experts from around the world to focus on the development and marketing of concentrating solar power systems.


The main services provided by the Solar Thermal Energy Department of CENER to the CSTP industry are the following: Site selection and characterization, Meteorological Design Years, Design of CSP plants, Design of CSP components, Evaluation of plant performance, Characterization of CSP components, Analysis of Energy Production, Guidance on selection of offers, Feasibility Studies, Technical Due Diligence, Technical assistance, R&D projects, Strategic advising.



Renewable Energy Grid Integration Department

The Renewable Energy Grid Integration Department (IRE) of CENER aims to research and develop systems that will allow for a greater and better integration of renewable energies into the electricity grid.


The Department analyses problems that might occur in the electrical system due to an increase in the penetration of renewable energies into the energy mix combining theoretic studies via simulations and field tests and so, proposing measures whose aim is to appropriately manage the system, including energy storage systems.


The areas of action where it researches and provides services are:




This area develops activities to solve and improve the integration of RES into the grid, combining theoretical and experimental analysis.


The main activities are:

  • Electromagnetic transient’s analysis, in particular voltage dips. Simulations using specific software.
  • Distributed Generation - Smart Grids (electrical and thermal) (Microgrid Atenea)
    • Microgrid design
    • Control design and optimization
    • Implementation
    • Simulation models development (hardware in the loop)
    • Storage systems integration
  • Power flow analysis and dynamic response of the electrical system using dedicated software (PSS/E, DigSilent...)




This area develops activities related to the study and integration of energy storage

systems (ESS) as a fundamental solution for energy management.


The main activities are:

  • Study of different Energy Storage Systems:
    • Electrochemical systems: Hydrogen technologies, Flow batteries, Conventional and Advanced batteries
    • Others: Flywheel, supercapacitors, etc.
  • Technical-economic feasibility studies of Energy Storage Systems and Renewable Energies integration. Development of preliminary project design:
    • Analysis of Energy Storage Systems adequacy
    • ESS sizing and economic analysis in different applications and Management strategies.
  • Experimental Studies in renewable plants (wind farms and photovoltaic energy) with ESSs.
  • Virtual Energy Storage and Demand Side Managment.
  • Study of energetic scenarios in the medium-long term.
  • Modelling and Simulation of renewable energy sources and ESSs




It studies aspects related to the protection of installations against lightning discharges, mainly in wind farms:


The main activities are:

  • Risk analysis of installations for lightning, according to IEC requirements
  • Design of lightning protection systems
  • Lightning prevention systems for installations, via the measurement and analysis of the electrical field.
  • Design of Grounding Systems:
    • Complex terrain
    • Frequency behaviour


The IRE team has participated in several national and european projects in the field of grid integration and storage energy issues. They are involved in the European Energy Reserach Alliance (EERA members), Hydrogen Implementing Agreemnt (IEA), Founder Member of N.ERGHY (JTI research Group), European Association for Storage of Energy (leader of WG5), Member of Joint Programme on Smartgrids. IRE members participate as reviewers in different national an international journals and conferences and are evalutarors for european porgrammes. The IRE department research activities have resulted in more than 50 publications, including books, technical reports, papers in reviewed journals and conference proceedings and Ph.D thesis.



Avenida de la Innovación, 7

31621 - Sarriguren