CSP Alliance – The Economic and Reliability Benefits of CSP with Thermal Energy Storage: Literature Review and Research Needs, 2014

First published in 2012, this revised and expanded technical report incorporates the latest research on the economic and reliability benefits of CSP with thermal energy storage and serves as a comprehensive guide to understanding the design and operational attributes of CSP plants with thermal energy storage. Read More >

LCGS – California 2030 Low Carbon Grid Study

The California 2030 Low Carbon Grid Study (LCGS) explores how the California electric sector can cost-effectively support deep reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to Phase I modeling results, the California electric grid can reduce emissions by more than 50% below 2012 levels by the year 2030 with minimal rate impact, minimal curtailment to renewables, and without compromising reliability. These findings are significant because they illustrate an affordable, reliable, and practical trajectory toward meeting California’s ambitious 2050 GHG emissions goals.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is conducting the modeling work in two phases, with Phase I results available in August 2014, and the final report anticipated in January 2015. Additional technical support in Phase II will come from JBS Energy Inc. on capital cost and revenue requirement analyses and from General Electric Consulting (GE). The modeling work is funded by twenty-eight companies, organizations and foundations, and peer review for the final report will be provided by a third-party technical committee comprised of key energy regulators and stakeholders.

The LCGS is unique in its focus on electric sector emissions reduction, and in its use of a diverse set of resources, including CSP with thermal energy storage, and portfolio-balancing measures aimed at achieving a cost-sensitive, efficient, low carbon grid without major disruption to transmission flows or trading patterns. The final report will remain neutral on specific policy recommendations, as the LCGS is primarily an informational tool. Read More >

NREL – Analysis of Concentrating Solar Power with Thermal Energy Storage in a California 33% Renewable Scenario

This analysis evaluates CSP with TES in a scenario where California derives 33% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. It uses a commercial grid simulation tool to examine the avoided operational and capacity costs associated with CSP and compares this value to PV and a baseload generation with constant output. Overall, the analysis demonstrates several properties of dispatchable CSP, including the flexibility to generate during periods of high value and avoid generation during periods of lower value. Of note in this analysis is the fact that significant amount of operational value is derived from the provision of reserves in the case where CSP is allowed to provide these services. This analysis also indicates that the ‘optimal’ configuration of CSP could vary as a function of renewable penetration, and each configuration will need to be evaluated in terms of its ability to provide dispatchable energy, reserves, and firm capacity. The model can be used to investigate additional scenarios involving alternative technology options and generation mixes, applying these scenarios within California or in other regions of interest. Read More >

NREL – Simulating the Value of Concentrating Solar Power with Thermal Energy Storage in a Production Cost Model

Concentrating solar power deployed with thermal energy storage provides a dispatchable source of renewable energy. The value of CSP with thermal energy storage, as with other potential generation resources, needs to be established using traditional utility planning tools. Read More >

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – Changes in the Economic Value of Variable Generation at High Penetration Levels: A Pilot Case Study of California

This report uses a long-run economic framework to evaluate the economic value of variable generation that accounts for changes in the mix of generation resources due to new generation investments and plant
retirements for both technical reasons (i.e., when generators reach the end of an assumed technical service life) or for economic reasons (i.e., when generation is not pro table enough to cover its on-going xed O&M
costs). Read More >

Department of Energy – CSP Overview

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) offers a utility-scale, firm, dispatchable renewable energy option that can help meet the nation’s demand for electricity. Worldwide, CSP activity is rapidly scaling, with approximately 14,500 megawatts (MW) in various stages of development in 20 countries. In the United States alone, more than 500 MW of CSP are currently in operation, with another 1,200 MW under construction and more than 10,000 MW under development. Read More >

NREL – The Value of Concentrating Solar Power and Thermal Energy Storage

This paper examines the value of concentrating solar power (CSP) and thermal energy storage (TES) in four regions in the southwestern United States. The analysis shows that TES can increase the value of CSP by allowing more thermal energy from a CSP plant’s solar field to be used, by allowing a CSP plant to accommodate a larger solar field, and by allowing CSP generation to be shifted to hours with higher energy prices. Read More >

International Energy Agency – Technology Roadmap

This concentrating solar power roadmap is part of a series being developed by the IEA in response to the pressing need to accelerate the development of advanced energy technologies to address the global challenges of clean energy, climate change and sustainable development. Read More >

NREL – Economic, Energy, and Environmental benefits of Concentrating Solar Power in California

This study provides a summary assessment of concentrating solar power (CSP) and its potential economic return, energy supply impact, and environmental benefits for
the State of California. Read More >

Estela Solar – Macroeconomic Impact of the Solar Thermal Electricity Industry in Spain

Solar Thermal Electricity (STE) in Spain has grown significantly. Its weight within the renewables mix is becoming relevant, and even more so, its impact on economics, society, the environment, and reducing energy dependence. Read More >

NREL – Enabling Greater Penetration of Solar Power via the Use of CSP with Thermal Energy Storage

Energy storage provides an option to increase grid flexibility and there are many storage options available or under development. Both PV and CSP use solar energy to generate electricity, although through different conversion processes. A key difference between CSP and PV technologies is the ability of CSP to utilize high-efficiency thermal energy storage (TES) which turns CSP into a partially dispatchable resource. In this work we consider a technology now beginning to be deployed at scale – thermal energy storage (TES) deployed with concentrating solar power (CSP). Read More >