Cancel
Advanced Search
KEYWORDS
CATEGORY
AUTHOR
MONTH

Please click here to take a brief survey

World’s Largest Solar Power Plants With Thermal Storage To Be Built In Arizona
Joe Romm, 24 Apr 09

What's the easiest way to deal with the intermittency of many renewable sources of energy? Cheap storage. And what form of storage is much cheaper and has a much higher round-trip efficiency than electric storage? Thermal storage.

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/images/parabolic_troughs.jpg

That's a key reason concentrated solar-thermal power (CSP) is a core climate solution. It has the most potential of any zero-carbon electricity since it can most easily be integrated with thermal storage -- technology that is available today, as made clear by this just announced 200-MW plant Albiasa Solar of Spain will build in Arizona:


Albiasa officials said they planned to use molten salt to store heat from the plant so it can keep generating power after sunset.

That also is the plan for Solana Generating Station, a 280-megawatt solar-thermal plant planned for Gila Bend by Abengoa Solar Inc. of Spain.

APS announced that it would buy the energy from that power plant once it is running in 2011. Last year, officials said they were struggling to get financing for the project, but APS spokesman Steven Gotfried said Friday the plans were moving forward.

The ability to provide power reliably throughout the day and evening in key locations around the world (including China and India) is why CSP delivers 3 of the 12 - 14 wedges needed for “nuclear needs a place for its waste, which CSP doesn't, and nuclear has obvious production bottlenecks and takes forever to build safely, which CSP doesn't).

Moreover, unlike nuclear, the world hasn't really built many CSP plants until very recently, so costs are projected to drop steadily down the experience curve for new technology in the coming decade thanks to economies of scale and technology learning. As the 2006 report “Economic, Energy, and Environmental Benefits of Concentrating Solar Power in California,” for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, by Black & Veatch concluded:

A comparison of the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) revealed that the LCOE of $148 per MWh [14.8 c/kwh] for the first CSP plants installed in 2009 is competitive with the simple cycle combustion turbine at an LCOE of $168 per MWh, assuming that the temporary 30 percent Investment Tax Credit is extended.

The ITC was extended 8 years in the bailout bill. And this analysis was really aimed at 2015 costs:

CSP plants installed in 2015 are projected to exhibit a delivered LCOE of $115/MWh, compared with $168/MWh for the simple cycle combustion turbine and $104/MWh for combined cycle plants. At a natural gas price of about $8 per MMBtu, the LCOE of CSP and the combined cycle plants at 40 percent capacity factor are equal.

And that is without a carbon price.

Look out nukes and dirty coal, the future is here!

This piece originally appeared in Climate Progress.

Bookmark and Share


Comments

Solar Power Plants With Thermal Storage in the north Atacama desert combined with Hidro Electricity in south Patagonia, plus combined cycle plants already in the central, will be a dream come true for Chile's long run sustainable power generation. Lets hope the figures develop as estimated.


Posted by: Victor Diaz on 25 Apr 09

Solar Power Plants With Thermal Storage in the north Atacama desert combined with Hidro Electricity in south Patagonia, plus combined cycle plants already in the central, will be a dream come true for Chile's long run sustainable power generation. Lets hope the figures develop as estimated.


Posted by: Victor Diaz on 25 Apr 09

This is fascinating.
With respect, have you missed a few words out in the sixth paragraph? The text is more complete at the Climate Progress site.
I love Worldchanging. Please keep up the good work.


Posted by: Tania on 25 Apr 09

I know WC is not overly nuclear-friendly, but couldn't the thermal storage technology have applications at nuclear facilities? Most of the steam produced gets vented, so can't waste steam go to heating up molten salts?


Posted by: Victor Escobar on 25 Apr 09

Intuitively most folks see CSP with thermal storage and a good grid connection (HVDC) as something we want rather than nuclear with its secrecy, expense, and waste issues as something we have to tolerate at best.


Posted by: Ken W on 26 Apr 09

Another great application for solar thermal is to store the summer's heat in the earth in such a way that it works its way back up right when its needed (in the winter). Check out AGS (Annualized Geo Solar) and see how a small collector can serve to heat your building year round, simply by using the time-lag release of thermal energy. See http://www.greenershelter.org/index.php?pg=3 for full details


Posted by: Aquaponic Dave on 26 Apr 09

Why does the kick off date keep being pushed back for this thing? Now it is 2013. It used to be late 2011.

I did the archaeological work for the 1,400 acres over a year ago. What is the hold up?

I hope this doesn't fade into the sunset like the magic hydrogen-powered car did.

We need to get our shit together and put these things on line. My gut is telling me that this is a long, long way away.

I hope I am wrong.

Jim
Prescott, Arizona


Posted by: Jim on 26 Apr 09

Post A Comment

Please note that comments will remain open for only 14 days after the article is posted. While previous comments will remain visible, attempts to post new comments after this period will fail. This helps stop comment spam, so your forebearance is appreciated.

The Worldchanging comments are meant to be used for further exploration and evaluation of the ideas covered in our posts. Please note that, while constructive disagreement is fine, insults and abuse are not, and will result in the comment being deleted and a likely ban from commenting. We will also delete at will and without warning comments we believe are designed to disrupt a conversation rather than contribute to it. In short, we'll kill troll posts.

Finally, please note that comments which simply repost copyrighted works or commercial messages will be summarily deleted.

REMEMBER PERSONAL INFO?
Yes No

NAME


EMAIL ADDRESS


URL


COMMENTS



EMAIL THIS ENTRY TO:

YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS:


MESSAGE (optional):


Search Worldchanging

Worldchanging Newsletter Get good news for a change —
Click here to sign up!


Worldchanging2.0


Website Design by Eben Design | Logo Design by Egg Hosting | Hosted by Amazon AWS | Problems with the site? Send email to tech /at/ worldchanging.com
©2012
Architecture for Humanity - all rights reserved except where otherwise indicated.

Find_us_on_facebook_badge.gif twitter-logo.jpg