2018, the year in which the Concentrated Solar Power returned to shine

2018, the year in which the Concentrated Solar Power returned to shine

We say goodbye to a very important year for the Concentrated Solar Power sector that will constitute that point of support for the lever that drives the accelerated deployment of this technology worldwide (also in Spain!).

This year, large commercial solar thermal projects have priced the combined cycle plants in Dubai, Australia and Chile, with prices in high radiation locations around 5 c € / kWh and 7 c € / kWh in places of radiation similar to our country.

Although in Spain for some time now no new Concentrated Solar Power plants has been built, our companies still have a relevant participation in the Concentrated Solar Power projects of Morocco, South Africa, Chile, the Emirates and even China.

But, perhaps, the conceptually most relevant aspect is the growing perception of the essential role that the solar thermal power plants, complementing the photovoltaic generation from the late afternoon and throughout the night, will play in the generation structure in the next decade in sunny countries and, in particular, in Spain.

This office profile was precisely the one requested in the recent competition in Dubai, for which the solar thermal offered better prices than the combined cycles and is the one that Protermosolar has presented in its Energy Transition report of the Electricity Sector. Horizonte 2030, whose conclusions, demystifying the need for nuclear maintenance after the closure of coal plants, has had an important impact.

Storage will be the key to renewables, sooner rather than later, practically 100% of electricity generation in many countries. But in the face of a hypothetical storage of electricity generated in excess by wind energy or photovoltaic, whose business plans, both battery systems and future plants with discharges, would be more than doubtful, we must incorporate renewable energy planning in the planning storage that complements the flows and prevent precisely that problem.

And, fortunately, we already have that renewable technology that decouples the capture of the generation, thanks to its thermal storage without significant losses by delaying half a day its dispatch. These are solar thermal power plants whose costs for the support of non-manageable renewables are similar at present to those of possible new combined cycles and whose competitiveness will continue irreversibly to advance in the coming years, since the costs of solar thermal will continue to fall while those of solar thermal gas and emissions will continue to rise.

Other European countries with intentions of strong growth of renewables do not know how to address their lack of manageability and are considering complex and costly solutions for not having conditions for the deployment of solar thermal power plants.

In Spain we do not have that problem and, in addition, we know how these centrals contribute to regional convergence, economic growth and employment.