Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) with thermal energy storage is a potential solution that reduces the variability of the aggregate renewable energy portfolios and provides a wide range of operational and reliability benefi
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) with thermal energy storage is a potential solution that meets clean energy and climate change policy goals, reduces the variability of the aggregate renewable energy portfolios and provides a wide range of operational and reliability benefits.
As the penetration of variable renewable energy resources increases worldwide, more attention is being paid to the effects of renewable energy on power system reliability and operations.
The Concentrating Solar Power Alliance (CSPA), an advocacy organization formed to educate U.S. regulators, utilities and grid operators about the benefits of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP), has issued an updated version of a technical report published in 2012, incorporating the latest research on the economic and reliability benefits of CSP with thermal energy storage.
"This report is intended for utilities, regulators, policymakers and grid operators, and it presents a framework for more informed decision-making in the evaluation of competing resources to achieve better outcomes for energy consumers," said Joe Desmond, senior vice president of marketing and government affairs for BrightSource Energy, a CSPA member company. "As evidenced in this report, CSP is uniquely positioned to be a cornerstone of a low carbon energy mix with its long-term economic and reliability value."
CSP with thermal energy storage combines the operational flexibility of a conventional thermal power plant with a completely renewable fuel source and long duration storage, resulting in improved availability and reliability, according to the report, which claims more than 20 utility-scale parabolic trough and power tower plants with storage currently in commercial operation globally, with several more under construction or in advanced planning stages.
The report predicts that CSP plants will obtain higher value when compared to other renewable resources as power systems transition to higher penetration of renewable generation, especially when it comes to operational challenges, including mitigating the diurnal net load system ramps created by variable solar generation, surplus generation conditions during the sunlight hours, increased requirements for ancillary services, such as frequency regulation, and new requirements for frequency response and inertial response services.