All eyes are on leading developers, regulators, grid operators and utilities as the CSP industry meets in Las Vegas on June 26-27.
CSP Today USA 2013 is only one week away, taking place on June 26-27 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas and over 350 of the most influential figures, innovators and hands-on experts have now confirmed to attend.
Over the next 12 months, five large scale CSP plants will be commissioned in the United States, totalling 1282MW. This increase in operational capacity is set to make 2013 a momentous year for the CSP industry in this region, with many experts pointing to the long-term impact that the commissioning of new plants will have on the future project pipeline, that currently stands at just over 1.5GW.
However despite this progress, recent commentary has highlighted the market and regulatory challenges that CSP continues to face in the US. The DOE loan-guarantee programme, developed with the intent of promoting the deployment of utility-scale renewable energy projects, including CSP, is now on hold.
The five CSP projects that are scheduled to come online over the next 12 months, benefitted from the initiative – enjoying a total of US$ 4,235 million in loan guarantees. However, future projects will no longer benefit from this support mechanism that lowered the risk of lending to projects. Therefore, it remains unclear if the CSP sector will continue to attract sufficient levels of investment to fulfil its potential in the US energy mix. Furthermore, experts have also suggested that the increasing use of natural gas in the US will also slow growth in the clean energy sector, as utilities look to contain electricity prices, to avoid having to pass along higher costs to consumers.
Consequently, advocates of CSP have raised concerns over whether utilities will continue to sign power purchase agreements (PPA) with CSP developers, especially as they near their renewable portfolio standard requirements in key CSP states. These roadblocks facing CSP in the United States will form a critical part of the discussion at CSP Today USA 2013 (26-27 June, Las Vegas), as well as how the industry can continue to maintain growth in this region. The critical lessons that have been learnt during the development of projects coming online over the next year will also take centre stage. Abengoa, BrightSource Energy and SolarReserve will share insight into the actions that need to be taken to encourage the continued development of CSP plants, including changes in federal and state level policies and reducing the costs of existing technologies.
Organizers CSP Today have also confirmed this week that leading regulators, grid operators and utilities will also attend the summit, including Nevada Public Utilities Commission, ERCOT, FERC, California-ISO and Sacramento Municipal Utility District. The confirmed list of participants is now online and can be found on the event website at: http://www.csptoday.com/usa/whos-attending.php