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CSP could provide 6% of global power by 2030, study says

Solar thermal electricity (STE), also called concentrating solar power (CSP), could meet up to 6% of the world’s power needs by 2030 and 12% by 2050, according to a new report by the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association (ESTELA), Greenpeace International and SolarPACE.

This is under the most ambitious scenario, where cumulative global STE capacity would reach 42 GW by 2020 and 350 GW by 2030. By 2050, the world would have 1,600 GW of STE plants.

Even under the moderate scenario, global capacity would grow to around 22 GW by 2020 and would be approaching 800 GW by 2050, which would be enough to meet 5% of power demand.

The authors of the report say that both scenarios are based on realistic policies to support development of the technology.

There were 4.9 GW of STE projects operational worldwide at the end of 2015 and the sector is on track towards double digit gigawatt capacity within the next five years, according to the study.

It says that in spite of challenges in recent years due to political instability in key markets and strong competition with other renewables, STE is key to achieve a 100% renewables share by 2050. The European market was hit by policy changes in Spain, which nevertheless remains the global leader with 2.3 GW of capacity.

The report calls for financial incentives and national targets to increase deployment. The installation of new electricity links and market mechanisms between countries and continents as well as long-term support for research and development have also been identified as measures needed to boost the sector. It says that there is potential for further cost declines and that just as with any other energy technology, costs come long a solid deployment programme.

STE plants use mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays to a high temperature and drive a heat engine to generate electricity. The technology makes sense at a large system scale and is seen as best suited to areas in the world with strong irradiation.

The report came as Morocco’s King Mohammed VI on Thursday inaugurated the 160-MW Noor I CSP near the city of Ouarzazate, which is the initial phase of what would be the world’s largest such facility.

The now operational solar thermal power plant uses parabolic trough technology and also has three hours of energy storage capacity. It is part of a larger complex of 580 MW capacity. Noor II will use parabolic mirrors, while Noor III will use the solar power tower structure. Both will have storage capacity.

Source: http://renewables.seenews.com

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