Reported from CSPPLAZA: Recently, at the 2019 China International CSP Conference hosted by CSPPLAZA, Luis Crespo, President of Protermosolar and Former President of ESTELA, gave a keynote speech entitled "Value Proposition of CSP and Current Situation of European CSP Industry".
Three major reasons for the transformation of renewable energy in the global electrical sector
According to Luis Crespo, there are three main reasons for the global transformation of renewable energy:
1.Solar energy resources are clean, renewable, easy to obtain at low cost. In sunbelt countries, solar energy has far exceeded local electricity demand.
2.It is hard to reduce emissions in the industrial heat and transportation. Therefore, it is particularly urgent for decarbonizing the electricity generation.
3.For now, renewable energy is the best economic option for generating electricity.
CSP technology with TES is critical to the transformation of renewable energy
Luis Crespo pointed out that some technologies such as PV and wind power are cheap but not dispatchable; other technologies such as CSP are relatively expensive but effectively dispatchable. And it is possible to achieve decarbonization only when the dispatchable technologies such as CSP are developed to a certain scale.
In addition, the LCOE of the CSP technology with the energy storage system has been far lower than the PV technology with battery storage energy with the same installed capacity.
He further stated that Smart Planning is key to the successful transformation of renewable energy, and a balanced blend of PV and CSP could offer dispatchable power at an unbeatable price in sunny countries.
Overview of the development status of CSP in European countries
There are currently 49 commercialized CSP plants in Spain with a total installed capacity of 2.3 GW, which were put into operation from 2007 to 2013. According to Spain's National Energy and Climate Plan 2030 submitted to the European Union, Spain plans to add 5 GW CSP installed capacity by 2030;
Italy also considers to add 500 MW by 2030, now it has 3 small plants (5 MW each) under construction;
A 9 MW Fresnel plant with some storage capacity has been recently inaugurated in the French Pyrenees;
Two old projects awarded under the NER 300 support program, one in Greece (Crete island) and one in Cyprus are still trying to get financial closure;
The plants in Spain doesn’t show degradation signs and they are continuously breaking specific records. Lessons learned on specific operational issues are part of the knowhow of the Spanish companies for design and operation of future plants.
The cost reduction trends of CSP and related recommendations
According to Luis Crespo, market volume, policy and planning understanding of the future role of CSP plant, financing costs and risk perception decrease are the main drivers for the decline in CSP costs.
In the future, the cost of CSP will be reduced from the following aspects:
Enhance the performance of power block through technological innovations in key components. For example, the United States is currently developing new supercritical CO2 turbines, and Europe is working on downsizing of supercritical steam turbines;
Extended operational range of heat transfer fluids and storage media;
Understanding of the Cost/Size relationship of solar concentrating devices (heliostats, troughs, …)
Latitude will influence preferred choices depending on countries’ electrical system requirements;
Standardization, modularity and performance increase will contribute to competitiveness. Modularity is particularly necessary for tower plants to break the upper size limit constrain.
In addition, Luis Crespo made three recommendations for the decline in the cost of CSP:
1.Auxiliary consumptions of CSP plants should be supplied by small integrated PV fields;
2.Full dispatchability – decoupling collection and delivery – will be a must in future designs;
3.Any Innovative solution to be further pursued must be scalable to the 100 MW range. This advice is of particular relevance when talking on new receiver concepts.