Nav: Home

NREL finds up to 6-cent per kilowatt-hour extra value with concentrated solar power

June 10, 2014

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) projects would add additional value of 5 or 6 cents per kilowatt hour to utility-scale solar energy in California where 33 percent renewables will be mandated in six years, a new report by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has found.

The report, "Estimating the Value of Utility-Scale Solar Technologies in California Under a 40% Renewable Portfolio StandardPDF," finds that CSP, with its ability to store energy for several hours or more, helps maintain firm capacity in the hours when the sun is below the horizon. Compared to variable generation technologies this translates to an increase in value of 5 cents per kilowatt hour under a 33% renewable standard - the mandate for 2020 - or 6 cents per kilowatt hour under a 40% renewable standard. The added value means that at peak demands, CSP can help lower electricity bills.

"CSP adds significant additional value when compared to less flexible generation sources," NREL CSP Group Manager Mark Mehos, co-author with Jennie Jorgenson and Paul Denholm of the study, said. "As the penetration of renewables rises, so does the relative value of CSP. CSP could also allow greater penetration of PV by making the grid more flexible and reducing curtailment of PV by generating energy after the sun sets. We intend to investigate this in more detail for the remainder of this year."

While photovoltaic modules capture the sun's light and turns it into useable electricity, CSP technologies concentrate the sun's energy and capture that energy as heat, which then drives an engine or turbine to produce electrical power. However, the thermal energy CSP generates can be held back for several hours via storage systems such as molten salts - and then used after the sun sets when demand is still high for, say, air conditioning, television, and lighting.

The new report, funded through the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in support of its SunShot Initiative, compares the total operating costs of a system with and without an incremental amount of CSP with thermal energy storage or solar PV. It also analyzes capacity value. The report is the second in a series of analyses of the value of CSP with thermal energy storage. The previous report, "Estimating the Performance and Economic Value of Multiple Concentrating Solar Power Technologies in a Production Cost Model," is available on NREL's web site.
-end-
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

Visit NREL online at http://www.nrel.gov

DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Related Renewable Energy Articles:

Renewable energy advance
In order to identify materials that can improve storage technologies for fuel cells and batteries, you need to be able to visualize the actual three-dimensional structure of a particular material up close and in context.
Illuminating the future of renewable energy
A new chemical compound created by researchers at West Virginia University is lighting the way for renewable energy.
Using fiber optics to advance safe and renewable energy
Fiber optic cables, it turns out, can be incredibly useful scientific sensors.
Renewable energy developments threaten biodiverse areas
More than 2000 renewable energy facilities are built in areas of environmental significance and threaten the natural habitats of plant and animal species across the globe.
Could water solve the renewable energy storage challenge?
Seasonally pumped hydropower storage could provide an affordable way to store renewable energy over the long-term, filling a much needed gap to support the transition to renewable energy, according to a new study from IIASA scientists.
Scientists take strides towards entirely renewable energy
Researchers have made a major discovery that will make it immeasurably easier for people (or super-computers) to search for an elusive 'green bullet' catalyst that could ultimately provide entirely renewable energy.
Where to install renewable energy in US to achieve greatest benefits
A new Harvard study shows that to achieve the biggest improvements in public health and the greatest benefits from renewable energy, wind turbines should be installed in the Upper Midwest and solar power should be installed in the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Croissant making inspires renewable energy solution
The art of croissant making has inspired researchers from Queen Mary University of London to find a solution to a sustainable energy problem.
Are we underestimating the benefits of investing in renewable energy?
Scientists have estimated the emissions intensity of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants from a major electricity distributor and highlighted key consequences - essential information for policymakers shaping decisions to reduce electricity system emissions.
Lighting the path to renewable energy
Professor Mahesh Bandi of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) has co-developed a novel, standardized way of quantifying and comparing these variations in solar power.
More Renewable Energy News and Renewable Energy Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#566 Is Your Gut Leaking?
This week we're busting the human gut wide open with Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Join host Anika Hazra for our discussion separating fact from fiction on the controversial topic of leaky gut syndrome. We cover everything from what causes a leaky gut to interpreting the results of a gut microbiome test! Related links: Center for Celiac Research and Treatment website and their YouTube channel
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Flag and the Fury
How do you actually make change in the world? For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained "officially" flying.  A few days ago, that flag came down. A few days before that, it coming down would have seemed impossible. We dive into the story behind this de-flagging: a journey involving a clash of histories, designs, families, and even cheerleading. This show is a collaboration with OSM Audio. Kiese Laymon's memoir Heavy is here. And the Hospitality Flag webpage is here.