The Economic and Reliability Benefits of CSP with Thermal Energy Storage: Literature Review and Research Needs 2014

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First published in 2012, this revised and expanded technical report incorporates the latest research on the economic and reliability benefits of CSP with thermal energy storage and serves as a comprehensive guide to understanding the design and operational attributes of CSP plants with thermal energy storage.

The report is intended for utilities, regulators, grid operators and policy makers, and presents a framework for more informed decision-making in the evaluation of competing resources to achieve better outcomes for energy consumers.

Among the report’s key highlights:

  • CSP with thermal energy storage is shown to be much more competitive when the comprehensive net grid system costs of the CSP plant are compared to wind or solar photovoltaics (PV). These net costs include the long-term energy, ancillary service and capacity benefits and have been shown to provide an additional $30-60/MWh, or even higher, of benefits when compared to a PV plant with equal annual energy production in high renewable penetration scenarios. This finding is critical for the development of renewable energy portfolios in regions with high solar potential.
  • As renewable energy penetration increases, the operational flexibility offered by CSP with storage supports integration of wind and PV. While some studies have pointed to the possibility of curtailment of renewable energy generation, this could be reduced by maintaining dispatchable resources within the resource portfolio.
  • New to this report are comprehensive summaries of policies, regulatory and market structures for regions with high potential for CSP development around the world, including the Americas (U.S., Mexico, Brazil and Chile), Southern Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Southern Africa, China, India and Australia.