Concentrated solar power a boost for utilities

The storage capacity of concentrating solar power (CSP) can add significant value to a utility’s optimal mix of energy sources, a new report said.

02/07/2013


ISS SourceThe storage capacity of concentrating solar power (CSP) can add significant value to a utility’s optimal mix of energy sources, a new report said.

CSP with a six-hour storage capacity can lower peak net loads when the sun isn’t shining, enough to add $35.80 per megawatt hour to the capacity and operational value of the utility, compared to photovoltaic (PV) solar power alone, and even higher extra value when compared to CSP without storage, according to the report by U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The net load is the normal load minus variable renewables such as photovoltaic and wind.

The additional value comes because thermal storage allows CSP to displace more expensive gas-fired generation during peak loads, rather than displacing lower-priced coal; and because it can continue to flatten the peak load in the evenings when PV isn’t contributing to the mix because the sun went down.

The report, “Simulating the Value of Concentrating Solar Power with Thermal Energy Storage in a Production Cost Model,” by NREL’s Paul Denholm and Marissa Hummon, found the $35.80 per megawatt extra value would come in a scenario in which there is relatively high penetration of renewables into the utility’s mix, about 34%. If the penetration was lower, the extra value would be less.

Denholm and Hummon simulated grid operations in two balancing areas primarily in Colorado. NREL is also using the same methodology it developed for the Colorado scenario for the more complex California system controlled by the California Independent System Operator. A report on the value that CSP with thermal storage adds to the California system should come out early next year.

The Colorado study marks one of the first times the operational and capacity value of CSP with thermal storage underwent evaluation using a production cost model, a traditional utility planning tool.

Denholm and Hummon employed Energy Exemplar’s PLEXOS simulation model that allowed them to isolate the relative value of thermal energy storage (TES) with and without storage.

CSP with TES, with an ability to store thermal energy in molten salt, can use its heat-energy to drive turbines at power plants over much longer stretches of the day.

“We’ve known for a long time that CSP with storage adds significant value, however, we are now able to quantify this value in the language utilities understand,” said Mark Mehos, manager of NREL’s Concentrating Solar Power program.

Compared to other renewable options, at high penetration levels CSP with TES can be dispatched to displace natural gas rather than coal. This is important because electricity produced from natural gas fired generators is typically more costly than that produced from coal.

“With CSP with thermal storage, you aren’t diving as deep into the generation stack, displacing cheaper and cheaper fuel,” Denholm said. “You’re always displacing the highest-cost fuel.”

Also, CSP with TES can lower peak net loads in the evenings when electricity use can still be high, but PV isn’t available. So, it helps utilities offset the need to build new gas-fired generators in order to meet the electricity demand when the sun goes down.

“CSP with thermal storage can continually reduce that peak demand as the peak moves into the evening,” Hummon said. “It continually maintains a high operational value and high capacity value.”



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me