CSP Key Players
Focus on the Desert
Power generation in hot, dry areas makes CSP a viable solution for
desert applications. By expanding into process heat and enhanced oil
recovery, the concentrating solar technology is running full steam ahead.
JENNIFER RUNYON, Managing Editor
By the end of 2013, the largest solar power plants in the world
will be generating power from the sun and they won’t be using
photovoltaic (PV) technology. Brightsource’s 277-MW Ivanpah
in California, Areva’s 250-MW project in Rajasthan, India and
many others are all set to come online by the end of the year.
The 100-MW Shams 1 project commenced operation in Abu
Dhabi in March. “The outlook for CSP has never been brighter,”
said Alison Mason, Director of Marketing at SkyFuel.
CSP technology captures solar energy through troughs
or mirrors (also called heliostats), which are set on trackers and concentrate the sunlight to generate power. Mainly
used in utility-scale power generation projects, the technology also holds promise for other applications, including process heat and enhanced oil recovery operations (see sidebar
on page 44). To date, however, the technology has struggled
to gain ground. Back in 2010, thousands of megawatts of
CSP projects were in the works, but that number was slowly
pared down as developers of large utility-scale solar projects
switched their technology from CSP to PV because of dropping PV panel prices. Nonetheless, today there are almost 12
GW of CSP projects in some form of development all over the
globe and 2. 7 GW of operating plants worldwide.
Worldwide Geographical Markets and Applications
CSP companies are targeting sun-drenched countries that
have solar incentives on the books, said Mason. She said tra-
ditional oil-producing countries are “investing heavily in CSP
to free up their oil for sale.” In addition, she said SkyFuel is
targeting “all markets with
incentives for CSP” and
named Italy, Turkey, the Unit-
ed States, India, China, Saudi
Arabia, Qatar, South Africa,
and Chile” as good examples
of such markets.