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THREE “CONCENTRATING SOLAR POWER (CSP)” MAKERS CREATE AN ALLIANCE

08 Mar 2012.

THREE OF THE WORLD’S  LEADING CSP COMPANIES HAVE FORMED AN ALLIANCE TO PROMOTE THEIR TECHNOLOGY.  The world-class companies are: “Abengoa”,  “BrightSource”, and “Torresol”, and the new alliance is called: “Concentrated Solar Power Alliance(CSPA)”. The main purpose of the alliance is to promote public acceptance of their technology by informing USA Energy Regulators, Utilities, and Gid operators regarding the many benefits of CSP; specially, when coupled with thermal energy storage. It uses mirrors to concentrate sun rays on a trough or on a “power tower” to heat fluids which in turn, create steam to drive a conventional steam turbine(s). The first commercial CSP plants were built in California in the mid-1980’s, and are operating today with a higher output than when they were new.

EXEC DIRECTOR TEX WILKINS of CSPA (the new alliance) said: “We believe CSP, with its ability to generate electricity when it is needed, is critical in meeting the energy challenges facing the USA and the world…CSP technology is the only renewable resource that is capable of harnessing the world’s most abundant fuel source – the sun, to produce reliable, cost-effective, and useful electricity;” Hence the Alliance’s mission is to promote increased acceptance, adoption, and installation of CSP utilities in the United States. The Alliance will also promote policies to encourage, and advance CSP technology efficiency, and greater deployment.

USA CSP EXISTS ALREADY. It currently generates over 500 MW, and there are an additional 1,300MW of electrical generation in CSP plants UNDER CONSTRUCTION; with many millions of MW more under development.

WORLD-WIDE, CSP ELECTRICAL GENERATION now totals more than one million MW of CSP(one gigawatt) in operation. The International Energy Agency estimates that CSP projects now in development, or under construction in more than a dozen countries, including China, India, Morocco, Spain and the United States) will soon total 15 gigawatts (that is equivalent to 15 Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs).

ADVANTAGES OF CSP FOR UTILITIES to users, and grid operators are:

1. Its inherent ability to: Produce electricity at peak demand when it is needed most during the late afternoon or early summer evening hours or winter mornings
2. Its ability to include cost-effective / efficient, thermal energy storage, to significantly extend its hours of operation into the night(after the sun goes down) to provide a flexible and usable clean energy source, as needed.  There are different designs for steam-producing CSP technology that incorporate thermal storage.

3. Ease of  incorporation (co-location) with thermoelectric gas, oil or coal fuel power plants, to create “hybrids” Power Plants for cleaner base-load power.

CSP PLANTS GREATLY BENEFIT AREAS WHERE THEY ARE INSTALLED:  Experience has shown CSP Plants generate many economic benefits in the regions where they are built, as well as adding energy to the grid. A recent study of the Spanish CSP industry by “Deloitte” found that, compared to other power generation sources, CSP plants are a strong creator of local jobs during construction, operation, and maintenance;  Additionally, the supply chain feeding the CSP plants creates nationwide jobs as well, because of the plants’ high percentage of domestically-sourced components. Another study commissioned by the “U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab’ for the Department of Energy(DOE) found that a 100 megawatt.  CSP plant creates more than $600 million in impact to gross state output; That,  is ten times that of a combined cycle fossil plant, due to local usefulness and job creation.  CSP technology usually includes power towers, parabolic troughs and linear reflectors, all based on proven engineering principles.

OTHER CSP ALLIANCES EXIST; Hence,  the CSPA builds on the momentum created by World Solar Thermal Electricity Association (STELAWorld), a consortium of industry associations representing the CSP utility industry in Europe, Australia and South Africa. The new CSP Alliance will work closely with, but independent of,  STELAWorld, to further advance the CSP industry in the USA, and abroad.

CSPA  ELECTRICAL GENERATION GOALS ARE: 10% OF THE WORLD’S ENERGY MIX .  Such expectations imply new technologies, and the creation of new, well remunerated jobs;  Such are the projections of the International Energy Agency, in a recent study that shows that, given sufficient investment, and the right government policies, more than 10% of the world’s electricity demand could be satisfied by CSPs by 2050.

Abengoa is an international company currently building 1,010 MW of solar plants all over the world and, with an additional 393 MW already operating. It is the only company in the world building and operating both, trough and power tower CSP plants.

BrightSource Energy, Inc. has approximately 2,400 MW and 90,000 acres under contracts with “Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric Company”- California’s two largest utilities; In addition, the company manages an approximately 90,000 acre development site portfolio in California and the USA-SW that has the potential to accommodate approximately 10 GW of installed capacity.

The Torresol Energy company (Torresol means “solartower” in Spanish) develops, constructs, operates and maintains large CSPs in southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the southwest of the United States. Torresol’s “Gemasolar” plant in Seville, Spain is the first commercial scale Utility in the world to use both: central tower receiver and molten salt heat storage technology.  Such technology is considered the world’s most advanced, and capable of generating energy well after sundown, or during cloudy periods.

IN THE POST-FUKUSHIMA ERA, the world seems united in its rejection of Uranium-fueled Pressure Boiling Water Reactors.  Companies that only a year ago were “licking their lips”, at the thought of the upcoming “Nuclear Renaissance”, such as EDF (France), Rosatom (Russia) , Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Toshiba (Japan), and others, are now “licking their financial wounds” instead, and looking to huge loses in their Nuclear Uranium Cartel segment of Industry.  Some of them are just beginning to accept the fact that to survive, they need to diversify into renewable, clean energy generation.

SOME PROPHETS OF DOOM SAY 2012 WILL BE THE YEAR THE WORLD CHANGES DRAMATICALLY.  I HAVE NEWS FOR THEM!  Fukushima changed our world in many transcendental, dramatic, and irreversible ways;  As a result, many nasty surprises await Fukushima, Japan, and the world for many years to come!  The Fukushima triple melt-thru tragedy has many years yet to play itself out (well, almost).  NO, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, 2011 WAS  “THE YEAR THAT CHANGED OUR WORLD FOREVER”-  Who knows, perhaps for the best, for by opening our eyes to the dangers that the Transuranic “nuclear waste” Uranium-fueled reactors create, it will at last turn our eyes to “alternative clean energy” as a necessity.

THERE ARE MANY ALTERNATIVE SOURCES of energy generation, and CSP, is just one of the promising technologies.  In the coming months we shall endeavor to explore, and report on such technologies – there are many.  It seems clear that each country needs to create an “Energy-mix” most suited to their needs, and utilizing all of their energetic resources.  There is both safety, and pride in energy independence.  It will also prevent wars.  Yes!, I know it sounds utopian, but the fact is we were “taken” for a 60 year ride by the Uranium Nuclear Cartel.  We may need the next 100 years to seek and find clean renewable, sources of energy.  Science, technology, and engineering can help,  government can facilitate development, and we all need to find good ways to conserve energy.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

 

March 8, 2012 at 10:44 PM Comments (6)