Economic Implications of Thermal Energy Storage for Concentrated Solar Thermal Power

Sharon J. Wagner
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, United States of America

Edward S. Rubin
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, United States of America

Ladda ner artikelhttp://dx.doi.org/10.3384/ecp110573821

Ingår i: World Renewable Energy Congress - Sweden; 8-13 May; 2011; Linköping; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 57:20, s. 3821-3829

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Publicerad: 2011-11-03

ISBN: 978-91-7393-070-3

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


A 110-MW parabolic trough power plant operating in California was modeled to observe the effect of molten salt thermal energy storage capacity on plant performance; cost; and profitability. A plant with no storage (PT-NG) was modeled to match the hourly and annual electricity output of a comparable plant with storage (PT-TES). The solar field area for the PT-TES plant was selected to minimize the unsubsidized levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). For each storage capacity modeled here (1-12 hours); PT-NG resulted in a larger solar field area and higher O&M costs than the respective PT-TES option. PT-TES generally had higher capital costs than PT-NG; and the PT-NG levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) varied from 6% higher compared with smaller TES capacities to 6% less compared with larger TES capacities. The profitability of PT-NG compared to PT-TES followed a similar trend to the LCOE with larger margins of difference in select scenarios. These results were achieved with 3-22% of the net electric output from natural gas in the PT-NG plant. The 30% investment tax credit (ITC); currently in place for solar energy in the United States; lowered the capital costs and LCOE for each configuration. Electricity pricing through a power purchase agreement (PPA) of $200/MWh was more profitable than hourly real-time electricity pricing; which resulted in a net annual loss for all configurations. Both the PPA and ITC were required to achieve a positive annual profit; and the maximum annual profit achieved was $US 11 million per year with 0 hours of storage.


Concentrated solar power; thermal storage


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