Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 12, 2012 – The Concentrating Solar Power Alliance (CSPA) has been launched by American concentrating solar power companies, Abengoa, BrightSource Energy, and Torresol Energy.
This new Alliance is dedicated to educating U.S. regulators, utilities and grid operators on the benefits of concentrating solar power and of thermal energy storage as a foundational resource for a reliable, low carbon electricity mix and a driver of economic growth.
“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 dispatchable electricity,” commented Tex Wilkins, the Alliance’s executive director. “We believe CSP, with the ability to dispatch electricity when it is needed, is critical in meeting the energy challenges facing the United States and the world.”
The Alliance’s mission is to promote the increased acceptance, adoption and implementation of CSP plants in the U.S. The Alliance will also promote policies to encourage and advance CSP technology deployment.
CSP technologies use mirrors to concentrate the thermal energy of the sun to drive a conventional steam turbine. The first commercial CSP plants were built in California in the mid-1980s and currently over 500 MW of CSP plants are operating in the U.S. Further, more than 1,300 MW of CSP plants are under construction nationally, and several gigawatts more are under development.
Worldwide, more than 1GW of CSP is in operation. The International Energy Agency has estimated that CSP projects now in development or under construction in more than a dozen countries (including China, India, Morocco, Spain and the U.S.) total 15 GW.
Benefits of CSP include its abilities to produce electricity at peak demand during the late afternoon or early summer evening hours or winter mornings, and with thermal energy storage to provide a flexible and dispatchable clean energy source. It can also be incorporated into fossil fuel power plants as "hybrids" for cleaner baseload power.
The formation of the CSP Alliance builds on the momentum following the creation of the World Solar Thermal Electricity Association (STELAWorld), a consortium of industry associations representing the solar thermal electricity industry in Europe, Australia and South Africa. While independent of STELAWorld, the CSP Alliance will work closely with these associations to further advance the solar thermal industry in the U.S. and abroad.