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Future Energy Structure Faces Transformation
Mar 19, 2018

Veteran CSP market Spain had previously been overtaxed due to the high price of electricity and government finances were tight. As a result, the government cancelled subsidies for new solar thermal power stations, cut subsidies for already-built thermal power stations, and imposed energy taxes on them. The move caused the Spanish market to decline. After the substantial drop in the price of CSP, will the Spanish market usher in a new life?

Luis Crespo, chairman of the European Solar Thermal Power Association (ESTELA), stated that “When the power station is just put into operation, we generally need to learn a transition period of more than a year. After a transition period of about one and a half years, the power generation capacity can basically reach the expected Each year, it is guaranteed that the power generation will be around 5 billion kWh, and the annual ratio of solar thermal power generation to total Spanish emissions will be about 2.5%."

The heat storage system gives the CSP technology an advantage that other renewable energy generation technologies do not have—a more stable power supply for the grid and a peak-tuning capability. Second, it can also ease and balance the impact of multiple renewable energy sources connected to the grid. About 1/3 of the installed capacity of solar thermal power plants in Spain are equipped with energy storage systems.

According to the power data of Spain's transmission system operator (TSO) for the last ten years, it seems that the operation of the solar thermal power station in Spain is stable every year. According to Crespo, “TSO has always been very popular with the operation of CSP plants, which can meet 4% of the electricity demand in Spain in the summer. But in some cases, we can exceed expectations and supply 8% or even 10% of electricity. ."

With its high power quality, CSP has gained more online hours than other renewable energy sources. The Spanish company ACS Cobra reorganized its renewable energy assets (including 16 wind power stations and 3 solar thermal power stations) under a new company, SaetaYield. The total installed capacity of SaetaYield's power plants exceeds 1GW, of which 778MW of wind power stations are installed, accounting for 75%; and 250MW of solar thermal power stations, accounting for only 25%. However, in the first three quarters of 2017, the output of CSP stations reached 1,413 GWh, accounting for 41% of the total.