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Clean Power Concentrated Solar Power

Published on October 26th, 2012 | by Joshua S Hill


Concentrated Solar Power Could Supply 11.3% of Global Electricity by 2050

October 26th, 2012 by  

Concentrated solar power markets are growing all over the world, and new projections suggest that, by 2050, they could make up 11.3% of the electricity generated worldwide.

A new report released by Global Information points to concentrated solar power’s (CSP) dispatchability, increased efficiency, and track record in innovation as the reasons behind their projections.

Concentrated Solar Power

There isn’t much more to the report that is of great value to anyone but a few executives, a point that I imagine Global Information are too well aware of if their shameless and utterly disturbing approach to a press release is any indication. The majority of the press release is dedicated to selling the report with ‘limited time offer’ and ‘special offer’ interspersed through a tide of information meant to entice the would-be investor or project manager.

For anyone wondering, concentrated global power is the act of using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a smaller area (as seen in the image to the above).

According to the report, the “most mature and widely deployed of all CSP technologys” is the Parabolic Trough, accountig for no less than 95.6 percent of all currently running CSP installations.

A diagram of a parabolic trough solar farm (top), and an end view of how a parabolic collector focuses sunlight onto its focal point.

Source: Global Information

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

  • Zer0Sum

    The existing solutions on the market are seriously missing the point of concentrated solar…

    One of these babies could generate > 1GW


  • freedomev

    —- CSP is going to be a fair amount more I believe but in home, building, factory size units, not utility size ones.
    ——And it will happen well before 2050 as before then fossil fuels will have been too expensive to burn for a while!!
    ——And the fact that home CSP using both the heat and power will cost the equivalent of $.05-.08/kwhr with heat for free. Why is they last 30-50 yrs if built right.
    ——- While the US has a lot of coal it won’t mine it because of the dange the mining, burning does. And ithe world doesn’t have enough and the doable coal won’t last 30 more yrs.
    ——- Pretty much the same with oil and NG. While we will never run out of any of them they won’t be worth the cost. Why is theyget harder, more costly to get but RE, nuke will be cheaper by a large amount. The stone age didn’t end because of the lack of stone.
    ——— For instance I drive my EV’s for 25% of the cost of similar ICE’s and 1kw of PV now costs only $1k at sunelec among other suppliers will power them for 20-25 yrs!! OIl can’t beat that even now.

    • Bob_Wallace

      ” nuke will be cheaper by a large amount. The stone age didn’t end because of the lack of stone”

      But the nuclear age did come to an end because nuclear turned out to be too expensive to consider.

      * http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/business/energy-environment/economics-forcing-some-nuclear-plants-into-retirement.html?_r=1 *

      • freedomev

        ———-While presently true in the US it won’t be for long. In fact here in Fl nukes are going in priced at $10k/kw for which you could put in 5kw of RE making about 2-3x’s the output as nukes for the same $.

        ———– But that is because of the Us gov and big business, not inherent nuke costs of next generation nukes. I especially like the simple inherently safe lead cooled ones like the Hyperion style.

        • freedomev

          ———-They leave large amounts of nasty waste and can far more easily get out of control. Lead cooled are far safer. Since they require little safety equipment and can be made eff and very cost effective in smaller sizes they can be close to populations where their excess heat can be used also.
          ——-Plus they burn up far more of their fuel so leave little dangerous wastes.
          ——– They would mostly be for big power users though as RE for retail customers will still be cheaper for them because of utility mark up, profit and distribution costs. Also for large ships, etc as they can be fairly small too from 10Mw to 200Mw for utilities.

        • Bob_Wallace

          There is absolutely nothing in the pipes that will make nuclear energy cheaper.

          There in Florida your utilities are working with your state government to rip you off and make you front the money for new reactors. They cannot borrow the money needed to build them on the open market. Private money wants nothing to do with nuclear because it is clear to anyone who has studied the economics that nuclear reactors are not capable of competing against wind, solar and natural gas.

          *”Nuclear power is no longer an economically viable source of new energy in the United States, the freshly-retired CEO of Exelon,
          America’s largest producer of nuclear power, said in Chicago Thursday.
          *And it won’t become economically viable, he said, for the forseeable future.

          “Let me state unequivocably that I’ve never met a nuclear plant I didn’t like,” said John Rowe, who retired17 days ago as chairman and CEO of
          Exelon Corporation, which operates 22 nuclear power plants, more than any other utility in the United States.

          “Having said that, let me also state unequivocably that new ones don’t make any sense right now.

          Speaking to about 5o people at the University of Chicago‘s Harris School of Public Policy, Rowe presented a series of slides comparing the economic viability of various energy portfolios, including the “King Coal” scenario favored by Republicans, the “Big Wind” scenario favored by Democrats, and a “Playing Favorites” scenario that shuffles and selects from various energy sources.

          All were trumped by a portfolio that relies heavily on America’s sudden abundance of natural gas, which has flooded the market since the boom in hydraulic
          fracturing of shale gas. Natural gas futures dropped to a 10-year low today—$2.15 for 1,000 cubic feet—on abundant supply, the Associated Press reported .

          “I’m the nuclear guy,” Rowe said. “And you won’t get better results with nuclear. It just isn’t economic, and it’s not economic within a foreseeable time frame.””
          http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2012/03/29/exelons-nuclear-guy-no-new-nukes/ *

          • freedomev

            ———-Sorry but that is only in the US because of regulations and costs to get them certified. Once you get away as in asia or even Canada costs drop to under $4k/ kw or less.
            ——— If one isn’t totally anti nuke one can see this. I made my case and it’s based on facts.
            ——– I agree our state is ripping us off but not far in price from the others proposed or being built now.
            ———–That’s why I’m coming out with new RE wind, tidal generators in the next yr for around $2k/kw plus to eliminate coal, the most dangerous energy source that actually is killing people every day. Until recently 30k/yr and hospitalizing 200k. Or do you want that to continue?
            ——— While I’m not fond of nuke it’s far, far better than coal especially if done right which present units are not. But future better designs are. They are going to happen whether you like it or not.
            ———– I don’t just talk about solutions, I actually do them, do you?. Plus I’m open minded and practical based on facts, Are you? It doesn’t seem so.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Good luck riding that nuclear mule. It ain’t going nowhere.

            Watch what is happening around the world, several countries are making big plans to build new reactors and then backing away. China has turned down the heat considerably after the Fukushima meltdown. They’re now talking about building fewer reactors and building none inland. At the same time China has greatly boosted their wind, solar and hydro goals.

            Perhaps some country will drop regulations and build reactors without proper safety requirements, but I don’t think that will happen. I think it far more likely that we’ll see a handful built over the next ten years but that will be the end as the price of wind and solar continues to fall.
            The numbers simply do not work for nuclear.

          • freedomev

            ——–Sigh!! I guess you are too blinded to see anything.
            ———– So you’d rather burn coal that actually kills MILLIONS in the world EACH YEAR already than make nukes safer that have killed few? And you saying you don’t want to burn coal either shows a lack of understanding the world. Being fanatic is never a good idea, moderation is far better.
            ——— Sorry but I’m going for saving millions of lives using safe nuke to cut coal use.
            ———-You are extremely selective on costs, facts of, on nukes which again shows your closed mind. My last post on this.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s a failed argument – coal or nuclear. Neither.

            If you’d like to better understand why nuclear is too expensive to consider then you could read this paper. And as you do, remind yourself that the cost has risen even more post Fukushima due to increased safety regulations. http://www.vermontlaw.edu/Documents/Cooper%20Report%20on%20Nuclear%20Economics%20FINAL%5B1%5D.pdf
            If the people who own most of the country’s reactors are telling you that nuclear is too expensive to build and the people who own the country’s reactors are struggling to stay in business with cheap gas and wind taking their profits how can you argue that nuclear is cheap? The experts, the people running nuclear reactors are telling you the exact opposite.

            Even old, paid off nuclear reactors are facing financial ruin. *Kewaunee is scheduled to close in two months because it is not making money. San Onofre and Crystal River are in trouble because it may cost too much to repair them. Oyster Creek is closing because it would cost too much to upgrade it.*

            If there was some new, innovative way to build cheap, safe reactors then why would the nuclear industry not be building them? There were open bids at Ontario, Canada, San Antonio and in Turkey in the last couple of years. Any company could have come forth and submitted a bid to build several new reactors. The only bids received were very expensive and refused.

            England has been looking for affordable nuclear. No one has come forth to build it. India has been looking for affordable nuclear. Again, no one says that they can build it. Large corporations don’t walk away from easy profits. If they could build nuclear and make a profit then it would be happening.

          • freedomev

            In the short term nuke or coal certainly is the point especially in china. Your selective data shows you are not being honest leaving out China, Korea, etc. Sad. We’ll never make progress if we can’t be honest. And your posts show where you are coming from on that.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, let’s be honest.

            China currently gets 1.8% of its electricity from nuclear. Following the Fukushima meltdown China put a halt to new reactor plans and recently downsized its nuclear goal. China no longer intends to build any nuclear reactors inland, only along the coast.

            China now intends to build total of 40 GWs of nuclear. That will produce 5.7% of its electricity.

            At the same time China increased its 2015 goal for solar connected to grid from 5 GWs to 21 GWs. China just removed all roadblocks for independent solar farms connecting to the grid.

            China is already installing wind generation faster than any other country and is starting to install offshore wind. They are also increasing their hydro construction.

            China has already announced that they are capping the amount of coal that can be burned per year beginning in 2015. That has meant that all new coal plant construction will cease.

            As China has built new, efficient coal plants they have closed approximately 9,000 older inefficient coal plants.

            There’s a dose of honesty for you.

          • freedomev

            ————Again you show how biased you are by not answering my points but selective data to try to back up your point just like Romney does.
            While China doesn’t have much nuke now they have many, 20?, being built and commissioned as we post . They slowdown after Japan is over in China and they are going full steam afain on nukes.
            ———–And they have many more planned once these are being finished as you know. Nice honesty.
            ———- China has to cap coal as it’s running out and why so much new hydro, RE and nuke are being brought online. Switching the subject is another sign you are losing the argument.
            ———–Care to say how much these nuke plants are costing? How many and much are Korean nukes costing? They are the same or copies of US plants most so shows what they can cost if US regulators, coal state congress people get out of the way. But that would require you to be honest, something you have shown little of as it would blow your price argument away. Deal wih it!!.
            ———– Again I actually make RE power and drive my EV’s every day. Do you?
            ———— What do you do other than lie about nukes? Why are you afraid of the truth?

          • Bob_Wallace

            You took a shot at me by claiming that ” Your selective data shows you are not being honest leaving out China, Korea, etc.”

            I gave you a boat load of information about China. China has decreased the amount of nuclear they intend to build. China is not “going full steam afain on nukes”. China has dialed back, they cut their goal by 20% while raising their solar goal over 400%.

            If you think China has plans to build more than a total of 40 GWs of nuclear bring your facts.

            I can’t tell you how much China is spending to build new reactors. Obviously we can’t build them as cheaply as China because we have to borrow money to finance our projects.

            Right now South Korea gets about 1/3rd of its power from nuclear and intends to extend that to around half. At the same time South Korea is getting serious about wind and solar so I wouldn’t put too much faith in them building more expensive nuclear when they can power their grid with less expensive renewables.

            If you pay attention to what is happening right now, all around the planet, you see countries make a lot of noise about building new reactors and then as they generate the real cost numbers, they back off.

            Wind and solar have surpassed nuclear in cost of production and I suspect decision makers are seeing cheap storage being available soon. By the time they could build a few reactors other countries will have moved to renewables and gained a competitive advantage.

            It seems that you have a strong love for nuclear energy that makes you blind to facts. Nuclear is priced off the table in the US and much of the rest of the world. Probably all of the world if one does honest accounting.

            China is not capping coal because they are running out of coal. China is dealing with their carbon emission levels. Cutting the cost of imported fossil fuels is playing a role in the decision.

            I do make my own electricity. I have for almost 25 years. I don’t drive an EV because there is not yet one that will work for me. I need ~150 mile range (or accessible Level 3 chargers) and 4wd.

          • freedomev

            Blah, blah, blah./ Selective facts again, get a life, bye For my points reread my posts.

          • Selective data? He’s answered most of your questions, provided you with data, and asked you to show data to back up your argument — nothing.

            I understand that everyone here wants to help us solve our biggest problem, and we each get tied to our own vision of the best solutions, but if we’re going to get into a deep discussion about the diff solutions here, let’s look at some actual facts. I think Bob provided very useful ones, and I don’t see any good counter-facts to those here…

          • freedomev

            Read my earlier posts for data.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Oh, and can we drop this crap about nuclear being safe?

            Nuclear is in no way safe. We have to build incredible systems to protect ourselves from what is happening inside those plants. Forged steel domes, concrete containment domes, emergency cooling systems, backup power generation, ….

            We have to protect nuclear plants with squads of armed guards and build them so that they can withstand a jet airliner crashing into them. We have to expend efforts to detect plans to attack nuclear plants.

            Nuclear plants produce millions of tons of highly dangerous waste. We spend billions of dollars finding ways of keeping that waste out of our bodies.

            Saying that nuclear is safe is like saying Russian roulette is safe. The safety BS comes to an abrupt halt as soon as you stop at a loaded chamber or melt one down.

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