Originally published on CleanTechies.
China’s Shenhua Group has made a major announcement with regard to the development of solar thermal energy projects in China.
Shenhua Group will work with US-based SolarReserve to set up 1 GW of solar thermal energy plus storage projects. The agreement is aimed at supplying the grid with a 100% renewable energy baseload.
Storage solutions for renewable energy projects in China are critical, as the capacity is being added at a much faster pace compared to the growth in transmission capacity infrastructure. Every year, China comes out with a report stating that a substantial amount of electricity generated from wind energy projects was wasted due to absence of transmission infrastructure. Most of these projects are in remote areas with significantly high wind energy resources.
Solar power capacity, which is being added at a record rate every year in China, may face a similar problem. While storage solutions for solar photovoltaic power and wind energy projects on a large-scale remains untested and very costly, that is not the case in case of solar thermal energy projects.
If China is to achieve its very ambitious renewable energy capacity targets, it must work on multiple fronts of distributed renewable energy projects, expansion of transmission grids, and energy storage solutions.
Energy storage through oils and salts is common among solar thermal projects around the world, with the most recent example being in South Africa where projects are supplying electricity throughout both the day and the night.
Reprinted with permission.