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CSP making a comeback using molten salt

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by RubberToe, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. RubberToe

    RubberToe Supporting the greater good

    Jun 28, 2012
    El Lay
    Right now, the only concentrated solar power CSP plant in the U.S.that has molten salt storage is the Solar Reserve plant recently brought online in Tonopah Nevada:

    Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project - Wikipedia

    But a couple news stories are showing that Solar Reserve, and indeed Brightsource are both looking to make a big leap in this technology. Solar Reserve is proposing a plant in Nevada that is a much scaled up version of their just opened plant, but with 10 towers that would provide about 25% of all the power used in Nevada.

    SolarReserve announces the world’s largest solar plant will power one million US homes

    Here is what a grouping of those guys will look like:


    And another story shows that the Ivanpah developer (Brightsource) is going to be building a CSP plant in China, but instead of using direct steam without storage like Ivanpah, they will use molten salt too for a total of 135MW:

    BrightSource In Gigawatt-Scale Demo Of Dispatchable Solar In China

    If these CSP plants with molten salt can be built to provide cheap 24-hour levels of power, then you would think that the Southwest could being transitioning their coal plants to these for baseload power. You would still have the problem of being able to store residential solar if it continues to ramp as it is doing.

  2. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Distributed Energy Enthusiast

    Oct 20, 2012
    Philadelphia, PA
    In what way do we lack the ability to store residential solar?

    Solar Reserve is proposed by the giant military conglomerate UTC. They have a long track record of cost overruns that would make this project the perfect fit to serve the needs of Nevada's ratepayers. So Buffett single-handedly blocks residential solar in Nevada, now military contractors want to swoop in an install complex solar power stations to replace coal. No thanks.

    I've heard that there are hundreds of thousands of individuals lined up to pay for the replacement of all energy production in Nevada themselves. Why don't we just let them handle it at zero cost to anyone and they can pass the savings on to all ratepayers?
    • Like x 1
  3. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

    Feb 17, 2013
    United States
    CSP suffers the same fatal flaw as nuclear power. It's thermal generation => it's thermodynamically limited to ~40% efficiency => it needs massive cooling & expensive turbines. I seriously doubt there will be much merit to CSP if the cost of storage falls below ~$200/kWh... which is very likely to occur in the next 5 years.
    • Like x 1

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