UK must assess CSP’s potential
I am concerned that misconceptions are leading the UK to overlook a source of clean energy with great potential - concentrated solar power (CSP) (Watch your datacentre grow greener, 12 March).
CSP is the simple but effective technique of using mirrors to concentrate sunlight, and using this heat source to drive a conventional power station with steam and turbines. Heat can also be stored in melted salts to continue generation during the night.
This approach works best in hot deserts - which we lack in Europe. However, detailed studies by the German Aerospace Centre have shown that it is feasible and economic to send power to Europe from North Africa and the Middle East using high-voltage DC transmission lines. The German research suggests there would be an overall improvement in the resilience and security of energy supplies compared with today.
Malcolm Wicks, minister for Science and Innovation, said in a written reply to a question from Jon Trickett MP that the UK government has “not made any assessment” of using CSP to help the UK meet its long-term energy goals, concluding that the technology is “not a priority for further work”.
Wicks added that the economics of the situation “needs more work”, but these things have already been examined with great thoroughness and professionalism. The German report concludes that even including the cost of transmission infrastructure, CSP could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity for Europe.
Gerry Wolff, TREC-UK
Dr Gerry Wolff's claims are simply part of a misinformation campaign:
In reality, CSP is no substitute for nuclear energy!
Concentrating Solar Power (or CSP) is inefficient, expensive, and has environmental impacts.
According to the California Energy Commission ( http://www.energy.ca.gov/electricity/gross_system_power.html ), all of the utility-generated solar power in the state amounts to two-tenths of one percent of the state's electricity production. Because of the limited availability of sunlight, these systems have very low capacity factors and therefore cannot be relied upon for baseload power.
At 13 to 42 cents per kWhr, solar power is *the* most expensive way to generate electricity. What's more, due to its low capacity factors, solar capacity must be backed up with additional stand-by power generation, which adds to the overall cost of solar.
Solar requires a vast amount of land which must be dedicated to solar generation. In order for the salts to remain molten at night, CSP requires fossil fuels to be burned for heat. This renewable technology is a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions!
CSP technology, along with many other renewable power should continue to be supported in hopes that a breakthrough will someday allow them to be a significant source of energy generation. For the immediate future however, we cannot abandon the proven, effective, and efficient source of low-emission energy that nuclear power has to offer.
Posted by: Michael Stuart | 19 Apr 2007 20:06:12
Solar energy would not be affected by the supply and demand of fuel for it is free and it doesn't polute the atmosphere. It is natural and pure. It would provide us with better health.
Posted by: Atila - Solar Power Expert | 17 Dec 2007 10:49:01