The concentrated solar power (CSP) industry is scaling rapidly and is expected to reach 25 GW by 2020, according to a recent study by Cambridge, Mass.-headquartered Emerging Energy Research (EER). This surge will be led by development in Spain and potential in the U.S.
The CSP industry currently has 1.2 GW under construction as of April 2009 and another 13.9 GW announced globally through 2014. Spain is the epicenter of CSP development, with 22 projects for 1,037 MW under construction, all of which are projected to come online by the end of 2010.
The current Spanish Royal Decree, which calls for 500 MW of solar CSP by 2010, has been largely responsible for the dramatic increase in CSP development activity in Spain since 2008. However, a review of Spain's feed-in-tariff scheme is under way, and its outcome will have a significant impact upon 6 GW of projects in the pipeline.
Despite only 75 MW of CSP under construction, the U.S. continues to offer significant opportunity for CSP, with 8.5 GW in the pipeline and scheduled for installation by 2014. Attracted to promised lower costs, U.S. utilities have turned to CSP – through both power purchase agreements and direct ownership – to meet their renewable portfolio standard mandates.
While parabolic trough represents more than 96% of all CSP projects currently under construction in Spain, the technology accounts for only 40% of the U.S. CSP pipeline, EER adds. Backed by sufficient government incentives, Spanish CSP developers have not been compelled to take on major technology risks.
Spain and the U.S. will continue to lead CSP project development activity for the next decade due to a combination of resource and policy support. The rest of southern Europe has yet to catch neighboring Spain's solar CSP fever, primarily due to a lack of government incentives. According to the EER's study, CSP activity is also gaining momentum in the Middle East, North Africa and the Asia Pacific regions.
Further information on the study is available at www.emerging-energy.com.
SOURCE: Emerging Energy Research