Monday, May 17, 2010

IEA: Solar to account for 25% of World Electricity by 2050

Solar electricity could represent up to 20% to 25% of global electricity production by 2050. This important finding emerges from two new analyses by the International Energy Agency (IEA): the solar Photovoltaic (PV) and Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) roadmaps, launched today in Valencia/Spain, during the Mediterranean Solar Plan Conference hosted by the Spanish presidency of the EU. "It is particularly appropriate to present the two solar roadmaps in Valencia today, given that Spain has taken a leading role globally in promoting solar power and other forms of renewable energy," said Mr. Tanaka. "The combination of solar photovoltaics and concentrating solar power offers considerable prospects for enhancing energy security while reducing energy-related CO2 emissions by almost six billion tonnes per year by 2050." The roadmaps detail the technology milestones that would make this possible, highlighting that the two technologies will deploy in different yet complementary ways: PV mostly for on-grid distributed generation in many regions and CSP largely providing dispatchable electricity at utility scale from regions with brightest sun and clearest skies. PV also helps provide energy access off grid in rural areas. Together, PV and CSP could generate 9 000 Terawatt hours of power in 2050.

"This decade is crucial for effective policies to enable the development of solar electricity," Mr. Tanaka said. "Long-term oriented, predictable solar-specific incentives are needed to sustain early deployment and bring both technologies to competitiveness in the most suitable locations and times." These incentives will need to evolve over time to foster innovation and technology improvements. To support cost reductions and longer-term breakthroughs, governments also need to ensure long-term funding for additional research, development and demonstration efforts.

With effective policies in place, PV on residential and commercial buildings will achieve grid parity – i.e. with electricity grid retail prices – by 2020 in many regions. PV will become competitive at utility-scale in the sunniest regions by 2030 and provide 5% of global electricity. As PV matures into a mainstream technology, grid integration and management and energy storage become key issues. The PV industry, grid operators and utilities will need to develop new technologies and strategies to integrate large amounts of PV into flexible, efficient and smart grids. By 2050, PV could provide more than 11% of global electricity.

The IEA expects CSP to become competitive for peak and mid-peak loads by 2020 in the sunniest places if appropriate policies are adopted. Its further expansion will depend on the development of dedicated transport lines that will bring CSP electricity to a greater number of large consumption centres. Some of them will have to be developed within large countries such as China, India and the USA. Others will cross border, and many will be needed to link the southern and northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Thanks to thermal storage, CSP can produce electricity around the clock and will become competitive with base load power by 2025 to 2030. North America will be the largest producer of CSP electricity, followed by North Africa and India. North Africa would most likely export about half its production to Europe, the second largest consumer. The overall contribution of CSP could – like that of PV - represent 11% or more of the global electricity demand by 2050.

Mr. Tanaka concluded in noting that "solar PV and CSP appear to be complementary more than competing. The firm capacity and flexibility of CSP plants will help grid operators integrate larger amounts of variable renewable electricity such as solar PV and wind power. PV will expand under a broader range of climate conditions and bring clean renewable electricity directly to end-users."


Richard Mercer said...

We have a ways to go in the U.S.

"China building ambitious 'Solar Valley City' to advance solar industry According to reports, around 800,000 people in Dezhou are employed in the solar industry, or one in three people of working age."

Solar thermal and heat storage advantages

"Profit Maximization
Energy storage allows the plant operator to maximize profits. During periods of low hourly power prices, the operator can forgo generation and dump heat into storage; and at times of high prices, the plant can run at full capacity even
without sun."

"Peak Shaving
Solar generating capacity with heat storage can make other capacity in the market unnecessary. With heat storage the solar plant is able to 'shave' the
peak load."

"Reducing Intermittence
The ability of thermal solar plants to use heat energy storage to keep electric output constant: (1) reduces the cost associated with uncertainty surrounding
power production; and (2) relieves concerns regarding electrical interconnection fees, regulation service charges, and transmission tariffs."

"Increasing Plant Utilization
Solar plants equipped with heat storage have the ability to increase overall annual generation levels by “spreading out” solar radiation to better match plant capacity."

"Even though some solar generating technologies could benefit from research and development, it was made clear that solar resources are abundant; are located where they are needed; that efficiencies from concentrating solar power (CSP) are good enough to justify
deployment; and cost projections are very promising. All that solar power required, in the opinion of the experts, is an incubation period, where incentives are put in place that allow the transition of this emerging generating technology into the mainstream. It is our view that providing such an incubation period is not a leap of faith, but a proven recipe of success, as the emergence of wind generating technology in Europe has shown."

Rich Hessler Solar Financing said...

Solar electricity growing to 25% of global electricity output - this is amazing and entirely possible! Individuals around the globe are jumping into solar in order to take advantage of the fact that solar will grow from less than 1% to more than 20% over the next few decades.