Three companies have come together to form an organisation to promote the acceptance, adoption, and implementation of concentrating solar power (CSP) in the USA. The new industry peak body is known as the Concentrating Solar Power Alliance (CSPA), and is composed of the CSP project development firms Abergoa, Brightsource Energy, and Torresol Energy.
The formation of CSPA is a sign of the optimism surrounding the technology and its future. The news comes just months after the US federal government’s announcement of delineated ‘solar zones‘ to streamline the approval process for the siting of large-scale solar plants in desert regions.
CSPA expects a dramatic rise in installed CSP capacity through the year 2012 and into the future. The US had 2 gigawatts of CSP installed at the end of 2011, and 2.5 to 3.5 additional gigawatts’ worth of projects are in the pipeline for the year 2012. The US currently has the largest volume of CSP capacity in the world, as well as the world’s largest projects under construction.
Concentrating solar power is considered to be an as-of-yet largely untapped renewable power source with strong potential to shape the electricity future of the globe. Renewable energy proponents such as not-for-profit groups 100% Renewable Energy and Beyond Zero Emissions, and UNSW academic Mark Diesendorf argue that CSP plants and solar photovoltaic systems (both large and small) could–with a bit of imagination and inspiration–transform the world’s approach to producing, transmitting, and consuming electricity. Additionally, solar power in both forms is seen as offering a number of key benefits to the electrical grid, including reduced peak demand and, given a high enough penetration onto the grid, lower electricity prices.
A 250 megawatt CSP plant is slated to be built in Chinchilla, Queensland under the Australia’s Solar Flagships program.
© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
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