The benefits of CST in a more renewable energy supply

Concentrating solar thermal (CST) power stations are not just offering a source of renewable energy generation – they are actually making other renewable energy sources more viable according to a recent report.  NREL have released a report which shows that the benefits of CST increase when there is a higher proportion of other renewable energy in the electricity mix.  It has been shown that with a 33% renewable portfolio the value of CST would increase by 5c (USD) per kWh – this added value translates to CST lowering energy bills for periods when demand is high.  There are two features of CST that make this possible:

  • the storage of energy as heat (which is cheaper than storage of electrical energy);
  • the flexibility of the power generation (because the turbine would be able to start up when needed and shut down when all the demand for electricity can be met by more variable sources).

With wind turbines and PV producing energy for minimal operating costs but with uncertainty as to when it will be produced, CST can step in when needed to give certainty to an energy grid with these intermittent renewable energy sources.    For more information visit the NREL website to view the report “Estimating the Performance and Economic Value of Multiple Concentrating Solar Power Technologies in a Production Cost Model,”.