As technology advances, our favorite science-fiction and spy-thrillers become both laughably more unrealistic and eerily based on truth. Harnessing the power of the sun is no longer a figment of Ian Fleming’s imagination, but nor is it the latest evil-plot to destroy the world (for more details, watch “The Man with the Golden Gun”). Which brings me to concentrating solar power (CSP), a clean energy hybrid that uses concentrating solar and traditional steam turbines to turn sunlight into electricity.
This three step process — from solar radiation to steam to electricity — is more complicated than traditional PV systems (ironic that we call PV “traditional” now). But there is a significant advantage to CSP: heat can be stored during peak generation times (when there is plenty of PV power on the grid), and then when the sun goes down CSP generation can be ramped up as needed. As a result, many utilities prefer CSP systems because they operate in ways that are similar to conventional power plants.
When it comes to explaining CSP there is no better expert than Fred Morse, President of Morse Associates, Inc. Fred started work in solar under the Nixon administration, worked for the DOE for many years, and served as Senior Adviser of U.S. Operations at Abengoa Solar as he helped implement two of the largest solar plants in the world (Solana and Mojave Concentrating Power). Please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World as our guest Fred Morse explains the advantages and challenges of CSP.