Scaling Up CSP: How Long Will It Take?

Lilliestam J, Liu F, Gilmanova A, Mehos M, Wang Z, Thonig R (2021)

Publication Status: In review

Publication Type: Journal article

Future Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2021


Original Authors: Johan Lilliestam, Fengli Du, Alina Gilmanova, Mark Mehos, Zhifeng Wang, Richard Thonig

Publisher: SocArXiv

DOI: 10.1063/5.0148709


Concentrating  solar  power  (CSP)  is  one  of  the  few scalable  technologies  capable  of  delivering  dispatchable renewable power and, as such, many expect it to shoulder a significant share of system balancing in a renewable electricity future power by cheap, intermittent PV and wind power: the IEA, for example, projects 73 GW CSP by 2030and several hundred GW by 2050 in its Net-Zero by 2050pathway.In this paper, we assesshow fast CSP can beexpected toscale up and how long time it would take to get new, high-efficiencyCSP technologies to market, based on observed trends and historical patterns. We findthat to meaningfully contribute to net-zero pathways the CSP sector needsto reachandexceedthe  maximum  historical  annual  growth  rateof  30%/year  last  seen  between  2010-2014  and  maintain  it  for  at  leasttwo decades. Any CSP deployment in the 2020s will rely mostly on mature existing technologies,namely parabolic trough and molten-salt towers, but likely with adapted business models such as hybrid CSP-PV stations, combining the advantages of higher-cost dispatchability  and  low-cost  intermittency.New  third-generationCSP designs  are unlikely  to  play  a  role  in markets during the 2020s, as they are still ator before the pilot stage and, judging from past pilot-to-market cycles for CSP, they willlikelynot be ready for market deployment before 2030. CSPcan contribute to low-cost zero-emission energy systemsby 2050, but to make that happen,at the scale foreseen in current energy models, ambitioustechnology-specificpolicy support is necessary,as soon as possibleand in several countries.

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Lilliestam, J., Liu, F., Gilmanova, A., Mehos, M., Wang, Z., & Thonig, R. (2021). Scaling Up CSP: How Long Will It Take? AIP Conference Proceedings.


Lilliestam, Johan, et al. "Scaling Up CSP: How Long Will It Take?" AIP Conference Proceedings (2021).

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