Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) systems utilize solar thermal energy for the generation of electric power. This attribute makes it relatively easy to integrate CSP systems with fossil-fired power plants. The “solar-augment” of fossil power plants offers a lower cost and lower risk alternative to stand-alone solar plant construction. This study ranked the potential to add solar thermal energy to coal-fired and natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants found throughout 16 states in the southeast and southwest United States. Each generating unit was ranked in six categories to create an overall score ranging from Excellent to Not Considered. Separate analysis was performed for parabolic trough and power tower technologies due to the difference in the steam temperatures that each can generate. The study found a potential for over 11 GWe of parabolic trough and over 21 GWe of power tower capacity. Power towers offer more capacity and higher quality integration due to the greater steam temperatures that can be achieved. The best sites were in the sunny southwest, but all states had at least one site that ranked Good for augmentation. Geographic depiction of the results can be accessed via NREL’s Solar Power Prospector at http://maps.nrel.gov/.
- Advanced Energy Systems Division and Solar Energy Division
Solar-Augment Potential of U.S. Fossil-Fired Power Plants
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Turchi, CS, Langle, N, Bedilion, R, & Libby, C. "Solar-Augment Potential of U.S. Fossil-Fired Power Plants." Proceedings of the ASME 2011 5th International Conference on Energy Sustainability. ASME 2011 5th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Parts A, B, and C. Washington, DC, USA. August 7–10, 2011. pp. 641-651. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ES2011-54358
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