The new organization is dedicated to educating U.S. regulators, utilities and grid operators about the benefits of concentrating solar power (CSP) and of thermal energy storage as a foundational resource for a reliable, low-carbon electricity mix and a driver of economic growth.
The Alliance’s mission is to promote the increased acceptance, adoption and implementation of concentrating solar power plants in the United States. The Alliance will also promote policies to encourage and advance CSP technology deployment.
CSP technologies use mirrors to concentrate the thermal energy of the sun to drive a conventional steam turbine. The first commercial CSP plants were built in California in the mid-1980′s and are operating today with a higher output than when they were new.
There are currently over 500 MW of CSP plants operating in the United States and more than 1,300 MW of CSP plants under construction nationally, with many gigawatts more under development. Worldwide, more than one GW of CSP is in operation. The International Energy Agency estimates that CSP projects now in development or under construction in more than a dozen countries (including China, India, Morocco, Spain and the United States) total 15 GW.
The formation of the CSP Alliance builds on the momentum following the creation of the World Solar Thermal Electricity Association (STELAWorld), a consortium of industry associations representing the solar thermal electricity industry in Europe, Australia and South Africa. While independent of STELAWorld, the CSP Alliance will work closely with these associations to further advance the solar thermal industry in the United States and abroad.
A recent study from the International Energy Agency shows that with sufficient investment and the right government policies, more than ten percent of the world’s electricity demand could be satisfied by CSP by 2050.