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Combining concentrating solar power (CSP) with thermal energy storage shows promise for increasing grid flexibility by providing firm system capacity with a high ramp rate and acceptable part-load operation.
The first is the limited coincidence between the solar resource and normal electricity demand patterns. Energy storage is one way to increase grid flexibility, and many storage options are available or under development. The dispatchability of CSP with TES can enable higher overall penetration of the grid by solar energy by providing solar-generated electricity during periods of cloudy weather or at night, when PV-generated power is unavailable. The benefits and challenges of high PV penetration (feeding high percentages of solar generation to the grid) have been described in a number of analyses. Several additional challenges for the economic deployment of solar PV occur as penetration increases. Several factors limit the ability of conventional generators to reduce output to accommodate the variability of renewable generation. One measure of a flexible grid is the ability of the aggregated set of generators to rapidly change output at a high rate and over a large range. As part of our assessment, we used a reduced form dispatch model designed to examine the general relationship between grid flexibility, variable solar and wind generation, and curtailment. Figure 5 illustrates the importance of dispatchability at high solar penetration over a four-day period. Figure 6 also demonstrates the importance of dispatchability to reduce curtailment and increase the overall penetration of solar via the ability to shift solar energy over time. CSP plants with TES add system flexibility because of their fast ramp rate and large operating range relative to large baseload generators. Implementing a flexible grid, as described above, with solar thermal and PV plants requires CSP plants that are more flexible in operation than conventional fossil-fueled plants. CSP flexibility is defined as the fraction of the CSP-rated capacity that is assumed to reduce the system’s potential generation constraint.
This very simplistic assumption illustrates how the dispatchability of a CSP plant could allow for a lower minimum generation limit and allow for greater use of wind and PV. The relationship between the reduction in minimum generation constraint and potential increase in PV penetration is illustrated in Figure 9, which shows how much more PV could be incorporated at a constant marginal curtailment rate of 20% when CSP is added. This analysis is a preliminary assessment of the potential benefits of CSP in providing grid flexibility using reduced form simulations with limited geographical scope and many simplifying assumptions.
Future and ongoing studies at NREL and elsewhere will evaluate the benefits of TES in more detail.
POWERnews is a weekly e-newsletter that keeps you informed about the latest developments in the electric power industry. Increasing local control of cancer remains a key challenge for improving patient outcome, with radiotherapy limited by the need to balance therapeutic and adverse effects. With this aim, French nanomedicine company Nanobiotix is developing a range of nanoparticles based on hafnium oxide, a non-toxic, inert material that can be activated using any standard radiotherapy source.
Preclinical studies have demonstrated that intra-tumoural injection of NBTXR3 with subsequent activation via standard radiation therapy resulted in complete tumour regression and survival benefit in mice bearing human cancer models. The Phase I study, being conducted at Institut Gustave Roussy in Paris, will include 27 patients diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. Active athletes, bodybuilders and fitness freaks adore a lean muscular physique for which they commit to rigorous diets and intense training programs that tax their physical as well as mental strength. Body Pro Supplements is a 100% Australian owned & operated nutritional supplements store.
Circuit Delays Clean Power Plan Case Hearing by Months, Opts for En Banc Review Fuel Cells Could Be a "Game-Changer" for Carbon Capture EIA International Outlook to 2040 Foresees Decoupling of Power Demand and Economic Growth GasRecent ArticlesEIA: Clean Power Plan Will Wallop Coal Power Generation Fuel Cells Could Be a "Game-Changer" for Carbon Capture Condition-Based Maintenance Bolsters the Bottom Line in Power Generation SPONSORED EIA International Outlook to 2040 Foresees Decoupling of Power Demand and Economic Growth GE Power Picks Up Doosan’s HRSG Business Unit Southern Co. When backed by energy storage capability, CSP can supplement photovoltaics by adding generation from solar resources during periods of low solar insolation. The second is the limited flexibility of conventional generators to accommodate this highly variable generation resource.
In this article, however, we consider a technology already beginning to be used at scale—thermal energy storage (TES) deployed with concentrating solar power (CSP). A key difference is the ability of CSP to utilize high-efficiency TES, which turns CSP into a partially dispatchable resource. Such systems also have the potential to improve grid flexibility, thereby enabling greater penetration of PV energy (and other variable generation sources such as wind) than if PV were deployed without CSP.
At low penetration, PV could displace the highest cost generation sources and may also provide reliable capacity to the system. This can be observed in Figure 3, where the peak net load (normal load minus PV) stays the same between the 6% and 10% penetration curves. These are illustrated in Figure 4, which shows the results of the same simulation, except on a spring day.
One is the rate at which generators can change output, particularly in the evening, when they must increase output rapidly in a high-PV scenario. This represents the ability of power plants to reduce output, which is typically limited on large coal and nuclear units.
As the amount of PV on the system increases, the need for operating reserves also increases due to the uncertainty of the solar resource, as well as its variability over multiple time scales.

Because of these factors, at high penetration of solar energy, increasing amounts of solar generation may need to be curtailed.
Larger grids are typically more flexible because they share a larger mix of generators and can share operating reserves and a potentially more spatially diverse set of renewable resources. Accurate forecasting of the wind and solar generation units reduces the need for operating reserves. Some grids allow more rapid exchange of energy and can more efficiently balance supply from variable generators and demand. Some locations have access to demand response, which can provide an alternative to partially loaded thermal generators for provision of operating reserves. Because TES can only store energy from thermal generators such as CSP, it cannot be directly compared with other electricity storage options, which can charge from any source.
However, the analysis to this point assumes that CSP and PV are complementary only in their ability to serve different parts of the demand pattern.
In the near term, this means that fewer conventional generators will be needed to operate at part load during periods of high solar output. Because it is not possible to determine the exact mix of generators that would be replaced in high renewables scenarios, we consider a range of possible changes in the minimum generation constraints resulting from CSP deployment.
For example, deployment of a CSP plant with TES that can operate over 75% of its capacity range could replace a baseload plant that normally operates over 50% of its range. As a result, as CSP is added, the grid can actually accommodate more PV than in a system without CSP. CSP still provides 10% of the system’s annual energy, but now we assume that the use of CSP allows for a decreased minimum generation point, and the decrease is equal to 25% of the installed CSP capacity. In this scenario, the x-axis represents the fraction of annual system energy provided by CSP. Gaining a more thorough understanding of how CSP can enable greater PV and wind penetration will require detailed production simulations using security-constrained unit commitment and economic dispatch models currently used by utilities and system operators. To perform these simulations, production cost models will need to include the ability of CSP to optimally dispatch the solar energy resource. High-density nanoparticles are under investigation as a means to enhance the local efficacy of radiotherapy without increasing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
The company has now received formal authorization from the French Medicine Agency to start the first clinical trial of its lead compound, NBTXR3.
The 50 nm particles comprise densely packed hafnium oxide crystals surrounded by a thin amorphous coating tailored to enable intra-tumoural injection.
Upon exposure to ionizing radiation during radiotherapy procedures, X-ray energy is highly absorbed by the particles, inducing electron ejection and generating free radicals.
Participants will receive NBTXR3 via a single intra-tumoural injection, followed by standard radiotherapy. In addition, the primary tumour tissue will be evaluated to determine the pathological response and response rate. Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy features an optimal ratio of easily absorbable free-form amino acids including the potent muscle building branched chain amino acids, arginine for intense vascular pump (with natural energizers), beta alanine as well as N.O. The solar resource itself is virtually unlimited; however, the actual contribution of PV electricity is limited by several factors related to the current grid.
At high penetration of solar generation, increased grid flexibility will be needed to fully utilize the variable and uncertain output from PV generation and to shift energy production to periods of high demand or reduced solar output. The role of these two technologies is dependent on their costs and relative value, including how their value to the grid changes as a function of what percentage of total generation they contribute to the grid, and how they may actually work together to increase overall usefulness of the solar resource. The addition of TES produces additional value by shifting the delivery of solar energy to periods of peak demand, providing firm capacity and ancillary services, and reducing integration challenges. Crews are shown installing mirrored parabolic troughs at the Solana Generating Station in Arizona.
Figure 3 shows a simulated system dispatch for a single summer day in California with PV penetration levels from 0% to 10% (on an annual basis).
This chart, showing a simulated dispatch in California for a summer day with PV penetration from 0% to 10%, illustrates how PV has the ability to reduce the need for peaking capacity due to its coincidence with demand patterns. During this day, the lower demand could result in PV displacing lower-cost base-load energy, should CAISO dispatch PV first. Accommodating all of the solar generation, as shown in Figure 4, requires nuclear generators to vary their output, which is not current practice in the U.S. Simulated dispatch in California for a spring day is shown with PV penetration from 0% to 10%. Generator constraints would likely prevent the use of all PV generation potentially available in Figure 4’s 10% scenario. However, TES provides some potential advantages for bulk energy storage, including round trip efficiency in excess of 95%. Simulated system dispatch is shown from April 7 to 10 with 15% contribution from PV and 10% from dispatchable CSP.
We have not yet considered the additional benefits of CSP to provide system flexibility by replacing baseload generators and generators online to provide operating reserves. This chart depicts the curtailment of solar, assuming an equal mix (on an energy basis) of PV and CSP. Few of these plants are deployed, so it is not possible to determine their performance with absolute certainty.

In this scenario, each unit of CSP could reduce the minimum generation constraint by 25% of the plant’s capacity.
In this case about 21 GW of CSP reduces the minimum generation point from about 18 GW to 13 GW. Simulated system dispatch from April 10 to 13 is shown with 25% contribution from PV and 10% from dispatchable CSP, where CSP reduces the minimum generation constraint. The curtailment of solar is shown, assuming an equal mix (on an energy basis) of PV and CSP. Increased penetration of CSP results in a linear decrease in minimum generation constraints.
These simulations will consider the operation of the entire power plant fleet, including individual generator characteristics and constraints, and the operation of the transmission system. Other NanoXray products are under development with coatings adapted for intravenous and topical application.
These free radicals damage the tumour cells' DNA and lead to cell death, but without impacting surrounding normal tissue. After completion of the treatment procedure, patients will undergo surgery to resect the tumour.
Preliminary data are expected by the end of 2012, and the estimated study completion date is May 2014. Given the dispatchability of CSP enabled by TES, it is possible that PV and CSP are at least partially complementary (Figures 1 and 2). Those liquid salt fluids remain very hot for several hours, so the energy stored in them can be recovered to produce steam that can be expanded in the steam turbine on demand to produce electricity later in the day. This figure is from a previous analysis that used a production cost model simulating the western U.S.
At 10% PV penetration in this simulation, PV completely eliminates net imports, and California could export energy to neighboring states, if the cost of the exported power were attractive. During this day, the lower demand results in PV displacing lower-cost baseload generation, if PV is dispatched first. Without storage, the result would be significant CSP curtailment because the sum of CSP and PV generation exceeds the grid energy requirement at that time. This demonstrates how the addition of CSP and TES can increase the overall penetration of solar by moving energy from periods of low net demand in the middle of the day to morning or evening. However, historical performance of the SEGS VI power plant located in Kramer Junction, Calif., and small gas-fired steam plants provides some indication of CSP flexibility. By shifting energy over time and increasing grid flexibility, CSP enables greater overall solar penetration and, in particular, greater penetration of PV. The chart illustrates the potential overall effect of grid flexibility introduced by CSP and the corresponding opportunities for increased use of PV. CSP flexibility is defined as the fraction of the CSP rated capacity that is assumed to reduce the system’s minimum generation constraint. These simulations will provide a better estimate of the benefits of grid flexibility enables by CSP deploying TES. CSP technology uses mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect the sun’s heat. This particular scenario illustrates how PV reduces the need for peaking capacity due to its coincidence with demand patterns. Most large thermal power plants cannot be shut down for short periods of time (a few hours or less), although brief shutdowns would be required to accommodate all the energy generated during the period of peak solar output. Furthermore, PV generation could be offsetting other low- or zero-carbon sources such as wind and geothermal generation.
The orange line is the actual dispatched CSP but with the effect of TES included, showing its response to the net demand pattern after wind and PV generation are considered. These plants operate at well over a 50% capacity range with only about a 5% increase in heat rate at 50% load. In one scenario, each unit of CSP reduces the minimum generation constraint by 20% of its capacity; in the other, the CSP flexibility is assumed to be 40%. Additionally, many plant operators have limited experience with cycling large coal plants, and extensive cycling could significantly increase the cost of maintenance.
It shows how a large fraction of CSP energy is sent to energy storage to be shifted toward the end of the day, thus allowing the system to absorb more of the PV generation in the middle of the day. The blue line at the bottom of the chart is the non-dispatched CSP without thermal storage, which aligns well with PV generation.
This provides a strong indication that CSP plants should be able to provide high flexibility.
These amounts are not meant to be definitive but represent a possible impact of CSP in reducing minimum generation constraints.

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