China’s first CSP plant enters commercial operations; IEA predicts 4.3 GW new CSP by 2023

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The 50 MW Delingha CSP plant is the first of 20 CSP projects awarded in China's Commercial Demonstration Pilot Program. (Image credit: CGN)

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China's Delingha CSP plant enters commercial operations

China's 50 MW Delingha CSP plant, the country's first large-scale CSP project, started commercial operations on October 10, China Guangdong Nuclear Power (CGN), project developer, said in a statement.

The Delingha plant is located at 3,100 meters above sea level in Qinghai, north-western China. The site has a direct normal irradiance (DNI) level of more than 2,150 kWh/m2/year.

The plant uses parabolic trough and molten salt storage technology and was connected to the grid in June.

Germany's SBP performed the basic and detailed engineering of the solar field while IDOM performed the basic and detailed engineering of the storage system which offers around nine hours of storage capacity.

The project is expected to receive a feed-in-tariff of RMB 1.15/kWh ($170/MWh).

Delingha is one of 20 projects selected under China's 1.35 GW CSP Commercial Demonstration Pilot Program.

China is rapidly expanding domestic renewable energy capacity to reduce carbon emissions and pollution levels worsened by a surge in fossil fuel-fired capacity.

China is to implement in December the world's first design standards for tower CSP plants, China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC) said in a stock-market announcement in August.

The new technical standards will include the "latest design concepts, requirements and technical level" for solar tower plants and they will play an important “guiding role” in China's first batch of CSP plants, CEEC said.

Chinese groups are also expanding renewables operations and partnerships overseas.

In July, CSP developer ACWA Power announced China's Silk Road fund would acquire 24% of its 700 MW DEWA CSP plant in Dubai. In April, ACWA Power signed an EPC contract with Shanghai Electric, a major Chinese power company, to install the plant.

The dual-technology DEWA CSP project, awarded by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) in September 2017, sets a new industry record for size and cost-efficiency. The project was awarded at a tariff price of $73/MWh and includes up to 15 hours of energy storage capacity.

In June, Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power and major EPC group China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC) agreed to explore joint investment opportunities in power generation and water desalination in the Middle East and Asia.

Global CSP capacity forecast to rise by 4.3 GW by 2023: IEA

Global CSP capacity is forecast to grow by 87%, or 4.3 GW, in 2018-2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its Renewables 2018 report, published October 8. This represents 32% faster growth than in 2012-2017.

This baseline scenario includes 1.9 GW of new capacity in China, 1 GW of new projects in Morocco and South Africa, 1 GW in the Middle East and the remainder in Australia and Chile.

Under an accelerated growth scenario with faster development of announced projects, CSP installations could rise by a further 2.6 GW over the next five years, the IEA said.

The accelerated growth scenario includes 0.6 GW of further capacity in China, 0.6 GW in South Africa, 0.4 GW in Morocco, 0.3 GW in Chile, and 0.3 GW in United Arab Emirates (UAE), the agency said.

                                   Forecast global CSP installations

                                                           (Click image to enlarge)

Source: International Energy Agency (IEA), October 2018.

Spain and the U.S., the two countries with the most installed CSP capacity, are not forecast to install any new capacity in the next five years. 

By 2023, China is expected to overtake the U.S. to host the second largest installed CSP base, behind Spain, the IEA said.

"Recent auction results indicate significant cost‑reduction potential, but technology risk, restricted access to financing, long project lead-times, and market designs that do not value storage continue to challenge CSP deployment," it said.

Infrastructure fund develops CSP project in Indonesia

Infunde Development has invited expressions of interest for consultants to perform a grid impact study for a medium-sized CSP plant in Indonesia.

Infunde is co-developing the project with a local partner, the company announced October 11. No further project details were given.

Consultants have until November 16 to express their interest in the contract. The Request for Proposal (RfP) and Terms of Reference will be sent to shortlisted consultants after a review of their technical qualification and work experience.

Infunde develops infrastructure projects on behalf of InfraCo Asia Development, a Singapore-based infrastructure fund and member of the Private Infrastructure Development Group.

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