30-year CSP plants to add storage

SEGS I and II plants will include energy storage as part of a major overhaul.
SEGS I and II plants will include energy storage as part of a major overhaul. Photo credit: Cogentrix
SEGS I and II plants will include energy storage as part of a major overhaul.

SEGS I and II plants will include energy storage as part of a major overhaul. Photo credit: Cogentrix

Concentrated solar power (CSP) has been in the United States for the best part of three decades. And it looks like two of the great pioneers of this expanding industry have plenty of life in them yet.

The 14MW Solar Energy Generating System (SEGS) I and 30MW SEGS II parabolic trough installations in the Mojave Desert in California were built in 1985, and are looking forward to another 20 years of operation, according to RenewEconomy. What’s more, plant owner Cogentrix (part of the Carlyle Group) is looking to add energy storage as part of a major overhaul.

In fact, the original SEGS I plant had a form of energy storage when it first started operations: essentially, containers storing heat transfer fluid. Technology has moved on and now Cogentrix is looking to molten salt as a possible medium. The SEGS plants supply California’s citizens with electricity. But outside the grid, there are other market possibilities for CSP.

Mines require vast amounts of power, are often far from generation centres and many, such as those in mineral-rich South Africa, enjoy many hours of sunlight. As such, they could benefit from their very own CSP plant, particularly if it has integrated energy storage to ensure dispatchable energy, 24-7.

A recent, free report from CSP Today provides insight into how concentrated solar power can become the mining industry’s technology of choice in meeting energy demand.

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