BrightSource Technology to be Deployed as Part of China’s 1.35 Gigawatt CSP Pilot Program
BrightSource Energy, Inc., a leading concentrating solar power technology (CSP) company recently announced its technology will be deployed under China’s 1.35 gigawatt (GW) CSP Commercial Demonstration Pilot Program. The Huanghe Qinghai Delingha Solar Thermal Power Generation Project (Delingha) was one of 20 projects chosen by China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) from 109 applications. The announcement follows the National Development and Reform Committee’s (NDRC) publication of the CSP pilot program feed-in-tariff (FIT) of 1.15 Yuan/kWh ($0.17/kWh) on September 1.
“China recognizes the integral role concentrated solar power with storage can play in reducing emissions while helping to ensure long-term grid reliability,” said David Ramm, CEO and Chairman for BrightSource Energy. “This pilot program is of unprecedented scale and will drive cost reductions throughout the CSP supply chain, increasing solar thermal’s competitiveness around the world.” The pilot program represents years of coordinated effort from China and the United States and comes one week after the U.S. and China ratified the Paris Climate Accord.
“Climate change has become a pillar of the U.S.-China bilateral relationship,” said U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus. “China’s solar thermal pilot program will serve as an enduring legacy of the partnership between two countries to advance technologies that help to achieve global clean energy and climate goals.” The Delingha project will be the first of the BrightSource-Shanghai Electric Group Co., Ltd (SEC) Joint Venture, and will feature BrightSource’s proven solar field technology with thermal energy storage to produce clean, reliable solar electricity on demand. The joint venture leverages both partners’ contributions to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services and technology for the project.
China’s Feed-in-Tariff Pilot Program Designed to Accelerate CSP Industry Development
CSP with thermal energy storage is a flexible resource that helps address the supply variability introduced by China’s rapidly expanding wind and photovoltaic production. The technology can play an important role in achieving clean energy and climate goals by providing power when it is needed most, improving grid reliability and reducing system integration costs. Recognizing the value of CSP, China adopted an increased goal for the deployment of 10 gigawatts of CSP with thermal energy storage by 2020 in its most recent 5 year plan. One of the goals of the pilot program is to evaluate different technologies; to accomplish this, projects are expected to be operational by the end of 2018. Only pilot CSP projects approved this year by the NEA are eligible to receive the NDRC tariff. In the future, the government will adjust its tariff policy as projects are deployed, performance is evaluated, and cost reductions are achieved.
The Huanghe Qinghai Delingha Solar Thermal Power Generation Project
In November 2014, BrightSource and SEC announced the companies formed a joint venture for building utility-scale CSP plants in China. “BrightSource leads the CSP industry with its advanced solar field technology. Our successful experience designing and operating CSP systems – including with thermal storage – complements our partner’s world-class EPC capabilities,” said Yvonne Huang, chairperson of BrightSource-Shanghai Electric Joint Venture and general manager of BrightSource China. “Together we are helping to address China’s critical environmental and grid challenges with flexible renewable energy.” Located in the Qinghai province in northwest China, the Huanghe Qinghai Delingha Solar Thermal Power Generation Project is planned for multiple towers with thermal energy storage. The first 135 MW tower with storage was selected under the pilot program and will be majority-owned by Huanghe Hydropower Development Co., Ltd. (Huanghe), a subsidiary of the China’s State Power Investment Corporation. The project will utilize dry cooling technology, which reduces water usage by more than 90 percent compared to conventional cooling methods.