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Making concentrated solar power competitive with coal: The costs of a European feed-in tariff

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  • Williges, Keith
  • Lilliestam, Johan
  • Patt, Anthony
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    Abstract

    The European Union has yet to determine how exactly to reach its greenhouse gas emissions targets for the future. One potential answer involves large-scale development of concentrated solar power (CSP) in the North African region, transmitting the power to Europe. CSP is a relatively young and little utilized technology and is expensive when compared to other methods of generation. Feasibility studies have shown it is possible to generate enough power from CSP plants in Africa to spearhead the EUs climate goals. However, the costs of such a project are less well known. Currently, CSP must compete with low cost coal-fired electricity plants, severely hindering development. We examine the possible investment costs required for North African CSP levelized electricity cost to equal those of coal-fired plants and the potential subsidy costs needed to encourage growth until the technologies reach price parity. We also examine the sensitivity of investment and subsidies to changes in key factors. We find that estimates of subsidy amounts are reasonable for the EU and that sensitivity to such factors as perceived risk and learning rates would enable policy-makers to positively influence the cost of subsidies and time required for CSP to be competitive with coal.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 6 (June)
    Pages: 3089-3097

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:6:p:3089-3097

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

    Related research

    Keywords: Concentrated solar power Induced technological learning Supergrid;

    References

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    1. Junginger, M. & Faaij, A. & Turkenburg, W. C., 2005. "Global experience curves for wind farms," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 133-150, January.
    2. McDonald, Alan & Schrattenholzer, Leo, 2001. "Learning rates for energy technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 255-261, March.
    3. Kevin Ummel & David Wheeler, 2008. "Desert Power: The Economics of Solar Thermal Electricity for Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East," Working Papers 156, Center for Global Development.
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    Cited by:
    1. Kost, Christoph & Pfluger, Benjamin & Eichhammer, Wolfgang & Ragwitz, Mario, 2011. "Fruitful symbiosis: Why an export bundled with wind energy is the most feasible option for North African concentrated solar power," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(11), pages 7136-7145.
    2. Massetti, Emanuele & Ricci, Elena Claire, 2013. "An assessment of the optimal timing and size of investments in concentrated solar power," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 186-203.
    3. Yatchew, Adonis & Baziliauskas, Andy, 2011. "Ontario feed-in-tariff programs," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 3885-3893, July.
    4. Lilliestam, Johan & Ellenbeck, Saskia, 2011. "Energy security and renewable electricity trade--Will Desertec make Europe vulnerable to the "energy weapon"?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3380-3391, June.
    5. Fan, Lin & Norman, Catherine S. & Patt, Anthony G., 2012. "Electricity capacity investment under risk aversion: A case study of coal, gas, and concentrated solar power," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 54-61.
    6. Kevin Ummel, 2010. "Concentrating Solar Power in China and India: A Spatial Analysis of Technical Potential and the Cost of Deployment," Working Papers id:2807, eSocialSciences.
    7. Braun, Frauke G. & Hooper, Elizabeth & Wand, Robert & Zloczysti, Petra, 2011. "Holding a candle to innovation in concentrating solar power technologies: A study drawing on patent data," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 2441-2456, May.
    8. Damerau, Kerstin & Williges, Keith & Patt, Anthony G. & Gauché, Paul, 2011. "Costs of reducing water use of concentrating solar power to sustainable levels: Scenarios for North Africa," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 4391-4398, July.

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