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Concentrating Solar Power in China and India: A Spatial Analysis of Technical Potential and the Cost of Deployment

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  • Kevin Ummel

Abstract

Coal power generation in China and India is expected to double and triple, respectively, over the next 20 years, increasing exposure to fuel price volatility, exacerbating local air pollution, and hastening global climate change. Concentrating solar power (CSP) is a growing source of utility-scale, pollution-free electricity, but its potential in Asia remains largely unexamined. High-resolution spatial data are used to identify areas suitable for CSP and estimate power generation and cost under alternative land-use scenarios. Total technical potential exceeds current coal power output by a factor of 16 to 23 in China and 3 to 4 in India. A CSP expansion program and attendant transmission requirements are simulated with the goal of providing 20 percent of electricity in both countries by midcentury. Under conservative assumptions, the program is estimated to require subsidies of $340 billion in present dollars; coal-associated emissions of 96 GtCO2eq are averted at an average abatement cost of $30 per tCO2eq. Estimated costs are especially sensitive to the assumed rate of technological learning, emphasizing the importance of committed public policy and financing to reduce investment risk, encourage expansion of manufacturing capacity, and achieve long-term cost reductions. The results highlight the need for spatially explicit modeling of renewable power technologies and suggest that existing subsidies might be better used through integrated planning for large-scale solar and wind deployment that exploits spatiotemporal complementarities and shared infrastructure.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Ummel, 2010. "Concentrating Solar Power in China and India: A Spatial Analysis of Technical Potential and the Cost of Deployment," Working Papers 219, Center for Global Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:219
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    File URL: http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/1424287/
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Li, Yuqiang & Liao, Shengming & Rao, Zhenghua & Liu, Gang, 2014. "A dynamic assessment based feasibility study of concentrating solar power in China," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 34-42.
    3. van den Broek, Machteld & Berghout, Niels & Rubin, Edward S., 2015. "The potential of renewables versus natural gas with CO2 capture and storage for power generation under CO2 constraints," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 1296-1322.
    4. Malagueta, Diego & Szklo, Alexandre & Soria, Rafael & Dutra, Ricardo & Schaeffer, Roberto & Moreira Cesar Borba, Bruno Soares, 2014. "Potential and impacts of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) integration in the Brazilian electric power system," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 223-235.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    solar thermal power; greenhouse gas mitigation; abatement cost; electricity generation; technological;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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