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Journal of Energy and Power Engineering | 28.02.13

Concentrating Solar Power in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: Achieving Its Potential


CSP (concentrating solar power) is a commercially available renewable energy technology capable of harnessing the immense solar resource in southern Europe, the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa), and elsewhere. This paper summarises the findings of a study by the European Academies Science Advisory Council which has examined the current status and development challenges of CSP, and consequently has evaluated the potential contribution of CSP in Europe and the MENA region to 2050. It identifies the actions that will be required by scientists, engineers, policy makers, politicians, business and investors alike, to enable this vast solar resource to make a major contribution to establishing a sustainable energy system. The study concludes that cost reductions of 50%-60% in CSP electricity may reasonably be expected in the next 10-15 years, enabling the technology to be cost competitive with fossil-fired power generation at some point between 2020 and 2030. Incorporation of storage delivers added value in enabling CSP to deliver dispatchable power. Incentive schemes will be needed in Europe and MENA countries to enable this point to be achieved. Such schemes should reflect the true value of electricity to the grid, effectively drive research and development, and ensure transparency of performance and cost data.

1 Robert Pitz-Paal, 2 Amr Amin, 3 Marc Bettzüge, 4 Philip Eames, 5 Fabrizio Fabrizi, 6 Gilles Flamant, 7 Fransisco Garcia Novo, 8 John Holmes, 9 Avi Kribus, 10 Harry van der Laan, 11 Cayetano Lopez, 12 Panos Papagiannakopoulos, 13 Erik Pihl, 14 Paul Smith and 15 Hermann-Josef Wagner

1. German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Solar Research, Koln 51147, Germany

2. Faculty of Engineering, Helwan University, Giza 12211, Egypt

3. Institute of Energy Economics (EWI), University of Cologne, Cologne D-50923, Germany

4. School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK

5. Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), Solar Thermodynamic

Laboratory, Rome 00123, Italy

6. Procedes, Materiaux et Energie Solaire (PROMES), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Font Romeu Odeillo

66120, France

7. Faculty of Biology, University of Seville, Seville 41004, Spain

8. European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), Leopoldina, Halle 06019, Germany

9. Faculty of Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel

10. Universities of Leiden and Utrecht, TC Utrecht 3508, Netherlands

11. Centro de Investigaciones Energeticas, Medioambientales y Tecnologicas (CIEMAT), Madrid 40-28040, Spain

12. Department of Chemistry, University of Crete, Heraklion 710 03, Crete, Greece

13. Department of Energy and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Goteborg SE-412 96, Sweden

14. Electricity Research Centre, Engineering & Materials Science Centre, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland

15. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, Bochum 44780, Germany