Concentrating Solar Power Funding Opportunity Announcement
May 25, 2007
On May 24, 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Program released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for companies to develop storage solutions, manufacturing approaches, and new system concepts for large-scale concentrating solar power (CSP) plants. CSP technologies are one of the most attractive renewable energy options for large-scale power generation in the U.S. Southwest, which is home to 15 of the 20 fastest-growing metro areas in the country. The collaborative public-private partnerships established herein will work to reduce the nominal levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of CSP power plants from 13-17 ¢/kWh in 2007 to a target of 7-10¢/kWh by 2015 and 5-7¢/kWh by 2020. DOE estimates that satisfaction of these cost targets could lead to installation of 16,000 to 35,000 MW of new generating capacity by 2030. This would result in a savings of 36-80 million tons of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere each year relative to coal plants of similar capacity.
Description of Funding Opportunity Announcement
This FOA is divided into three main topic areas: (1) thermal storage; (2) trough component manufacturing; and (3) advanced CSP systems and/or components. The objective of the thermal storage topic area is to develop low cost, high temperature storage that enables trough technology to reach its 2020 cost goal. To achieve this goal, storage cost of less than $15/kWh thermal is desired with round trip efficiencies at or greater than 93%. The objectives of the trough component manufacturing topic area are to lower the cost of major components of a trough system and to establish manufacturing capability in the United States. The objective of advanced system/component development is to identify CSP concepts that can generate low cost power (under 7¢/kWh) with storage (12-17 hours) by 2020. Applicants can propose either an entire system or focus on a component of a CSP system. In either case the objective is to identify and develop new approaches that could dramatically lower the cost of CSP.
The FOA anticipates three phases of effort: concept feasibility, prototype development, and field validation with a “go/no-go” decision at the end of each phase. DOE is providing $5M toward the FOA in FY07 with an additional $5M planned for FY08. These funds will be sufficient to cover all of Phase 1, and will allow several successful projects to begin Phase 2 activities.
This FOA can be accessed at www.grants.gov. Click on “Find Grant Opportunities” and follow links to FOAs under the U.S. Department of Energy. This FOA identification number is DE-PS36-07GO97028. Once you locate a FOA Synopsis in Grants.gov, access the full announcement by clicking on the link under “Link to Full Announcement” in the Synopsis, which links to the DOE Industry Interactive Procurement System (IIPS) announcement. Since FOAs are competitive, DOE asks that all questions about the FOA be submitted through its IIPS system, so the questions and responses can be viewed publicly by all interested entities. To submit questions in IIPS, click on the “Submit Question" button in the FOA. Please enter your question and other required information. An electronic notification will be sent when your question is answered. Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov. Registration must be completed before applications can be submitted for grants; access www.grants.gov/GetStarted for registration instructions. Please note, the registration process in Grants.gov can take up to 14 days to complete, therefore, potential applicants are urged to register as soon as possible to ensure the process is complete prior to the close of the FOA.
Concentrating Solar Power Technology and Markets
Solar energy is the southwest’s most abundant renewable resource. Indeed, the DOE has conducted resource assessments to evaluate the generating potential of potential project sites and has found that Nevada, New Mexico, California, Arizona, Utah and Texas have enough combined potential project sites to provide up to 6800 MW of generating capacity – roughly equivalent to seven times the country’s current electricity generating capacity. CSP technology is the least expensive solar technology for providing large quantities of electrical power, and with sufficient storage, it can deliver baseload power. CSP power plants do not require any fuel, exhibit low variable operating costs, and can be quickly constructed from basic commodity materials such as concrete, glass, and steel.
Worldwide, CSP is currently being developed for utility-scale, central power generation markets in the U.S., Spain, North Africa, and Israel. Spain is the most active in CSP development as a result of a 2004 Royal Decree that offers a “feed-in tariff” for solar thermal electricity of 0.18 €/kWh for 25 years, and the first 200MW of CSP deployed in the country will receive an additional 0.03 €/kWh. Four tower and three trough plants, totaling 180MW are currently under construction/development, and three of the plants are slated to have between six and sixteen hours of thermal storage. With interest continuing to rise, and the national electric utilities planning on developing as many as one dozen 50MW trough plants, discussions are already underway to extend the extra 0.03 €/kWh premium to the first 500MW deployed in the country.
In the U.S., nine CSP power plants totaling 354 MW have been operating reliably in California for over 16 years, and CSP seems poised to grow significantly in the state. Each of the three major California utilities (Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric, and Pacific Gas and Electric) have signed power purchase agreements for a CSP project or have indicated an intent of doing so. In August 2005, Southern California Edison (SCE) signed a power purchase agreement for 500 MW of CSP dish-engine systems on a 4,500 acre site near Victorville, CA, with an option to expand the project to 850 MW. In September 2005, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) signed a power purchase agreement for a 300 MW dish-engine project in California’s Imperial Valley, with an option of expanding the project to 900 MW. In August 2006, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company initiated plans with Luz II, LLC, to purchase at least 500 MW of solar energy beginning in the spring of 2010.
The state of Nevada has put in place tax credits enabling construction of a 64 MW CSP project near Las Vegas which will be dedicated this summer. Nevada Power will purchase the power from the plant. A 1 MW CSP system, completed in 2006, is operating in Arizona for Arizona Public Service. In addition, several other utilities, under the leadership of Arizona Public Service, are investigating the potential of forming a consortium that would buy power from a 250 MW CSP plant built in Arizona.