CSP Science

Crescent Dunes, 'the other CSP tower', enters commisioning phase PDF Imprimer Envoyer
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Mercredi, 26 Février 2014 18:36

dunes.jpgIt's not been a good idea to release a story like this just at the same time the Ivanpah CSP plant was being dedicated by Energy Secretary Ernst Moniz, but, apart from this 'marketing failure', this story is really great news and another major milestone for the CSP industry.

 dunes.jpgAfter the hangover of Ivanpah's stories published all over the world medias, now it's time for 'the other' tower plant, Crescent Dunes, an impressive 110 MW plant working with molten salt as heating and storage fluid built in Tonopah, Nevada. This is the first time a plant with this technology of such a size is built in the world. So far, Gemasolar in Spain is the only molten salt tower, with 20 MW and 15 hours of energy storage.

The plant developed by SolarReserve has entered the commissioning phase, the "initial stage of bringing the project into operations and includes system-by-system verification and startup, as well as equipment calibration and testing", as SolarReserve says.

Commissioning activities underway at Crescent Dunes include energization of the utility interconnection system and other electrical systems, as well as the first stages of testing and calibration of the heliostat field. This heliostat field is comprised of more than 10,000 "billboard-sized" mirrors that track the sun and total more than 1 million square meters of glass. 

Full commissioning activities will also include startup of the demineralized water, air, steam, cooling and many other systems which are commonly found in traditional power plants. 

However, unlike traditional power plants, commissioning includes systems unique to Crescent Dunes such as a Heliostat Field Control System that will control and concentrate the sun's energy and also the Molten Salt System that will harness, store and transform the sun's energy into superheated steam, SolarReserve refers to this as "the most advanced solar power plant in the world". If you are concerned about water scarcity in dessert areas, the facility also includes a dry cooled condenser in a hybrid configuration to minimize water use to levels well below that of conventional power plants.

The result of the technology will allow this project to generate more than 500,000 megawatt-hours per year, enough to power 75,000 homes during peak electricity periods. And here comes the difference with PV or direct steam towers, this annual output is roughly more than twice that of those other technologies per MW of capacity.

Another key point for the storage technology is it eliminates the need for any backup fossil fuels, such as natural gas, which are often needed to keep the system going during times of no or low solar resource.

"Start of commissioning of the Crescent Dunes solar power plant marks a critical milestone for the project as well as the solar industry. We are now able to build utility-scale power plants, fueled only by the sun, which operate on-demand, day and night, just like traditional fossil fuel or nuclear power plants," said SolarReserve's CEO Kevin Smith. "SolarReserve's industry-leading solar thermal energy storage technology solves the intermittency issue that limits the use of other renewable energy projects and thus enables firm, reliable delivery of electricity whether or not the sun is shining or the wind is blowing."

The Crescent Dunes plant is the showcase for SolarReserve's game-changing energy storage technology—a realistic solar energy solution that operates day and night like coal, natural gas, oil, diesel and nuclear plants, but without the harmful emissions or hazardous wastes associated those traditional plants.  Additionally, Crescent Dunes includes the capability to dry cool the steam cycle, an environmentally friendly low water use feature that will saves millions of gallons of water each year. Once operational, the 110 MW Crescent Dunes plant will be the world's largest solar thermal plant with fully integrated energy storage.

SolarReserve is joined as investors in the project by Spanish ACS Cobra, a worldwide leader in the engineering and construction of power plants and thermal solar facilities, and the equity capital practice of Santander, a global financial services and banking leader. ACS Cobra's Nevada-based affiliate, Cobra Thermosolar Plants Inc., is constructing the facility as the general contractor while utilizing Nevada and regional subcontractors to perform the work.  The project also closed on $737 million in project debt along with a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the overall project financing that was completed in the fall of 2011.

Nevada's largest electric utility, NV Energy, will purchase 100 percent of the electricity generated, under a 25-year power purchase agreement. Full commercial operation is scheduled for later in 2014.



Mise à jour le Jeudi, 27 Février 2014 09:50


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