Thermal Energy Storage for Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is a rapidly growing segment in the global renewable power generation industry. The main differentiating advantage CSP has over other renewable energy sources like wind and PV is its ability to combine thermal energy storage (TES) in order to store large-scale quantities of thermal energy. TES systems enable CSP plants to discharge energy when needed, and thereby become flexible and dispatchable power generation units that can deliver reliable energy on demand.
Electrical Thermal Energy Storage (E-TES)
E-TES technology can be used to store energy from VRE at times of high production and low demand, and re-supply it at times of high demand and low supply. The electric round-trip efficiency of E-TES is primarily governed by the thermal efficiency of the heat engine (steam turbine, ORC turbine, etc.)
The Energy Storage Challenge
The formidable growth of fluctuating renewable energy has ushered in a new set of challenges for matching power generation to demand in real time. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are inherently intermittent. For example solar energy is unattainable after sunset and varies according to moving clouds and rain. Similarly, the output from wind turbines is zero at times with no wind and fluctuates according to the turbulent nature of wind gusts. The high targets of renewable energy to be integrated into the grid over the coming years is expected to cause problems with regards to meeting real time demand with supply and balancing a fluctuating electricity generation with load.