Less is more: Strategic scale site suitability for concentrated solar thermal power in Western Australia
2012 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, Vol. 47, 91-101 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Concentrated Solar Thermal Power (CSP) represents a technology with a great deal of promise for low-emissions electricity generation. Several recent studies have identified large swathes of the world's 'sunbelt' as technically suitable for the technology, but current estimates grossly overestimate site suitability for CSP. There is a need for more realistic suitability estimations in order to provide a more accurate basis for policy and investment decisions. This paper establishes a generally applicable GIS-based methodology to better enable identification of CSP-suitable sites at the continental scale. We test the methodology, identifying a large number of CSP suitable sites in Western Australia (WA). Our results indicate a 99.4% reduction from technically suitable areas to areas showing medium-to-very-high suitability in the current and near term in WA. The availability of infrastructure is critical to site suitability and the introduction of new major loads and infrastructure in currently under-developed regions is likely to open up further areas with medium to very high suitability. Despite the fact that current global/continental scale estimates of CSP potentials are likely overestimated by at least two orders of magnitude, truly CSP-suitable areas remain more than sufficient to motivate investment in utility-scale CSP and power potentials from this technology remain enormous.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 47, 91-101 p.
Concentrating solar thermal power, Site suitability, Low emissions electricity generation
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-80617DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.04.025ISI: 000306200100009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-80617DiVA: diva2:556508