Headline: The Need for Dispatchable RES: A Closer Look at the Future Role of CSP in Europe

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) offers flexible and decarbonised power generation and is one of the few switchable renewable technologies that can generate renewable power on demand. Today (2018), CSP only contributes 5 TWh to European electricity generation but has the potential to become an important generation asset for decarbonising the electricity sector within Europe as well as globally. This chapter examines how factors and key political decisions lead to different futures and the associated CSP use in Europe in the years up to 2050. In a second step, we characterise the scenarios with the associated system costs and the costs of the support policy. We show that the role of CSP in Europe depends crucially on political decisions and the success or failure of policies outside of renewable energies. In particular, the introduction of CSP depends on the general ambitions for decarbonisation, the level of cross-border trade in electricity from renewable sources and is made possible by the existence of a strong grid connection between the southern and northern European Member States and by future growth in electricity demand. The presence of other baseload technologies, particularly nuclear energy in France, diminishes the role and need for CSP. Assuming a favourable technological development, we find a strong role for CSP in Europe in all modelled scenarios: Contribution of 100 TWh to 300 TWh of electricity to a future European electricity system. The current European CSP fleet would have to be increased by a factor of 20 to 60 over the next 30 years. To achieve this, stable financial support for CSP would be required. Depending on framework conditions and assumptions, the amount of support ranges at the EU level from € 0.4 to 2 billion per year, which represents only a small proportion of the total support requirement for the energy system transformation. Cooperation between the Member States could further help reduce these costs.

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Schöniger, F., Resch, G., Kleinschmitt, C., Franke, K., Thonig, R., & Lilliestam, J. (2022). The Need for Dispatchable RES: A Closer Look at the Future Role of CSP in Europe. In T. S. Uyar, & N. Javani (Eds.), Renewable Energy Based Solutions: Lecture Notes in Energy (pp. 219-239). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

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