System Application Benefits and Impacts

Large-scale Grid Connected Power: The primary application for parabolic trough power plants is large-scale gri d connected power applications in the 30 to 300 MW range. Because the technology can be easily hybridized with fossil fuels, the plants can be designed to provide firm peaking to intermediate load power. The plants are typically a goo d match for applications in the U.S. southwest where the solar radiation resource correlates closely with peak electri c power demands in the region. The existing SEGS plants have been operated very successfully in this fashion to mee t SCE's summer on-peak time-of-use rate period. Figure 4 shows the on-peak performance of the SEGS III through SEGS VII plants that are operated by KJC Operating Company. The chart shows that all 5 plants have produce d greater than 100% of their rated capacity during the critical on-peak period between 1200 and 1800 PDT on weekdays during June through September. This demonstrates the continuous high availability these plants have been able t o achieve. Note that 1989 was the first year of operation for SEGS VI and SEGS VII.

110 108 106 104 102 100










Figure 4. On-peak capacity factors for five 30 MW SEGS plants during 1988 to 1996 [10].

Domestic Market: The primary domestic market opportunity for parabolic trough plants is in the Southwestern deserts where the best direct normal solar resources exist. These regions also have peak power demands that could benefi t from parabolic trough technologies. In particular, California, Arizona, and Nevada appear to offer some of the bes t opportunities for new parabolic trough plant development. However, other nearby states may provide excellen t opportunities as well. The current excess of electric generating capacity in this region and the availability of low cos t natural gas make future sustained deployment of parabolic trough technology in this region unlikely unless other factors come into play. However, with utility restructuring, and an increased focus on global warming and other environmental issues, many new opportunities such as renewable portfolio standards and the development of solar enterprise zone s may encourage the development of new trough plants. All of the existing Luz-developed SEGS projects wer e developed as independent power projects and were enabled through special tax incentives and power purchas e agreements such as the California SO-2 and SO-4 contracts.

International Markets: With the high demand for new power generation in many developing countries, the nex t deployment of parabolic troughs could be abroad. Many arid regions in developing countries are ideally suited fo r parabolic trough technologies. India, Egypt, Morocco, Mexico, Brazil, Crete (Greece), and Tibet (China) hav e expressed interest in trough technology power plants. Many of these countries are already planning installations o f combined cycle projects. For these countries, the trough ISCCS design may provide a cheap and low risk opportunity to begin develop ing parabolic trough power plants. In regions such as Brazil and Tibet that have good direct norma l solar resources and existing large hydroelectric and/or pumped storage generation resources, parabolic troug h technologies can round out their renewable power portfolio by providing additional generation during the dry season .

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