In the past two years, the global photothermal power generation industry has achieved remarkable development, especially since June this year, the global photothermal power generation bidding price has fallen by nearly 50% on the premise of meeting certain boundary conditions. At the same time, the official launch of China's photothermal power generation market and the active participation of relevant enterprises in the industrial chain in overseas projects have also injected new vitality into the global photothermal power generation industry and brought new hope for a further drop in global photothermal power generation costs in the future.
Then, why does photothermal power generation, which currently has a relatively high investment threshold and power generation cost compared with other renewable energy sources, have such a rapid development momentum? What is the future development prospect? In response to the above-mentioned problems, Dr. LuisCrespo, who is also the president of the European Association for Solar Energy and Thermal Power (ESTELA) and the president of the Spanish Association for Solar Energy and Thermal Power (Protermosolar), recently expressed his views through overseas media.
LuisCrespo said that renewable energy power generation can actually be divided into two categories: one is represented by photovoltaic power generation, which has low power generation cost but cannot realize peak shaving; The other is represented by photo-thermal power generation, which is relatively expensive but can realize effective peak regulation. However, it is possible to realize zero emission of carbon dioxide only when power generation technologies such as photo-thermal power generation, which can realize peak regulation, are developed to a certain scale.
In recent years, photothermal power generation technology has developed rapidly worldwide. LuisCrespo believes that this phenomenon is mainly due to the following advantages of photothermal power generation technology:
1. Photothermal power generation technology is the only renewable energy power generation technology that can realize friendly grid connection and effective peak regulation at the same time. It is fully capable of meeting global power demand and effectively reducing carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, the photothermal power generation technology can be mixed with other renewable energy power generation technologies to generate power, and the power generation effect is ideal.
2. Localization of optical and thermal power station equipment can promote the local GDP growth of the project, which will become one of the main driving forces for countries to issue supporting policies.
3. Compared with combined cycle technology or technology requiring "secondary investment", photothermal power generation technology has cost advantages and can meet the increasing power demand of countries in emerging markets. In addition, when the installed capacity of photothermal power generation increases from the current 5GW to be able to compete with wind power (500GW) or photovoltaic (400GW), the cost advantage will be more obvious.
LuisCrespo believes that with the increasing proportion of photovoltaic power generation in renewable energy power generation systems, its marginalcapacityvalue will slowly disappear, while its marginal operation and production values will also drop significantly.
Moreover, the LCOE (leveling power cost) of the photothermal power generation system with 6-hour heat storage time is far lower than that of the photovoltaic power generation system with the same installed scale and battery energy storage, and this advantage will last until at least 2030. At the same time, continuous investment in power grid infrastructure will also help the development of thermal storage photothermal power generation technology. In addition, the current general expectation on the decline trend of photothermal power generation costs is relatively conservative. Judging from the winning of some latest projects, under certain marginal conditions, the photothermal electricity price has dropped to about 7 cents /kWh.
LuisCrespo believes that with the development of the times, solar energy will meet the energy needs of most human beings, and the photovoltaic and thermal power stations with heat storage systems will be the most effective way to realize peak regulation of solar power. According to its introduction, since 2008, the cold-hot double-tank molten salt heat storage system has been successfully commercialized with its own reliability and performance advantages, and there is no sign of withdrawal from the market. Moreover, the molten salt consumption of tower-type photothermal power stations with the same installed scale is only about one quarter of that of slot-type photothermal power stations, and no oil/salt heat exchanger is required. At present, its molten salt heat storage cost is about 35€/kWhe (about 269 yuan /kWhe).
At present, photothermal power generation technology has become a necessary choice for countries with sufficient light resources to expand solar power generation capacity. It will also be an ideal choice for policy makers after considering all factors such as technology and economy. Regarding the future development of photothermal power generation technology, LuisCrespo said that in the next investment, long-term considerations should be taken and full valuation should be used instead of cost valuation, which will make the distribution between intermittent renewable energy generation and adjustable peak renewable energy generation more balanced in the power system, and this is also the only sustainable way to realize real energy transformation.