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USA: Californian Solar Process Heat Potential and Gas Price Competitiveness

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 19, 2016
Researchers at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have observed a renewed interest in solar process heat applications in recent years, mainly thanks to “the improvement and proliferation of solar collectors for electricity generation and the development of sophisticated solar collector modelling tools.” Last year, two of those researchers – Parthiv Kurup and Craig Turchi – conducted a study on the potential of solar process heat provided by concentrating collector technologies in California (see the attached document). This study, entitled Initial Investigation into the Potential of CSP Industrial Process Heat for the Southwest United States, was supported by the US Department of Energy and was published in November 2015. The chart taken from it shows the annual energy use of steam in industry segments which utilise the largest amount of gas. The study’s authors found the temperature range from about 120 to 220 °C to be of great interest, as it enables the use of concentrating optics and of water as the heat transfer fluid. 
Chart: Page 22 of the attached study

The Potential Economic Impact of Solar Power Generation Facilities in Nevada (2004)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on June 14, 2009

This study published by the NREL (US National Renewable Energy Laboratory) in 2004 estimates the economic impact, in terms of employment, personal income, and gross state product (GSP) of developing some portion of Nevada’s solar energy generation sources.
In Nevada, although a very high potential for renewable electricity has been registered, almost 90 percent of the electricity generated still comes from coal (53 percent) or natural gas (36 percent).

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