Potential of smart renewable hubs including concentrated solar power in the interconnected european power system

A. Dalla Riva, Andrea Pasquali, J. Hethey, Anders Kofoed-Wiuff, Mattia Baldini, J. M. Estebaranz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The cost of wind and solar renewable energy technologies is dropping significantly and as deployment increases, access to grid permits are likely to become scarcer and grid costs make up for a proportionally larger share of total project costs. Contextually, with a higher penetration of Variable Renewable Energy Sources (VRES) there is an increased need for dispatchable and flexible generating technologies. A logical response to this trend is the deployment of hybrid power plant, of which Gridsol and Smart Renewable Hubs (SRHs) are an example. These couple renewable technologies with back-up and storage units in loco. Gridsol integrates synchronous generators besides VRES: Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) equipped with thermal storage and a gas turbine with heat recovery. SRHs are a broader term to define all the hybrid power plants possibly including electric storage and both synchronous generators and VRES, such as wind and solar PV. This paper identifies the optimal composition in Gridsol and SRHs until 2050. The latest European long-term deep decarbonization pathways serve as a framework for the analysis and the simulations are carried out with Balmorel, a fundamental market model able to perform hourly power dispatch and optimal capacity expansion. Results show that flexibility in the generation becomes increasingly important starting from 2030 in order to capture higher market prices. The optimal hybrid power plant composition in South European countries is dominated by the combination PV+BESS. PV is overplanted in the hubs and excess energy is either stored or curtailed, with curtailment levels of up to 19% in 2050. Gridsol appears only in selected instances and with a small capacity. On the other hand, it is demonstrated that the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCoE) of CSP, as low as 42 EUR/MWh in 2050 under the hypothesis of large cost reductions, is lower than that of PV+BESS for application beyond the daily cycle and when a great amount of energy has to be shifted in time.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Ises Solar World Congress 2019 and Iea Shc International Conference on Solar Heating and Cooling for Buildings and Industry 2019
Publication date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventISES Solar World Congress 2019 and IEA SHC conference 2019: Innovation in Transforming Energy Systems and Markets to 100% Renewable Energy - Santiago de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Duration: 3 Nov 20197 Nov 2019


ConferenceISES Solar World Congress 2019 and IEA SHC conference 2019
LocationSantiago de Chile
Internet address


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