CSP, geothermal and ocean power

Tracking Clean Energy Progress

🕐 Last updated Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Not on track

Concentrating solar power (CSP), geothermal and ocean technologies are currently not on track with their SDS targets. Generation growth and deployment of these technologies remain slow compared to other renewables due to technology-specific challenges.


Concentrating solar power (CSP) generation

Historical development and targets

	Historical	Forecast	SDS Targets
2000	0.526		
2001	0.565		
2002	0.569		
2003	0.548656		
2004	0.587081		
2005	0.596528		
2006	0.554597		
2007	0.684684		
2008	0.898314		
2009	0.922769		
2010	1.689603		
2011	2.986407		
2012	4.908005		
2013	6.248507		
2014	8.88314		
2015	10.22392		
2016	13.30545		
2017	15.62846		
2018		18.14929	
2019		21.00135	
2020		24.22051	
2021		28.29023	
2022		31.95059102	
2025			99.138961
2030			286.580279

      
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In 2017, concentrating solar power (CSP) capacity grew by just 120 MW, driven almost entirely by the commissioning of the Xina Solar One Parabolic trough plant (100 MW) in South Africa, while smaller demonstration projects were commissioned in China.

CSP growth is forecast to come mostly from emerging economies, especially China, Morocco and South Africa, where the largest plants with longer storage hours are expected to come on line. Although China has introduced an ambitious target of 5 GW by 2020, with several pilot projects, deployment has been slow.


Geothermal generation

Historical development and targets

	Historical	Forecast	SDS Targets
2000	51.98934		
2001	51.57394		
2002	52.29396		
2003	54.09058		
2004	56.50331		
2005	58.28453		
2006	59.6115		
2007	62.29425		
2008	64.91521		
2009	67.03817		
2010	68.11999		
2011	69.22786		
2012	70.20511		
2013	71.62312		
2014	77.38463		
2015	80.44563		
2016	83.58532		
2017	87.66306		
2018		91.59851	
2019		96.38501	
2020		101.1312	
2021		105.4603	
2022		109.8431216	
2025			169.99
2030			291.68
      
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For geothermal, pre-development risks (i.e. exploring resource availability) remain high and drilling costs have been increasing over the last decade, leading to higher investment costs in some countries.


Ocean power generation

Historical development and targets

	Historical	Forecast	SDS Targets
2000	0.546		
2001	0.524		
2002	0.533		
2003	0.53		
2004	0.508		
2005	0.516		
2006	0.49		
2007	0.495		
2008	0.487		
2009	0.486		
2010	0.513		
2011	0.511		
2012	0.496		
2013	0.927		
2014	0.999		
2015	1.006		
2016	1.017173		
2017	1.087592		
2018		1.112022	
2019		1.156612	
2020		1.199213	
2021		1.248958	
2022		1.335705486	
2025			4.78501182
2030			16.62621928
      
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Ocean technology holds great potential but requires additional policy support to enable the faster cost reductions that come with the commissioning of larger commercial plants.


Innovation

The IEA’s new Innovation Tracking Framework identifies key long-term “technology innovation gaps” across the energy mix that need to be filled in order to meet long-term clean energy transition goals. Each innovation gap highlights where R&D investment and other efforts need improvement.

Explore the technology innovation gaps identified for geothermal and tidal and wave below:

Why is this RD&D challenge critical?

Drilling costs account for between 40 and 70% of total capital costs of a geothermal power project. It is also a very time consuming part of the project.

Key RD&D focus areas over the next 5 years

Continued focus on specific technologies for different settings. Electro Impulse Technology (EIT), thermal shock drilling systems and Laser Jet drilling.

Key initiatives

  • Technical university Bergakademie Freiberg is carrying out leading research on EIT. Strong research in universities across Germany, and the University of Tokyo together with Tohuku University among other organizations.
  • Although geothermal has a significant global technical potential it receives a minimal amount of investment among clean technologies, with funding mainly provided by public research programmes.

Why is this RD&D challenge critical?

It is often not easy to locate and characterise geothermal resources, and this phase is both difficult and costly. The success rate (i.e. producing usable quantities of steam and/or hot water) for the first few drills can be around 60%.

Key RD&D focus areas over the next 5 years

Further development of electromagnetic or seismic imaging methods.

Why is this RD&D challenge critical?

A key driver of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) technology is to create permeability in a place where there is hot rock, meaning the number of possible locations (compared to hydrothermal processes) is far greater. Flow is directly related to the permeability in the reservoir.

Key RD&D focus areas over the next 5 years

Flow rate needs to be increased by at least a factor of three. There are two options: to either develop methods to enhance reservoir permeability or further develop techniques to create multi-horizon wells.

Key initiatives

    Low number of initiatives in this area. US potential assessments (USGS, NREL), and several country-wide technical potential assessments including EU-wide studies.

Why is this RD&D challenge critical?

Underwater conditions are complex and varying. Few prototype turbines have been tested in field hydrodynamic environments (i.e. outside the lab). Turbulence, wave activity, and depth variations result in unsteady blade loading causing fatigue. Research in mechanical fatigue is very much needed as this has caused a number of projects to fail. This includes interactions between the fluid and the structure of the turbine: blades, tower, foundation, wake formation, array interactions etc.

Key RD&D focus areas over the next 5 years

The effects of turbulence on blades must be further investigated to be able and develop commercially viable turbines. Technically speaking, this means improved characterisation of hydrodynamic blade loads and materials research.

Key initiatives

Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Manchester and Oxford universities are all carrying leading projects. Technologies currently with the largest commercial deployment are OpenHydro, Andritz Hammerfest / Atlantis Resources, Nova Innovation, Tocardo. Other commercial sources include EDF; classification societies such as DNV GL; or test facilities like EMEC.

Why is this RD&D challenge critical?

Power take off (PTO) is a fundamental part of the energy converter, it is here the absorbed energy from the initial converter is transformed to electricity, with a resulting impact on the efficiency of the device and the design of the wave energy converter. The PTO covers a significant part of the Wave Energy Converter's (WEC) capital cost and is also the most complex part, often the first point of failure. Increasing its reliability would have an impact on operational costs and consequently on the levelised cost of electricity from wave power.

Key RD&D focus areas over the next 5 years

Due to the relatively low level of maturity of wave energy a range of different areas need to be in focus to find the optimal solution. Projects should look at efficiency, design such as flexibility and robustness, different combinations of initial converter and PTO. Some projects are currently taking inspiration from wind energy technologies and also technologies used in the automotive sector.

Key initiatives

Wave Energy Scotland (WES) is currently funding five different projects. The Australian company Carnegie Clean Energy is carrying out several R&D projects. Australia Research Council (ARC) project awarded to BioPower systems.

Why is this RD&D challenge critical?

Advanced control systems for wave energy converters and sub-systems is essential for the development of economically feasible technology as it is essential to improve performance, affordability, survivability and reliability.

Key RD&D focus areas over the next 5 years

General deployment and tracking of the full range of control systems and algorithms.

Key initiatives

Wave Energy Scotland currently funding 13 projects from different universities and companies.

Explore all 100+ innovation gaps across 38 key technologies and sectors here.