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	0.549		
2004	0.587		
2005	0.597		
2006	0.555		
2007	0.685		
2008	0.898		
2009	0.923		
2010	1.687		
2011	2.953		
2012	4.847		
2013	6.040		
2014	8.862		
2015	10.226		
2016	11.123		
2017	13.406		
2018		15.053	
2019		17.959	
2020		20.682	
2021		23.270	
2022		28.260	
2025			99.139
2030			286.580
      
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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	51.989		
2001	51.574		
2002	52.294		
2003	54.091		
2004	56.503		
2005	58.285		
2006	59.611		
2007	62.294		
2008	64.915		
2009	67.038		
2010	68.120		
2011	69.228		
2012	70.217		
2013	71.641		
2014	77.439		
2015	80.471		
2016	82.061		
2017	84.799		
2018		89.280	
2019		93.002	
2020		97.121	
2021		101.461	
2022		106.142	
2025			169.990
2030			291.680
      
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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	0.530		
2004	0.508		
2005	0.516		
2006	0.491		
2007	0.495		
2008	0.487		
2009	0.486		
2010	0.513		
2011	0.512		
2012	0.497		
2013	0.925		
2014	0.999		
2015	1.007		
2016	1.025		
2017	0.925		
2018		1.079	
2019		1.116	
2020		1.161	
2021		1.196	
2022		1.218	
2025			4.785
2030			16.626
      
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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.

🕐 Last updated Friday, 14 December 2018