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Concentrating solar power plant investment and operation decisions under different price and support mechanisms
The dispatch opportunities provided by storage-enhanced Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants have direct implications on the investment decisions as not only nameplate capacity but also the storage capacity and the solar multiple play a crucial role for the viability of the plant investment. By integrating additional technical aspects and operation strategies, this paper extends the optimization model proposed by Madaeni et al., How Thermal Energy Storage Enhances the Economic Viability of Concentrating Solar Power. Using a mixed integer maximization approach the paper yields both the optimal layout decision and the operation of CSP plants. Subsequently, the economic value of CSP storage is analyzed via energy modeling of a Spanish plant location under the respective wholesale market prices as well as the local feed-in tariff. The analysis shows that investment incentives for CSP plants with storage need to appropriately account for the interdependency between the price incentives and the plant operating strategy. As the resulting revenue characteristics influence the optimal size of solar field and storage differing operating strategies also give rise to differing optimal plant layouts. Most noteworthy, the current Spanish support scheme offers only limited incentives for larger thermal storage capacity.