Deep decarbonization of the European power sector calls for dispatchable CSP
Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) offers flexible and decarbonized power generation and is one of the few dispatchable renewable technologies able to generate renewable electricity on demand. Today (2018) CSP contributes only 5TWh to the European power generation, but it has the potential to become one of the key pillars for European decarbonization pathways. In this paper we investigate how factors and pivotal policy decisions leading to different futures and associated CSP deployment in Europe in the years up to 2050. In a second step we characterize the scenarios with their associated system cost and the costs of support policies. We show that the role of CSP in Europe critically depends on political developments and the success or failure of policies outside renewable power. In particular, the uptake of CSP depends on the overall decarbonization ambition, the degree of cross border trade of renewable electricity and is enabled by the presence of strong grid interconnection between Southern and Norther European Member States as well as by future electricity demand growth. The presence of other baseload technologies, prominently nuclear power in France, reduce the role and need for CSP. Assuming favorable technological development, we find a strong role for CSP in Europe in all modeled scenarios: contributing between 100TWh to 300TWh of electricity to a future European power system. This would require increasing the current European CSP fleet by a factor of 20 to 60 in the next 30 years. To achieve this financial support between € 0.4-2 billion per year into CSP would be needed, representing only a small share of overall support needs for power-system transformation. Cooperation of Member States could further help to reduce this cost.