Breaking the Solar Gridlock

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Map Series 2: CSP 'Indicative Firm Capacity' by Thermal Storage Volume

All maps may be downloaded as google earth maps or spreadsheet information.

Separate maps have been produced for four peak periods (summer afternoon, summer evening, winter afternoon and winter evening), and six storage scenarios (0, 1, 3, 5, 10 and 15 hours), totalling 24 Indicative Firm Capacity maps. A subset of 12 is provided online but all 24 are available as downloadable Google Earth layers from the Downloads section.

Map Series 2: Indicative Firm Capacity Maps - notes

This map series shows the “Indicative Firm Capacity” (IFC) of CSP plants with different levels of thermal storage. The IFC is essentially an estimate of the probability that CSP with storage would be generating during the key summer and winter peak network constraint periods. To derive the IFC, twenty-one of the highest peak demand events for each state in each of the defined peak time periods during 2009, 2010, and 2011 were selected. It was then modelled whether CSP, with thermal storage configurations varying from 0 to 15 hours, would have been generating during the peak event. An IFC of 0.9 (red areas) indicates that for that peak period, a CSP plant with the number of hours thermal storage selected, would have been generating power during at least 90% of those peak events.

Note that coastal areas have lower values due to the weather systems that generally prevail on the coast. This is also true for tropical northern Queensland, where summers include monsoonal impacts and periods of high rainfall. In winter, Queensland sees higher IFCs because of the absence of monsoonal weather patterns. Also note that IFCs are somewhat higher the further west the plant is located (e.g. northern South Australia).

This modelling shows that IFCs in excess of 80% can be achieved in all seasons and most locations.