Leveraging concentrating solar power plant dispatchability: A review of the impacts of global market structures and policy

Paul Denholm, Mark Mehos, Madeleine McPherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus Citations


Concentrating solar power (CSP) integrated with thermal energy storage delivers flexible and dispatchable power, which is an increasingly valuable quality as electricity systems integrate growing penetrations of variable renewable energy. Valuing and compensating CSP's dispatchability and flexibility requires electricity market structures and policies that appropriately remunerate generation during high-value portions of the day. We review previous analyses of CSP economics and deployment, and we find that continued CSP growth will require valuation mechanisms that appropriately compensate for CSP's flexibility during both plant design and plant operation. We then review market structures that drive CSP operations and dispatch in jurisdictions where CSP is being developed, with perspectives from Spain, Chile, Australia, Morocco, South Africa, the United States, China, and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai). Despite broad agreement that CSP's dispatchability provides value to electricity grids, countries' policies for remunerating and leveraging such dispatchability varies widely. As deployment of CSP and variable renewable energy grows, it will be increasingly important to redesign current integration policies to signal the delivery of CSP's grid services more appropriately.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number111335
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Policy
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-72154


  • Concentrating solar power
  • Electricity markets and policies
  • Electricity system integration
  • Renewable energy
  • Thermal energy storage


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