Could Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Meet 100% of US Energy Needs by 2050?

By: | January 8th, 2017

Concentrated Solar Power

Solarwärmekraftwerk PS10 bei Sevilla, Spanien – Concentrated Solar Power (Image Courtesy https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PS20andPS10.jpg#/media/File:PS20andPS10.jpg)

According to current estimates, the world has approximately 75 years before recoverable fossil fuels are completely depleted, give or take 15 years. This means that as early as 2075 and as late as 2106 the world will have used all technically and economically recoverable fossil fuels. The question is which renewable energy sources will emerge to fill the void?

Concentrated Solar Power

IndustryTap has written about California-based SolarReserve and its Concentrated Solar Power technology. SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes 110 megawatt (MW) Solar Energy Plant employs a molten salt power tower technology that produces enough electricity to meet the needs of 75,000 homeowners. With this success in mind, the question is: Could Concentrated Solar Power provide energy to the entire US?

The Cost of CSP

Crescent Dunes was built at a cost of $1 billion. According to calculations from Fusion4Freedom.us, it would take approximately 60,000 plants the same size as Crescent Dunes to power the US and this could be accomplished by 2050. According to my calculations using the Online Big Number Calculator, the total cost would be $60 trillion.

According to an article written by Tom Tamarkin, founder of Fusion4Freedom, it would take the following numbers of Crescent Dunes-sized plants to replace fossil fuels:

  • 20,687 CSP plants to replace current petroleum production & use
  • 15,676 CSP plants to replace current natural gas production & use
  • 10,609 CSP plants to replace current coal production & use
  • 4,874 CSP plants to replace current nuclear fission production & use
  • 2,646 CSP plants to replace current biomass production & use
  • 1,508 CSP plants to replace current hydroelectric production & use

Of course Tom Tamarkin and Fusion4Freedom believe that fusion is the answer to the world’s energy predicament.

The following video shows a Crescent Dunes construction time-lapse from October 2015. Crescent Dunes is producing and storing energy 10 hours per day and generates solar electricity after the sun has set.

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys research and writing about cutting edge technologies that hold the promise of improving conditions for all life on planet earth.

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