Solar Thermal Electricity (STE)
Concentrating solar plants (CSP) collect sunlight to heat water in order to create steam for generating electricity. Conceptually, Solar Thermal Electricity (STE) is easier to integrate into the power grid than wind and solar PV. Several new CSP sites are being developed in the southwestern United States. However, CSP requires large amounts of water and most of the premium CSP sites are located in dry desert areas where sunshine is abundant, but water is not. It will be necessary to address the emerging concerns about the devastating environmental impacts of solar panel manufacturing and disposal. High capital costs, regulatory uncertainty and environmental concerns also remain as impediments to expanded used of STE. STE may provide a role in expanded use of renewables; however, STE will not likely have a significant impact on the overall U.S. energy portfolio.
Solar-Electric Plant, Andalucia, Spain.