Water Requirements for Utility-Scale Concentrating Solar Power Facilities: Are We Robbing Peter to Pay Paul? - NR&E | Spring 2011
As our nation moves forward with plans to significantly expand renewable energy resources, we must be mindful of the potential adverse effects on our water resources. This dilemma should prompt careful consideration of the best approach to developing concentrating solar power (CSP) facilities. In all likelihood, one size will not fit all. For example, a dry-cooled CSP facility may be viable in a location with moderate summer temperatures, while a hybrid or even a wet-cooled facility may be the best choice in the hottest parts of the desert Southwest. Planning a conventional CSP facility should involve careful evaluation of alternative cooling technologies, such as dry or hybrid cooling. If engineering or economic considerations make these options problematic, alternative water supplies (such as treated wastewater or brackish groundwater) should be evaluated when planning a wet-cooled CSP facility.