Letter Report: Critique of the Sargent and Lundy Assessment of Concentrating Solar Power Cost and Performance Forecasts (2002)
This letter report is the result of a brief but intensive study by the National Research Council (NRC) Committee for the Review of a Technology Assessment of Solar Power Energy Systems.ÿ Prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EE&RE), this report critiques an assessment by Sargent & Lundy LLC (S&L), also contracted by the DOE, of the cost and performance forecasts for parabolic trough and power tower concentrating solar power (CSP) technology. The report reviews an analysis of the technical opportunities to reduce the cost of generating electricity using CSP technologies out to 2020, the reasonableness of the assumptions for achieving these estimated costs, and the key technical challenges in achieving them. The report comments on the assumptions, quality, strengths, weaknesses, objectivity, and credibility of the S&L analysis. The report includes consideration of multiple technology pathways, potential technology advances to 2020, and the possible benefits accruing from economies of scale and learning under various scenarios of manufacturing scale up and large-scale deployment.