Concentrating solar power (CSP) installations concentrate energy from the sun’s rays to heat a receiver to high temperatures. This heat is then transformed into electricity – solar thermal electricity (STE). From a system perspective, STE offers significant advantages over PV, mostly because of its built-in thermal storage capabilities. CSP plants can continue to produce electricity even when clouds block the sun, or after sundown or in early morning when power demand steps up. Both technologies, while being competitors on some projects, are ultimately complementary.
Geothermal energy can provide heating, cooling and base-load power generation from high-temperature hydrothermal resources, aquifer systems with low and medium temperatures, and hot rock resources. Each geothermal source is unique in its location, temperature and pool depth, and various geothermal technologies have been developed to best specific resources.
Ocean power accounts for the smallest portion of renewable electricity globally, and the majority of projects remain at the demonstration phase. However, with large, well-distributed resources, ocean energy has the potential to scale up over the long term.
Last updated Jun 16, 2020
Geothermal power generation in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2000-2030
Policies are needed to increase the deployment of geothermal power
Geothermal electricity generation increased by an estimated 3% in 2019, below the average growth of the five previous years. The technology is still not on track to reach the SDS level, which would require a 10% annual increase in generation over 2019-30. Policies tackling challenges associated with pre-development risks are needed to increase the deployment of geothermal resources for power generation.
Promotion of research and development is necessary to achieve large-scale deployment of ocean power
Electricity generation from marine technologies increased an estimated 13% in 2019, which is significantly above the levels of the previous three years. Nevertheless, this technology needs to be deployed even more rapidly to get on track with the SDS, which requires much higher annual growth of 23% through 2030. Policies promoting R&D are needed to achieve further cost reductions and large-scale development.
Emphasising plant storage value will be key to attracting investment for concentrating solar power
CSP generation increased by an estimated 34% in 2019. Although this growth is exceptionally high, CSP is still not on track with the SDS, which requires annual average growth of almost 24% through 2030. Policy designs that emphasise the value of CSP plant storage will be key to attract additional investment.