Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Hernández C., Cerda M.T., Salmon A., Lorca A. (2021)

Comparison between concentrated solar power and gas-based generation in terms of economic and flexibility-related aspects in Chile

Revista : Energies
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The energy sector in Chile demands a significant increase in renewable energy sources in the near future, and concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies are becoming increasingly competitive as compared to natural gas plants. Motivated by this, this paper presents a comparison between solar technologies such as hybrid plants and natural gas-based thermal technologies, as both technologies share several characteristics that are comparable and beneficial for the power grid. This comparison is made from an economic point of view using the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) metric and in terms of the systemic benefits related to flexibility, which is very much required due to the current decarbonization scenario of Chile’s energy matrix. The results show that the LCOE of the four hybrid plant models studied is lower than the LCOE of the gas plant. A solar hybrid plant configuration composed of a photovoltaic and solar tower plant (STP) with 13 h of storage and without generation restrictions has an LCOE 53 USD/MWh, while the natural gas technology evaluated with an 85% plant factor and a variable fuel cost of 2.0 USD/MMBtu has an LCOE of 86 USD/MWh. Thus, solar hybrid plants under a particular set of conditions are shown to be more cost-effective than their closest competitor for the Chilean grid while still providing significant dispatchability and flexibility