On February 23-25, I attended IntertechPira’s "Concentrating Solar Thermal Power 2011" in Scottsdale, Arizona. AltaTerra was a supporting organization of this third annual event.
While solar thermal, and even concentrating solar power, can be deployed at a range of scales and involve various types of customers, this conference (and the field of CSP in general) is focused on utility-scale plants and utilities as customers.
The conference started off with the CEOs of manufacturers and other high-level industry executives providing an overview of their activities and their outlook on the global CSP market. That first session articulated the consensus theme of all of the discussion: CSP of this kind requires a "trifecta" of transmission, financing, and permitting. While the conference was dominated by these three issues, there were also presentations and panel discussions on market trends, broader planning and regulatory issues, technical developments, and materials advancements. (The conference brochure, including agenda, is available for download below.)
Attendees were mostly in manufacturing, with some service providers and project developers. Who was not at the conference this year? Strangely, it was utilities. Utilities are among those who would benefit most directly from the discussion at this conference, so I hope to see more of them as speakers, discussants, and participants next year.
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