Renewable energy has a significant role to play in helping the world achieve the greenhouse gas emission reduction necessary to achieve the pathway to a 2°C increase in global temperature. Electricity generation from wind and solar resources can contribute immensely to the decarbonization of power generation, but these resources are intermittent. High penetration of intermittent renewable power generation can cause grid stability and control issues for network operators, with fast response fossil fuel power plant necessary to provide security of supply and maintain grid stability. Increasingly natural gas-fueled distributed power generation is being installed to provide the necessary grid support.
However, hybrid power plants comprised of a fossil fuel power generating system, a renewable power generation system and energy storage can provide both the low CO2 electricity required to meet environmental constraints, and the despatchability and stability required by grid operators. Integrated Solar Combined Cycle Power Plants (ISCCs), comprising a Concentrated Solar Power plant and a natural gas fired combined cycle plant, have the potential to simultaneously reduce fossil fuel consumption, provide secure, highly predictable electricity generation, and reduce the cost of integrating renewable energy into a power system.
While a number of ISCCs have been built at a larger scale (above 150MW power output), the concept has rarely been adopted for smaller scale distributed power applications. In addition, the traditional ISCC concept uses a steam bottoming cycle, which consumes water, and often locations where distributed ISCC could be utilized suffer from a scarcity of fresh water.
This paper evaluates whether replacing the steam bottoming cycle with an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) alternative can provide a simpler, lower cost distributed ISCC solution that can be utilized on smaller and island grid systems, or mini- and micro-grids, to provide an affordable, water-free, low carbon power generation system.