It is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to you to participate in the SolarPACES 2013 International Conference to be held September 17–20, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. From its origin at the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Small Solar Power Systems (SSPS) demonstration project in Almeria, Spain at the end of the 1970s, SolarPACES (Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems) has evolved over the years, under the umbrella of the IEA, into a prestigious international network committed to advancing the state-of-the-art and to increasing the market penetration of concentrating solar power (CSP) and chemical energy systems. Since 2009, the annual SolarPACES International Conference has teamed up with ESTELA, the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association—a partnership that brings you this year’s conference as well.
The theme of SolarPACES 2013 is “Towards Cost-competitive CSP,” and the event will feature the latest advances in research, development and deployment at the forefront of CSP technologies across the globe, with a focus on reducing costs while increasing performance. In the United States, the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative has set an aggressive cost reduction goal for CSP-generated electricity to achieve grid parity without subsidy by the end of the decade. A concerted national effort involving the industry, national laboratories and universities is underway toward this goal. Several large-scale commercial CSP plants in the U.S. are poised to be commissioned beginning in 2013, that will bring the total capacity up to 1.8 GW. Worldwide, it is an exciting time for CSP, with tremendous momentum building up as many countries invest in CSP systems as part of their sustainable energy infrastructure.
SolarPACES 2013 will continue its strong legacy of being the leading international forum for developments in CSP technologies, policy and markets, and commercial projects, and will bring together a broad participation from industry, academia, national research and development organizations, and policy makers around the world. The conference program will include keynote talks, plenary sessions, and technical sessions covering numerous CSP technologies, deployment strategies, and policy initiatives. SolarPACES 2013 will also feature, for the first time, an online edited proceedings volume of peer-reviewed full-length articles.
Rounding out an extensive technical program, two optional tours to commercial CSP plants currently under construction will be available for the participants at the end of the conference: (1) BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station (SEGS), a 377 megawatt (MW) direct steam power tower plant in Ivanpah Dry Lake, California, which will be the largest solar power system in the world upon completion; and (2) SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, a 110 MW power tower plant utilizing advanced molten salt technology with 10 hours of integrated thermal storage, located in Tonopah, Nevada.
I invite you to be a part of this exciting technical event at SolarPACES 2013 and look forward to seeing you at the conference. On behalf of SolarPACES, I thank the conference organizers and the scientific committee for enabling the foremost international CSP forum of 2013.
Dr. Ranga Pitchumani
Chair, 2013 SolarPACES International Conference
Director, Concentrating Solar Power
SunShot Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington DC
John R. Jones III Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia