Shaheen Applauds $7.6 Million Award to Brayton Energy to Advance Renewable Energy Technology

May 15, 2018

(Washington, DC)— U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today applauded the Department of Energy’s decision to award $7.6 million to Brayton Energy of Hampton, New Hampshire, to advance high-temperature concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies, extending Brayton Energy’s research in this area.

CSP technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a focused point, generating heat. This thermal energy can be stored and used to produce electricity whenever it is needed. The best commercially available technologies can only reach 565°C. The high-temperature thermal systems targeted by this program seek to achieve at least 700 °C, which would boost the efficiency and lower the cost of the electricity. If successful, these projects will lower the cost of a CSP system by approximately $0.02 per kilowatt-hour, which is 40 percent of the way to the office’s 2030 cost goals of $0.05 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for baseload CSP plants.

“I was excited to learn of this funding from the Department of Energy today, which will provide significant support for Brayton Energy as they work to develop this exciting and resourceful form of renewable energy,” said Shaheen. “This is well-deserved recognition for Brayton Energy, and I am pleased to see their innovation contributing to the Department of Energy’s long-term renewable energy goals. This award will help New Hampshire remain at the forefront of the next generation of energy development.”

“The Brayton team is very excited to have this opportunity to continue our work on this advanced concentrated solar power plant and its integral energy storage system,” said Jim Kesseli, President of Brayton Energy. “We believe that this technology offers benefits in lower renewable energy costs by providing dispatchable power during the peak demand periods after sundown. I’d like to especially thank our colleagues at the National Renewable Energy Lab, and look forward to working with them.”

“DOE has led the world in CSP research,” said Daniel Simmons, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “These projects will help facilitate the next wave of new technologies and continue the effort to maintain American leadership in this space.”

Brayton Energy is one of three teams selected through the Generation 3 CSP (Gen3 CSP) program to compete to build an integrated system that can efficiently receive solar heat and deliver it to a working fluid at greater than 700 °C temperature, while incorporating thermal energy storage. Over the first 2-year period, these teams will work to de-risk various aspects of diversified CSP technology pathways, prepare a detailed design for a test facility, and be subjected to a rigorous review process to select a single awardee to construct their proposed facility. If selected, Brayton Energy will receive an additional $25 million over the subsequent three years to build a test facility that allows diverse teams of researchers, laboratories, developers and manufacturers to remove key technological risks for the next generation CSP technology.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shaheen helped secure increased funding for several energy efficiency and renewable energy programs at the Department of Energy as part of the omnibus funding bill for fiscal year 2018. Shaheen also reintroduced the Clean Energy Grid Act, legislation that would help identify and overcome technical and regulatory barriers to the wider use of cleaner and more efficient energy technologies, including solar technologies.