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The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a concentrating solar power (CSP)-natural gas project to be led by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) that will generate at least 10 MW of new electric generation capacity.

According to the DOE, the project will integrate utility-scale CSP technology with SMUD's 500 MW natural gas-fired Cosumnes Power Plant. Supported by a $10 million DOE investment, the project will help design, build and test cost-competitive CSP-fossil fuel power generating systems in the U.S., the DOE says.

The DOE notes that CSP technology uses sunlight to produce steam, which is then used to generate electricity. The department adds that hybrid systems couple traditional fossil fuel-powered plants with CSP technology to improve the efficiency and performance of both systems and marry baseload power with new capacity.

The SMUD project will feed solar-produced steam directly into the plant's turbines, the DOE reports. In addition, the project will include energy storage technology to improve system performance and meet peak and off-peak power needs.

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