So­lar ther­mal for SA en­ergy needs

The Australian Energy Review - - NEWS - El­iz­a­beth Fabri

US re­new­able en­ergy de­vel­oper So­lar­reserve will build a $650 mil­lion so­lar ther­mal power plant in South Aus­tralia to sup­ply all of the State Gov­ern­ment’s power needs.

Sched­uled to be­gin con­struc­tion next year and open in 2020, the 150 megawatt (MW) Aurora project, will be built in the for­mer coal town of Port Au­gusta to pro­vide greater sta­bil­ity and en­ergy se­cu­rity for the grid and put down­ward pres­sure on prices.

On 14 Au­gust, So­lar­reserve en­tered a long-term Gen­er­a­tion Project Agree­ment with the South Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment to sup­ply the State’s cur­rent load for 20 years at a low price of $78/MWH.

As part of the deal, Sun­re­serve would also be able to sell re­main­ing power from the project, since the State’s peak load was 125MW.

The deal was also bank­ing on a $110 mil­lion con­ces­sional eq­uity loan ne­go­ti­ated by in­de­pen­dent South Aus­tralia se­na­tor Nick Xenophon ear­lier in the year in re­turn for the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment's com­pany tax cuts.

So­lar­reserve chief ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Smith said the en­ergy stor­age tech­nol­ogy was “an ex­cel­lent fit” for the State elec­tric­ity sys­tem, and would de­liver up to 650 jobs dur­ing con­struc­tion, and 50 on­go­ing po­si­tions.

“So­lar­reserve looks for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to work with the South Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment and stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing the Port Au­gusta com­mu­nity where the project is lo­cated, to sup­port Fed­eral and State re­new­able en­ergy tar­gets, stim­u­late long-term eco­nomic devel­op­ment, and cre­ate new jobs and busi­nesses,” Mr Smith said.

South Aus­tralia Pre­mier Jay Weather­ill said the Aurora project would en­hance the State’s rep­u­ta­tion as a leader in clean, cheap re­new­able en­ergy.

“The Port Au­gusta story is a stark ex­am­ple of the tran­si­tion of the South Aus­tralian econ­omy, with the clo­sure of a dirty coal fired power sta­tion, and now the com­mis­sion­ing of this world lead­ing re­new­able en­ergy project,” Mr Weather­ill said.

“This is a ter­rific re­sult for the peo­ple of Port Au­gusta who have cam­paigned hard to de­liver this out­come for their com­mu­nity.”

Clean En­ergy Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Kane Thorn­ton said the price the gov­ern­ment would pay for the elec­tric­ity was a “re­mark­able achieve­ment” as it was ex­cep­tion­ally low for a tech­nol­ogy still fairly new in Aus­tralia.

“It is great to see the South Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment in­vest­ing in the fu­ture with this land­mark clean en­ergy project,” Mr Thorn­ton said.

Im­age: So­lar­reserve.

the Port Au­gusta so­lar ther­mal power plant will be the largest project of its kind in the world.

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