Announcements: Renewable Energy Development Program Projects & Solar Flagships Shortlist

This just in via the Australian Solar Energy Society:

REDP Funding Finally Announced

The Australian Government has awarded $92 million to two large-scale solar energy demonstration projects

The two projects are:

- 23 megawatt solar boost to coal-fired turbines at Kogan Creek, near Chinchilla in western Queensland ($32 million), using Ausra (now Areva) Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector technology; and

- a 40 megawatt concentrated solar thermal demonstration plant at Whyalla, South Australia, using Australia's own "Big Dish" technology ($60 million).

Combined with investment from the successful applicants, the two projects will deliver about $320 million in solar energy investment in Australia and more than 60 megawatts equivalent of solar peak load generation capacity, within the next four years.

These projects will save almost 100,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

Additional details of the projects follows:

• CS Energy Pty Ltd - $31.8 million

The CS Energy project at Kogan Creek in Queensland will demonstrate the Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) solar array technology developed in Australia by Ausra Pty Ltd. This technology is now being marketed world-wide by the Areva Group. The project will be attached to the existing Kogan Creek A Power Station to provide a 23 megawatt equivalent superheated steam solar boost to the coal-fired turbines. This will allow an increase in energy output as well as saving around 35,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. CS Energy is a Queensland Government-owned corporation.

• N.P. Power Pty Ltd (Whyalla Solar Oasis Consortium) - $60.0 million

The Whyalla Solar Oasis Consortium will demonstrate Wizard Power's ‘Big Dish’ concentrated solar thermal power generation technology developed at the Australian 2 National University in 1994. The 40 megawatt demonstration plant at Whyalla will utilise 300 ‘Big Dish’ solar thermal concentrators that will be built on site using Wizard Power Pty Ltd’s proprietary factory-in-the-field concept. The technology is easily scalable and a successful demonstration of the ‘Big Dish’ technology will open the way for further deployment of the technology, both within Australia and overseas. The project will generate power for about 9,500 average households and save about 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. The Whyalla Solar Oasis Consortium consists of N.P. Power Pty Ltd, Sustainable Power Partners Pty Ltd and Wizard Power Pty Ltd.

AuSES welcomes this funding announcement, and congratulates the two projects selected. We look forward to seeing the emergence of large scale solar as a result of this announcement.


Solar Flagship Shortlist Announced

The Australian Government has announced eight projects that will be invited to participate in the second stage of assessment for Round One of the $1.5 billion Solar Flagships Program.

The shortlisted projects will share up to $15 million in feasibility funding going into the second stage of assessment:

Solar photovoltaic

o AGL Energy proposes a multi-site project using thin film cadmium telluride solar photovoltaic technology generating up to150MW at multiple sites across Australia including ACT, NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia;

o TRUenergy proposes a single site near Mildura, using thin film cadmium telluride solar photovoltaic technology to generate up to 180MW;

o Infigen Suntech’s crystalline silicon solar photovoltaic technology would be deployed at up to three sites in New South Wales or Victoria to generate up to 195MW; and

o BP Solar proposes a single axis tracking photovoltaic system to generate 150MW from plants constructed at several locations in New South Wales.

Solar thermal

o ACCIONA Energy Oceania proposes to generate 200MW using solar thermal parabolic trough technology at a single site in either Queensland or South Australia;

o Parsons Brinckerhoff proposes to construct a 150MW solar thermal parabolic trough power station at Kogan Creek in Queensland;

o Wind Prospect CWP proposes to use linear fresnel technology at Kogan Creek in Queensland to construct a 250MW power plant; and

o Transfield proposes to convert the Collinsville coal-fired power station in Queensland into a 150MW solar thermal linear fresnel power plant.

The Solar Flagships Council has also made recommendations relating to the siting of photovoltaic projects.

Just steam, no storage for the solar thermal?

There's also these smaller amounts of funding, one of which covers storage:

ASI Funding Announced

The latest Australian Solar Institute (ASI) funding for solar energy has announced five projects will receive grants worth a total of $18.5 million.

The latest grants are:

• $5.0 million for a $24.1 million project run by the University of New South Wales in collaboration with Silex Solar and Suntech Power to improve the performance of screen printed solar PV cells;

• $2.25 million for a $5.4 million project run by BT Imaging Pty Ltd to improve the performance of photovoltaic manufacturing;

• $2.25 million for a $15.6 million project run by Sapphicon Semiconductor Pty Ltd to develop a high-efficiency solar module on a wafer based thin film;

• $4.0 million for a $9.0 million project run by CSIRO and the Australian National University to develop advanced solar thermal energy storage technologies; and

• $4.95 million for an Australian National University led $13.4 million applied research project in collaboration with industry partner, Transform Solar (an Origin Energy JV) to help develop the next generation of solar cells.

AuSES would like to congratulate all of the successful projects, and restate our support for the Australian Solar Institute.

'Small' steps Kiashu. In the wake of the Garrett funding disaster this Govt might just be a bit wary of putting too many funding eggs in one basket. I would guess that once the Whyalla mob have their 300 dishes they might be in a position to take a few 'off line' to experiment on the storage problem.

The Wizard guys were originally looking to produce ammonia using their solar plant - has that part of the plan been dropped ?

produce ammonia using their solar plant

Careful Gav, remember what happened three years ago!

"Dissociate and reform ammonia" is a better phrase ;-)

I speculate that they have dropped the 'riskier' storage part of the proposal (at least initially) in order to maximise the number of dishes (and perfecting the construction method), the peak output power and to get the thing built.
Large numbers always sell better; but at the expense of introducing intermittancy.
I speculate that the operators intend in the future to have storage... but that will be round 2. This way they are more certain of producing power and gaining favour with Federal Govt funders who can then say 'look how many tonnes of CO2 we are avoiding' etc etc.

I'm quite fond of the ammonia storage idea as it uses relatively 'simple' technology. Pipes, mirrors and a 100 year old chemical process. We shall see in a few years I guess.

Yikes - sorry - how could I forget !

You're right of course - I should have just asked "does it still incorporate energy storage" ?

Thanks for posting this Phil.

Its good to see there is plenty of interest from industry.

Anyone know if the proposed Cloncurry plant is still going ahead?

Last I heard was back in late 2008 :

Lloyd Energy Systems seem to have changed their name to "Graphite Energy" but the web site reveals little...

BZE did an article on them in 2009 but Google News has nothing recent (over a 6 month time period I think).

I note that Federal Minister Ferguson seems to have pulled the plug on granite geothermal after $290m (?) of government assistance. Thus you would think these projects would have to show results within the term of the next parliament which I suspect could be Labor with a Green assist.

Since we want 20 GW of low carbon dispatchable power fairly soon and perhaps 30 GW with a 70% larger population these projects have to succeed handsomely. That is they not only need to succeed but quickly scale up from megawatt to gigawatt level.

Giles Parkinson at The StrayHun had some interesting notes on the geothermal industry this week, noting AGL have become more interested in shallow geothermal plays and think solar PV will end up being the best option economically :

There have already been numerous delays to the grand vision of the geothermal industry to provide up to 2000MW of capacity by 2020, caused by well blowouts, flooding in the Cooper basin, the slow release of government funds for drilling programs, and the difficulty in obtaining matching equity -- a situation made worse by a slump in the value of most listed geothermal groups.

Indeed, the industry seems to be in the midst of a crisis of faith, heightened by the shock decision last week of energy major AGL Energy to decline an option to help fund the development of the Parachilna hot-rock geothermal play in South Australia.

Parachilna, owned by Torrens Energy, had been considered one of the more prospective hot-rock plays because it was next to the grid. But AGL has decided the sums don't add up for hot rocks yet. It seems more interested in the shallower hot sedimentary aquifers and in large-scale solar photovoltaic technology, with chief executive Michael Fraser convinced that solar PV costs are on a rapid decline.