Cleantechnica reported that SolarReserve has proposed a total of 6 CSP projects near Port Augusta in South Australia, similar to their 110 MW Crescent Dunes project in Tonopah, Nevada. The company’s dispatchable solar can be switched on day or night because it integrates a thermal energy storage system.
According to SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith, the Repower Port Augusta have been supporting solar thermal technology for some time and actively recruiting investments in their community. He also said that they have a site for their Aurora project and held several meetings this week with local officials and the community. They have also met with the state’s premiere.
Initially, the company planned a single 110-megawatt plant with storage, as part of their decommissioning the 260 megawatt Northern and the 240 megawatt Playford coal power stations in Port Augusta.
A poll taken by Repower Port Augusta this year found local support to be very strong. Greens and Local Labour were at 83% and 81%, respectively, while Liberal voters gave 77% support. Repower Port Augusta had persuaded the government and is hoping for a $100 million grant, but was not able to get movement after several years of pushing for the project during the Abbott administration. This was overturned by the Liberal/Labour coalition government at the end of 2015.
The state government offices’ needs could be met by the Aurora project. 8 hours of thermal energy storage would deliver 480,000 megawatt-hours every year of solar dispatched on demand by utilizing 880 megawatt-hours of energy storage capability.
One hurdle for the solar companies is that the state instead considered just extending the operating hours run by a partly disused gas power plant, even though gas price volatility has contributed to make the Australian grid power expensive.
Mr. Smith suggested a contract under which during the 3-year construction, the company would deliver power by purchasing it off the current market and act as temporary utility before switching to power delivery once the first project is complete.