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Aurora Solar Thermal Power Project

Aurora Solar Thermal Power Project was a planned solar power tower solar thermal power plant to be located north of Port Augusta in South Australia. It was planned to generate 150 MW of electricity after it was completed in 2020. Storage capacity would have been up to 8 hours at full power. The facility was expected to produce 495 GWh of electricity annually. It was to be 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Port Augusta on Carriewerloo Station.[1]

Aurora Solar Thermal Power Project
CountryAustralia
LocationSouth Australia
Coordinates32°12′S 137°36′E / 32.2°S 137.6°E / -32.2; 137.6Coordinates: 32°12′S 137°36′E / 32.2°S 137.6°E / -32.2; 137.6
StatusCancelled
Construction costA$650M
Operator(s)SolarReserve
Solar farm
TypeCSP
CSP technologySolar power tower
Power generation
Units cancelled1
Nameplate capacity150 (cancelled)
Annual net output495 GW·h (planned)
Storage capacity1,200 MW·he (cancelled)
External links
WebsiteOfficial website

On 5 April 2019, South Australian Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan announced the cancellation of the project.[2]

TimelineEdit

The premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill announced on 14 August 2017 that construction would commence in 2018 and was expected to be completed in 2020. It was expected to cost A$650M to build, including a A$110M loan from the Federal Government. SolarReserve has a contract to supply all of the electricity required by the state government's offices from this power project.[3]

The plant received formal development approval from the state government on 9 January 2018. At that time, finance was not yet all in place, but SolarReserve still anticipated commencing construction in mid-2018 and taking 650 workers two and a half years to build it.[4]

On 5 April 2019, South Australian Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan announced that he had been contacted by SolarReserve who said the project would not be going ahead.[5]

Reasons for cancellationEdit

Tim Buckley, the Director of Energy Finance Studies for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said that the most likely reason for the cancellation was a lack of revenue certainty for the technical demonstrator project. The Aurora plant had the capability of firming up variable renewables by providing stored power from hot salt after the sun had gone down and solar photovoltaic panels had stopped generation. But no long-term contract was on offer to provide for a fixed price for electricity from the plant, particularly during the evening peak hours of 6 pm to 8 pm. This was due to lack of a government policy framework and to a lack of time of day electricity pricing.[6]

South Australian opposition leader Peter Malinauskas blamed the failure to secure finance on the state government's plan to establish a new electricity interconnector to New South Wales.[7] This interconnector was expected to reduce the peak wholesale cost of electricity.[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Reid, Khama (15 August 2017). "Solar thermal power plant supporters and locals welcome greenlighting of Port Augusta project". ABC North and West. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Port Augusta solar thermal power plant scrapped after failing to secure finance". ABC News. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Solar thermal power plant announced for Port Augusta 'biggest of its kind in the world'". ABC News. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  4. ^ Langenberg, Adam (9 January 2018). "SolarReserve's $650m Port Augusta solar plant receives development approval". The Advertiser. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Port Augusta solar thermal power plant scrapped after failing to secure finance". ABC News. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  6. ^ Aliento, Willow (9 April 2019). "Why the Port Augusta solar thermal power station couldn't nail down finance". The Fifth Estate. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Port Augusta solar thermal power plant scrapped after failing to secure finance". ABC News. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  8. ^ Scopelianos, Sarah (13 February 2019). "Interconnector proposal between SA and NSW to 'reduce bills'". ABC. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 April 2019.