This study focuses on the potential for Australian businesses to engage in the CST value chain in the provision of key components and services.
Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) power presents a new opportunity for Australia. This study focuses on the potential for Australian businesses to engage in the CST value chain in the provision of key components and services.
The CST value chain and Australian businesses
The CST value chain comprises manufactured components such as solar collection systems (mirrors, heliostats, receivers, fabrication and support structures and control and integration systems), thermal conversion systems (pumps, boilers, storage, piping and valves) and the electrical conversion systems (power blocks, balance of plant and turbines). Additionally, the value chain involves R&D to reduce costs involved and to increase the safety, effectiveness and durability of components. Investment and financing form part of the value chain and also various service providers including developers; engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors; civil works businesses; and operation and maintenance (O&M) suppliers. While the industry is at an embryonic stage, a number of local organisations across Australia have capabilities to engage in the CST value chain, in particular around solar tower construction, integration systems, support structures, heliostats and services including EPC and civil works.
Spillovers occur from CST to other sectors including automotive, glass, metal, power and process heat, wires and cables, water, chemistry, electronic, cement and other renewables (Photovoltaic (PV) solar and wind). Regional development opportunities also arise from CST, particularly in areas with the presence of existing power network infrastructure, transport through rail and shipping facilities and transferable manufacturing capability. CST plants can result in a number of benefits around employment as it arguably involves the use of a higher proportion of local services compared to PV solar and wind, for instance via construction and assembly.