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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    Alinta Energy

    Location

    Port Augusta, South Australia

    ARENA Program

    Emerging Renewables Program

  • Start Date

    December 2013

    Status

    Past

  • Project Partners
    None
    This hybrid technology project was completed on 5 February 2016.

Summary

This project focused on the pre-feasibility work needed to assess the viability of a stand-alone solar thermal plant using ‘power tower’ technology that would see a field of mirrors concentrate light into a central receiver at the top of a tower. The high temperatures generated by power tower technology make it most compatible with molten-salt storage.

It was ultimately determined that the proposed project would not be commercially viable.

Need

In late 2011 Alinta Energy began to assess potential solar thermal opportunities in regional South Australia (SA). Its Solar Concept Study concluded that SA is a high-quality location for solar thermal energy, and that stand-alone concentrated solar power could be feasible.

Alinta then commissioned Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2014 to examine the available solar thermal technologies and potential locations for a solar thermal power plant in SA. The consultants found that a 50MW solar thermal plant near Port Augusta’s existing power stations was technically feasible.

Last updated
18 November 2020

Project innovation

The Port Augusta Solar Thermal Feasibility project focused on the pre-feasibility work needed to assess the viability of a stand-alone solar thermal plant using ‘power tower’ technology that would see a field of mirrors concentrate light into a central receiver at the top of a tower. The high temperatures generated by power tower technology make it most compatible with molten-salt storage, which would enable power to be dispatched when required.

A stand alone 50MW plant option was favoured over hybridising existing coal-fired plants due to the lower technology risks and the capability to operate over a longer life cycle.

Alinta favoured a site located to the south-east of the Port Augusta Power Station, big enough for the large array of mirrors, while benefiting from close proximity to a grid-connection point.

The project was ultimately determined to be technically feasible but not commercially viable due to high capital costs. As a result it was decided not to progress the study further.

Benefit

The feasibility study provided important technical and commercial knowledge for the industry as well as information for the Port Augusta community on how similar projects may be developed.

Last updated 18 November 2020
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