Solar Thermal Generation Milestone

3/07/2014
Another milestone reached in Alinta Energy’s full feasibility study into solar thermal generation.

Alinta Energy is pleased to announce two recommendations that complete the second milestone of its two-year feasibility study into solar thermal generation at Port Augusta.
Following completion of the Options Study and Siting Study, Alinta Energy has chosen to pursue an assessment of standalone power tower technology at a location to the south east of Augusta Power Stations.

Both recommendations follow a robust assessment against multiple criteria involving third-party engineering firm, Parsons Brinckerhoff. Both studies (Options and Siting), as well as an overview of Alinta Energy’s assessment (Milestone 2 Report) are now available on the Alinta Energy website (alintaenergy.com.au/solarthermal).

Standalone power tower technology was selected following a weighting process that considered technological maturity (and experience in operation), predictability, land usage, risks to integration or operations and dual financial metrics: total installed cost and levelised cost of energy. In addition to the formal weighted criteria, Alinta Energy believes that standalone technology offers a greater potential for commercialisation than hybrid – mitigating the integration risks associated with hybridisation and offering potential generation opportunities beyond the life of its current coal-fired operations.

‘There are real and significant challenges to developing and constructing solar thermal technology, including capital costs that are currently prohibitive,’ said Ken Woolley, Executive Director Power Generation at Alinta Energy.

‘However, Alinta Energy is committed to completing the solar thermal full feasibility study with the due diligence it warrants. This will provide a comprehensive information-base for potential investment partners to consider should the cost of technology or regulatory environment change.’

Alinta Energy has also selected a site to inform the remainder of the study. A location to the south-east of the Augusta Power Station premises was preferred following a selection process that considered proximity to a connection point (power or sub-station), environmental and heritage impacts, slope and flooding potential and land use (or ability to acquire).

The $2.3 million two-year full feasibility study received $1 million of support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and $130,000 from the South Australian Government. Stage one of the study will continue through the end of 2014. A Balance of Study report is scheduled to be submitted ARENA in early 2015, with release to the public by March 2015. This will contain a full description of the prospective solar thermal power plant at the preferred site. Stage 2 of the study will take place during 2015 and will refine study data to an accuracy of +/- 15%.

Media Contact:
Julianna Klose
T: 02 9372 2630
M: 0488 107 198
E: julianna.klose@alintaenergy.com.au