DeGrussa solar project

  • Project basics

    ARENA Program

    N/A

    Lead Organisation

    Neoen

    Start Date

    Jul 2015

    Project Partners

    Sandfire Resources NL, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, OTOC Australia, Kalgoorlie Power Systems, Juwi Australia

    Location

    Meekatharra, Western Australia

    Status

    Current

Project Basics

ARENA Program

N/A

Lead Organisation

Neoen

Start Date

Jul 2015

Project Partners

Sandfire Resources NL, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, OTOC Australia, Kalgoorlie Power Systems, Juwi Australia

Location

Meekatharra, Western Australia

Status

Current

The project consists of a 10.6 MW (AC) solar PV power plant with storage at the DeGrussa Copper Mine.

Commissioned in June 2016, solar power provides the majority of the mine’s daytime electricity requirements, offsetting up to 20% of total diesel consumption annually. The project aims to increase knowledge and confidence in the use of renewable energy to power off-grid mine sites.

Need

Remote industries in Australia currently rely on 1.2 GW of power from diesel fuel that is prone to price volatility and supply interruptions.

Renewables offer a reliable alternative to trucked-in diesel in off-grid applications. However, renewable energy mining projects face early-mover costs and barriers due to the limited number of projects globally from which to draw knowledge, experience and confidence.

Project innovation

Renewable energy firm juwi partnered with construction firm OTOC to construct the project, which is owned by the French renewable energy firm Neoen.

The DeGrussa mine, owned by Sandfire Resources NL, will purchase the power under a 5.5 year power purchase agreement. The solar PV plant is integrated into the existing 19 MW diesel generator facility, which is owned by independent power producer, Kalgoorlie Power Systems.

Single axis tracking and lithium ion battery storage allow more renewables to be used and will offset approximately 5 million litres of diesel fuel per annum.

A detailed knowledge sharing plan has been developed to share operational data and information about the risks, diesel savings achieved and strategies to enable higher penetrations of renewables.

Benefit

The project is intended to be a world leading example that increases confidence and drives further advancements in the use of renewable energy at mine sites. The project will help drive down first-of-a-kind costs and change perceptions about the risks associated with high penetration and critical load off-grid projects. Project insights to be shared with the market will:

  • Assist mining companies evaluate the risks of high penetration renewable energy integration into diesel power plants.
  • Illustrate the potential diesel and cost savings achievable by renewable energy in a mining setting; and
  • analyse the cost curve and key events that could enable high penetration solar PV opportunities to be economically deployed in Australia without subsidies.

More information

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Weipa 6.7MW solar photovoltaic (PV) solar farm

  • Project basics

    ARENA Program

    N/A

    Lead Organisation

    Weipa Solar Farm Pty Ltd

    Start Date

    Jun 2014

    Project Partners

    First Solar FE Pty Ltd, First Solar (Australia) Pty Ltd

    Location

    Queensland, Weipa

    Status

    Current

Project Basics

ARENA Program

N/A

Lead Organisation

Weipa Solar Farm Pty Ltd

Start Date

Jun 2014

Project Partners

First Solar FE Pty Ltd, First Solar (Australia) Pty Ltd

Location

Queensland, Weipa

Status

Current

The project will construct and operate a 6.7MW solar photovoltaic (PV) solar farm in two stages at Rio Tinto’s remote bauxite operation in Weipa. The system will connect to Rio Tinto’s existing mini-grid at Weipa and deliver electricity according to a long term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Overview

This project involves the two stage construction and operation of a 6.7MW solar photovoltaic (PV) solar farm at Rio Tinto’s remote bauxite operation in Weipa. The first stage of the system is complete and connected to the existing mini-grid at Weipa, delivering electricity under a long term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

This project is the first application of renewable energy to power critical mining operations in a remote location where there is no access to Australia’s main electricity grids.

It is increasing awareness and knowledge within the mining sector of the processes required for developing and operating renewable energy systems in remote off-grid energy locations and the economic benefits that are possible through investment in renewable energy.

The Weipa Solar Farm is complementing existing diesel generation at Weipa with a reliable source of renewable electricity. This is reducing Rio Tinto’s exposure to future fluctuations in diesel fuel prices and also support the company’s commitment to the environment.

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Project details

Volatile commodity prices are placing significant pressure on mining industry operators to reduce risk and costs in order to remain competitive.

Renewable energy solutions can assist mining operations to reduce costs, but the industry will remain sceptical until the economics and reliability of solar energy are proven.

ARENA has provided $3.5 million for the first stage of the project, which will generate up to 1.7MW of electricity.

Subsequent to the completion and sustained operation of the first stage, the second stage of the project will attract an additional $7.8 million to increase the amount of solar energy generated to 6.7MW and facilitate the installation of battery storage.

Stage one of the solar farm, which is now complete, consists of 18,000 PV using First Solar’s thin- solar panels mounted on steel and aluminium structures. It is expected to generate an average of 2620 megawatt hours of electricity each year for the Weipa bauxite mine and processing facilities as well as the surrounding community in Queensland’s Western Cape York Peninsula.

In the middle of the day, electricity generated by the solar farm offsets up to 20% of existing diesel-generated electricity, which is expected to save up to 600,000 litres of diesel each year that would have otherwise been required to fuel Rio Tinto’s 26MW power station.

More information

Media release – 29 Sept 2015: Australia’s first commercial diesel displacement solar plant starts operation
Media release – 29 Sept 2015: Federal Government invests $3.5 million in Solar Plant for North Queensland
Media release – 22 May 2014: Australia’s first renewable powered mine and township

weipa solar farm
weipa solar farm fence
weipa solar farm
weipa solar farm

Vast Solar 6MW concentrating solar thermal pilot project

  • Project basics

    Lead Organisation

    Vast Solar Pty Ltd

    Start Date

    Feb 2014

    Project Partners

    N/A

    Location

    Jemalong, New South Wales

    Status

    Current

Project Basics

Lead Organisation

Vast Solar Pty Ltd

Start Date

Feb 2014

Project Partners

N/A

Location

Jemalong, New South Wales

Status

Current

Vast solar
Vast solar
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This project will provide evidence of the reliable and safe operation of the Vast Solar concentrating solar thermal (CST) system in a pilot-scale demonstration plant, in readiness for the demonstration of Vast Solar’s system at full commercial scale.

Background

In 2012 Vast Solar commenced its 1.2 MW Performance Validation Project which was supported by funding from the then Australian Solar Institute. This involved a single module of Vast Solar’s low-cost, high-performance concentrating solar thermal (CST) power system – a solar field of 700 mirrors focused on a single tower with a thermal energy receiver.

Leveraging private funding raised by Vast Solar from Australian and European investors, ARENA provided funding for Vast Solar to construct a 6MW (th) CST power generation pilot-scale plant comprising five modules and including three hours of thermal energy storage.

This project will demonstrate the reliable and safe operation of the system, gather performance and cost data, refine operational controls and maintenance processes to advance the technology towards commercialisation.

The project will showcase Vast Solar’s low-cost, high efficiency technology, and support marketing plans for the Vast Solar CST system. The plant will connect to the National Electricity Market using Essential Energy’s West Jemalong Substation.

Need

Concentrating solar thermal (CST) power plants harvest the sun’s energy to produce efficient, large-scale solar power generation. A solar array (field of mirrors) reflects the sun’s energy onto a thermal receiver and then to a thermal energy storage system. Energy can be released from storage as required, day and night, to power a traditional steam turbine to generate electricity.

CST with storage can provide reliable, dispatchable energy for electricity generation, for electricity network support, and for industrial processes requiring high efficiency steam supply.

Vast Solar’s CST design, incorporating energy storage, has strong potential to reduce the cost of solar energy to levels comparable with wind energy (around $100 per megawatt hour), with the added value of reliable dispatch of power as and when needed.

Various design strategies are being trialled in the US, Europe and elsewhere to drive down costs for CST systems. However more rapid cost reduction pathways must be demonstrated for CST to become more broadly adopted as a mainstream energy generation technology.

Project innovation

Vast Solar has developed innovative designs for high efficiency/low cost components that enable a step-change reduction in the cost of CST power. These components have been tested individually and as an integrated system through earlier projects executed by Vast Solar.

This pilot scale demonstration is a critical step in proving the Vast Solar low-cost CST system and readying the technology for commercial scale deployment and, ultimately, full commercialisation.. This project will refine components and systems, provide vital information and learnings about the integration of sub-systems to form a safe, reliable operating CST plant delivering high efficiency solar thermal power, integrated thermal energy storage, at a competitive cost.

Vast Solar will:

  • fabricate and deploy 3,500 heliostats (mirrors) in five solar arrays, containing 700 heliostats each
  • construct and deploy five high temperature receivers mounted on individual towers (one tower/receiver for each of the five solar arrays)
  • construct a thermal energy storage system comprising a hot tank (565 degrees Celsius) and ‘cold tank’ (over 200 degrees Celsius) that will capture and store energy for long periods, which can then be released when needed for power generation
  • install and operate a complete steam turbine-based electrical generation system and the balance of plant
  • install and operate a novel modular air-cooled condenser technology, the MACCSol system, which is developed under the European Union’s FP7 program
  • connect the CST power generator to and deliver electricity into the National Electricity Market using Essential Energy’s distribution system.

Data collected from this project will be used to demonstrate the technical performance, cost and long term safety and durability of Vast Solar’s technology, in readiness for commercial deployment.

Vast Solar will provide ARENA with access (on a qualified basis to protect intellectual property) to data and learnings from the project in support of knowledge sharing requirements.

Benefit

This project will provide evidence of the safe operation of the Vast Solar CST system in a fully functioning pilot power generation facility, in readiness for demonstration of the system at full commercial scale.

The project will provide data to validate system cost/efficiency performance and progress towards the sent out energy cost target of $100/MWh.

More information

Media release – 20 May 2014: ARENA supports Vast Solar’s next step towards commercialisation

Moree Solar Farm

  • Project basics

    ARENA Program

    N/A

    Lead Organisation

    Moree Solar Farm Pty Ltd

    Start Date

    Jul 2014

    Project Partners

    Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, Denham Capital

    Location

    Moree, New South Wales

    Status

    Current

Project Basics

ARENA Program

N/A

Lead Organisation

Moree Solar Farm Pty Ltd

Start Date

Jul 2014

Project Partners

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, Denham Capital

Location

Moree, New South Wales

Status

Current

The Moree Solar Farm uses solar photovoltaic-polycrystalline modules and a single-axis horizontal tracking system which allows the modules to follow the sun to maximise power output.
It is connected to Essential Energy’s distribution network, allowing the solar power plant to supply electricity into the grid and compete in the National Electricity Market.

The Moree location was chosen for its high-quality solar resources and proximity to the electricity grid.

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Project details

ARENA provided $101.7 million to support the construction and operation of the 56MW solar power plant by Moree Solar Farm Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of leading worldwide solar company, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV).

The total value of the project is approximately $164 million.

One of the project’s main aims was to demonstrate that large-scale solar power plants could be constructed and operated within Australia’s major electricity grids.

Another objective was to encourage regional development by providing opportunities for direct employment during the construction phase, and indirectly through local service providers. Moree Solar Farm estimates around 150 construction jobs were created, with further local jobs created to support the construction workforce. Five permanent employees now run the plant.

The solar farm is located approximately 10km south of Moree in NSW, at an ideal site with intense levels of solar radiation and proximity to the national electricity grid.

Construction of the facility took place over 2015-16 and now produces enough clean energy to supply around 15,000 homes.

The solar farm is expected to have an operating life of 30 years and generate approximately 4,000 GWh over that time.

Lessons learned

Lessons Learned Report: Moree Solar Farm (PDF 486KB) – lessons learned during the pre-construction period, from site selection and community engagement through to financing and grid connection.

More information

www.frv.com
www.moreesolarfarm.com.au
www.denhamcapital.com

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Carnegie CETO 6 technology

  • Project basics

    Lead Organisation

    Carnegie Clean Energy

    Start Date

    Jun 2014

    Project Partners

    N/A

    Location

    Western Australia

    Status

    Current

Project Basics

Lead Organisation

Carnegie Clean Energy

Start Date

Jun 2014

Project Partners

N/A

Location

Western Australia

Status

Current

The project will deploy three grid-connected CETO 6 units off the coast of Garden Island.

The Carnegie-invented ‘Generation 6’ CETO ocean power units will deliver increased power generation capacity compared to the CETO 5 units. CETO 6 units will improve efficiency and reduce power costs.

Project details

Carnegie will design, construct, deploy and demonstrate a grid-connected wave generation project with up to 3MW peak installed capacity off Garden Island, Western Australia.

This project will use Carnegie’s Australian invented and owned CETO technology, building on the learnings from its Perth Wave Energy Project, and applying these to the next generation, CETO 6.

Project innovation

This project aims to demonstrate the CETO technology in higher sea states and in increased wave power. The units will be located further offshore, where greater wave power is present. The units’ larger size and capacity will result in lower cost of power production.

The CETO 6 buoy oscillates with the ocean’s waves and transfers energy to a power conversion unit located inside the buoy, generating power offshore. This power is transmitted onshore via a subsea cable.

Each CETO 6 unit is expected to be capable of generating up to 1MW approximately four times the generation capacity of the CETO 5 technology used in Carnegie’s Perth Wave Energy Project.

The Australian Department of Defence will purchase the power generated by the project under its power supply agreement with Carnegie, which will provide electricity for HMAS Stirling, Australia’s largest naval base.

Final Array CETO 6
CETO unit
Carnegie CETO 6 technology
Carnegie CETO 6 technology
Carnegie CETO launch
Carnegie CETO 6 technology

More information

News – 15 October 2015: Next generation wave project taking shape
Media release – 30 June 2014: Next generation of landmark Australian wave technology

Related project

Perth Wave Energy Project