Australian $1.2 billion 250 megawatt Solar Dawn Project will not take off after the consortium building Solar Dawn said that it no longer plans to develop the country’s largest solar energy project.
”The Solar Dawn Consortium has today confirmed that although it remains committed to Australia’s large-scale concentrated solar power industry, it will no longer be pursuing development of its proposed 250MW solar thermal power facility in South-West Queensland,” the company said in a statement.
The Solar Dawn Consortium includes, French energy giant Areva’s subsidiary Areva Solar, a global designer, manufacturer and installer of solar steam generators and provides performance guarantees for its Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) technology and renewable energy generation, and Wind Prospect CWP, a global developer of utility-scale renewable energy projects.
The project is backed by the Australian government and research partner the University of Queensland.To be built near Chinchilla in South West Queensland, Solar Dawn is a proposed 250 megawatt solar thermal gas hybrid power plant and was supposed to be the largest plant of its kind in the world when completed.
The Australian and Queensland governments had pledged to contribute $464 million and $75 million, respectively, to the project.
Queensland government power utility CS Energy, was to operate the plant and provide the power purchase agreement for the project.
The Solar Dawn project consists of approximately 450 hectares of infrastructure including a ‘solar field’ containing the mirrors and steam boiler tubes, and a ‘power block’ with the steam turbine generators and ancilliary equipment.
The project, due to commence operation in early 2015 following a three-year construction timeframe, had already received development approvals from the Western Downs Regional Council for the power plant site and assembly facility.
In addition, a $68 million contract had been finalised with the University of Queensland for the research and development programme of the project.
The Queensland government had in July backed out from the project after the Solar Dawn Consortium failed to meet a 30 June 30 financing deadline and to reach a power-supply agreement with CS Energy. It said that it wanted the project delayed due to ”dynamic market conditions.”
CS Energy was concerned that it would not be able to sell the output from the Solar Dawn project to customers since the price per unit would be too high.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency was established in 2011 in order to deliver renewable energy in regional locations where ”energy consumption is forecast to increase and where fossil fuel- based generation costs are the greatest.”