Currently, Australia has about 8.5 MW of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) installed (Liddell and Lake Cargelligo) and 44 MW under operation (Kogan Creek Solar Boost) to come online during 2013.
The Australian Government developed in 2001 a plan to move to a clean energy future, the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) was aimed for the annual production of 9450 GWh from renewable energy sources by 2010. This target was expanded in 2009 to an additional 45000 GWh per year by 2020 (about 20% of the total Australia’s electricity needs). The plan was renamed Renewable Energy Target (RET).
In 2004, Ausra completed a solar field with about 1 MWe in order to supplement the 2000 MW coal-fired Liddell Power Station and subsequently was increased up to 9 MWth by 2008. This was the world’s first solar thermal power collector system for coal‐fired power augmentation. In December 2010, Novatec Solar was awarded the contract to expand the facility with another 9.3 MWth. This phase was completed by October 2012.
On 10th July 2011, the Australian Government announced the establishment of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), as part of its Clean Energy Future package. ARENA was created to coordinate around $3.2 billion in existing grant funding programs supporting research, development and demonstration of new renewable energy technologies.
On 1st July 2012, Australia introduced a carbon tax, a price of $23 per tonne of emitted CO2 on selected fossil fuels consumed by major industrial emitters only. The fixed price of $23 is scheduled to rise by 5% per year.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is leading a program funded with $87 million to drive down the cost of CSP from about 25 to 10-12 cents per kWh.