Final approval has been given for the Kogan Creek Solar Boost project in southern Queensland, the world’s largest solar integration with a coal-fired power station.

The Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project will be the largest solar integration with a coal-fired power station in the world when it is operational in 2013. Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited Kogan Creek Power Station on 13 April 2011 to officially launch the project, which involves the installation of a 44 megawatt solar thermal addition to the plant. The solar boost will increase the amount of electricity Kogan Creek Power Station generates by up to 44 megawatts during peak solar conditions – enough to power an additional 5,000 homes per year.   

It will work by using AREVA Solar’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector technology to supply additional steam to the turbine, supplementing the conventional coal-fired steam generation process.  
Funding for the project includes a $70 million contribution from CS Energy and a contribution of more than $34 million from the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Demonstration Program.  CS Energy has received support from the Queensland Government through a contribution of $35.4 million to CS Energy’s Carbon Reduction Program, which has enabled the company to direct funds to the Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project. 

The Federal Government has announced funds to build the largest solar project in the Southern Hemisphere. Final approval has been given for the Kogan Creek Solar Boost project in southern Queensland, what’s believed to be the world’s largest solar integration with a coal-fired power station.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she’s supported this $104 million initiative. "So the power of this beautiful Queensland sunshine will be used to generate enough electricity for 5,000 homes," she said. "That will mean that in generating that electricity, some 36,000 tonnes of carbon pollution will be avoided."

Ms Gillard says she hopes it will be one of many projects under the new carbon tax scheme.The final approval of the project has been welcomed by the mayor of the Western Downs Regional Council, Ray Brown. Cr Brown says while it cements his region as the energy capital of Queensland, it also means extra employment.

"There’s no doubt there’s at least 20 full-time jobs with this project alone and quite a great number in construction."nd it’s got solar energy experts excited too. The University of Queensland’s Professor Paul Meredith is a member of the Premier’s Council for Climate Change.

He says it’s an exciting time for the sector. "I think all of us in the industry think this is a transitional technology, very low risk and very good value for money to be frank and very good bang for your buck in terms of using solar energy to reduce carbon emissions."

Professor Meredith says it could signal a shining future for Australia’s use of solar technology. "We’re playing catch up and I don’t think anyone would argue with that point, but if we build out these solar flagship projects, then we immediately leapfrog many other countries around the world."We’ll have some of the largest solar power plants anywhere in the planet right here in Australia."

CS Energy is also involved in two projects that have been shortlisted in Round One of the Australian Government’s Solar Flagships Program:

  • A Parsons Brinckerhoff proposal to construct a 150 MW solar thermal parabolic trough power station at Kogan Creek, and
  • A Wind Prospect CWP proposal to use linear fresnel technology at Kogan Creek to construct a 250 MW power plant.

The two projects will now share up to $15 million in feasibility funding with six other projects shortlisted under the program.