Full feasibility study into Port Augusta solar

Alinta Energy has received a $1 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and a further $130,000 in funding from the South Australian Government for a full feasibility study of solar thermal and hybrid operations at its Port Augusta Power Stations.

The $2.3 million project will involve an assessment and technical analysis of the viability of solar thermal generation in Port Augusta, with a view to future development of large-scale solar at site.

The two-year study will progress work already undertaken by Alinta Energy and will include a formal site selection based on environmental, infrastructure and community constraints; calibration and comprehensive assessment of solar resource data; plant design options; and assessment of network connection capabilities.

Alinta Energy chief executive officer Jeff Dimery said, as the largest private employer in the region, the company is excited about the opportunities to enhance its workforce capability and to support the local economy.

“We are grateful for the contributions of the Federal Government and state governments, which was necessary to bring this to life. Also, thank you to the Port Augusta community for their ongoing support,” he said.

Alinta Energy will release further information, including regular progress reports, on a dedicated website as the study progresses.

The Port Augusta Power Stations, consisting of the 272MW Northern Power Station and the 240MW Playford B Power Station, currently operate using coal-fired energy generation. As the ageing power stations are approaching their use-by dates, Alinta is performing an evaluation of the sites viability to operate using solar thermal generation.

The company has previously said if a 40-50MW solar thermal plant were built at the site, electricity generation would be guaranteed for another 15-20 years.