South Australian thermal energy storage pioneer 1414 Degrees is set to acquire SolarReserve’s ill-fated Aurora site in Port Augusta to build a solar farm and large-scale storage system.
The Aurora Solar Energy Project, about 300km north of Adelaide, has SA Government development approval for a 70MW solar PV farm and 150MW of generation from a concentrated solar thermal plant.
The AU$650 million plant would have been the biggest of its kind in the world and was approved to incorporate 1100MWh of storage. However, the project was scrapped in April after SolarReserve failed to secure commercial funding for the project.
1414 Degrees is acquiring the Aurora Solar Energy Project and two solar sites in New South Wales, and will fund the $2 million acquisition through cash reserves.
It plans to build up to 400MW of solar PV on the Aurora site and install its TESS-GRID grid-scale thermal energy storage system, which it will scale up over time to several thousand megawatt-hours.
A TESS-GRID at this scale would be able to supply many hours of dispatchable electricity with spinning reserve from its turbines and a range of frequency control ancillary services to support grid stability.
The electrically charged TESS-GRID could also potentially buy and store electricity generated by other renewable farms on the high-voltage transmission network in the region, strengthening firming services and earnings from market arbitrage.
1414 Degrees Executive Chairman Kevin Moriarty thinks that the Port Augusta site has several clear advantages for the development of the TESS-GRID solution.
“The unregulated high-voltage transmission line to the OzMinerals Carrapateena and Prominent Hill mines is being constructed along the boundary of the Aurora Solar Energy Project, and provision has been made for a substation at the existing Aurora site with direct connection to the Davenport substation in Port Augusta,” he said.
“Davenport is part of the major transmission networks to Eyre Peninsula, Adelaide and the new interconnector to New South Wales. This project is currently not impacted by marginal loss factors that have constrained output from renewable farms in remoter parts of the national grid.
“We will reopen negotiations with OzMinerals and ElectraNet as soon as the acquisition is complete” he added.