Solar Dawn Project Director Anthony Wiseman said that while the project delay represented a set-back, the consortium – made up of AREVA Solar and Wind Prospect, after CS Energy pulled out – will pursue discussions with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Queensland Government to move Solar Dawn forward based on the project’s advanced status and the strong economic and environmental benefits it offers to the state and the country.
AREVA now has a board in place, and its newly-appointed Chief Executive Ivor Frischknecht will head up $3.2 billion in funding to support the research, development and deployment of renewable energy in Australia.
The Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) said that it is deeply disappointed with the Queensland Government's decision to axe funding to the project, as it will put Australia at the forefront of the global solar thermal industry. AuSES is seeking industry feedback on the decision.
The Solar Flagships funding program was recently re-opened to other projects by the Federal Government.Article continues below…
“Solar Dawn is well-positioned to bring large-scale solar power to the forefront of energy production in Australia and help realise Queensland’s potential as a world-leading producer of more efficient, reliable and renewable energy,” Mr Wiseman said.
“It represents a $1.5 billion economic investment in Queensland, delivering 300 construction jobs, local manufacturing and a $68 million solar research program for The University of Queensland,” he added.
The consortium reported progress in other areas of the project, with development approvals received from the Western Downs Regional Council for the power plant site and assembly facility and the contract finalised with The University of Queensland for the research and development program.
The project includes development of a 250 MW solar thermal power plant in Chinchilla, southwest Queensland, to be operated and maintained by AREVA.