Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project
CS Energy’s Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project, located in Chinchilla in southwest Queensland, involves a 44 megawatt (MW) solar thermal addition to the 750 MW coal-fired Kogan Creek Power Station.
The $104.7 million project will be the largest solar project in the Southern Hemisphere to date, and the world’s largest solar integration with a coal-fired power station.
The solar thermal addition to Kogan Creek Power Station will enable the power station, already one of Australia’s most efficient coal-fired power stations, to produce more electricity with the same amount of coal. With its 44 MW capacity, the proposed Kogan Creek Solar Boost will provide up to 40,000 MW hours of additional electricity per year.Article continues below…
The project will be the largest deployment of AREVA Solar’s compact linear Fresnel (CLFR) technology in the world. The technology works by using rows of mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight to produce high pressure steam to complement the coal-fired steam.
Site examination and assessment
Kogan Creek Power Station is ideally suited for the installation of a solar thermal system due to its good solar insolation and the fact that the power station is connected to the electricity transmission grid, enabling direct transmission into the network.
The examination of the Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project site focused on the measurement of available solar resource. CS Energy used data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for solar insolation research, and cross–referenced it to other data sets.
In addition, an on-site solar measurement station was established to measure direct solar insolation, indirect and global insolation and general weather parameters. The measurement period extended over one of the wettest periods on record, but the data received via the local measuring station showed a strong correlation with the long-term data sets.
No additional land needed to be acquired for the Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project, as the 30 hectare site is located on CS Energy-owned land, adjacent to the Kogan Creek Power Station.
During the detailed technical feasibility and engineering design phase, Alan Brake, Project Manager for the Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project and his project team worked to ensure that the solar thermal addition to the power station did not adversely impact the operation of the power station.
The construction and operation of the Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project will comply with all of the relevant safety, quality, environmental and cultural heritage legislation and conditions of government bodies.
From the project’s inception, CS Energy has had a small team working on the project’s development. The team, led by Mr Alan Brake, worked closely with technology provider AREVA Solar to develop the project, as well as staff at CS Energy’s Kogan Creek Power Station and engineering consultants WorleyParsons.
During the front end energy design stage, which took place over a ten–month period, CS Energy consulted with the local council, Federal Government and Queensland Government departments and the Industry Capability Network to obtain the relevant project approvals and establish a Cultural Heritage Management Plan, engage the support of local industry and finalise an appropriate environmental management plan.
CS Energy also held community information sessions to provide information about the project to members of the local community and give them an opportunity to ask questions about the technology.
Solar Systems’ Mildura Project
Solar Systems, a subsidiary of Silex Systems, recently announced the commencement of construction work on what will be Australia’s largest solar power station, to be located in Mildura in northwest Victoria. Stage 1 of the project, involving the construction of a demonstration facility of up to 2 MW capacity, is scheduled to be completed in late 2012.
The project will see the first full-scale commercial deployment of a grid-connected solar power station using Solar Systems’ ‘Dense Array’ concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology.
The ‘Dense Array’ CPV technology to be used on the Mildura Project uses multi-junction solar cells, capable of converting sunlight into electricity at around 40 per cent efficiency.
The modules produce around 650 watts of direct–current power in a footprint 340 times smaller than conventional c-silicon solar panels at 500 times the concentration.
The dish concentrators use highly reflective mirrors that focus the light on a patented photovoltaic receiver at 500 times the sun’s energy.
Benefits of CVP
The dish structure used for CPV weighs considerably less than the structures of competing CPV technologies, providing an extremely high wind rating of approximately 147 kms per hour.
Solar Systems’ CPV Technology requires 5 acres per MW installed power capacity and delivers the maximum amount of energy with the least amount of land. Thus, less material and maintenance is required for a maximum return on investment.
Solar System’s CPV technology requires 20 per cent less land than conventional crystalline fixed tilt systems and 60 per cent less than thin film.
Getting to construction
According to Solar Systems' Project Development Manager, Daniel Ruoss, “Having a sufficient volume of solar resource data available is critical for the bankability assessment of a project. Furthermore, after site confirmation, installing a high-quality weather station to gather data for at least one year is a valuable resource.
“In terms of initial site and infrastructure assessment, a critical aspect of the assessment process involves the evaluation of grid-infrastructure to avoid any problems to do with delays and costs that may occur during the implementation phase,” explains Mr Ruoss.
Engaging with energy retailers early in order to secure a power purchase agreement and provide revenue certainty for project investors is another critical aspect of the project assessment process.
“Understanding clearly your project parameters and the resulting economics, in order to present a viable business case to funding parties is extremely important,” explains Mr Ruoss.
Finally, Mr Ruoss advises that reducing operational risks by using high-quality products, proven technologies and collaborating with experienced partners will help with a smooth project inception.
A staged implementation, like the process employed for the Mildura project, has a number of benefits, such as:
- A Stage 1 demonstration project which showcases the technology to build confidence for interested funding parties
- It identifies lessons learned and improvements in the design, planning, construction and commissioning
- It build skills and capacity in tune with the generator power rating
- Performance data from the demonstration facility can be recorded and will help fine-tune the operation and maintenance concept for the future stages
- Local industry capacities and capabilities can be developed to maximise the benefits from the Stage 2 implementation.