250MW ‘Solar Dawn’ Project Gets Green Light in Australia, World’s Largest Solar-Gas Hybrid Plant

Marrying zero-carbon solar energy and low-emission gas will be critical to meeting our growing energy demands in a sustainable and economical way. Today, this application got a shot in the arm with the green lighting of the world’s largest solar-gas hybrid plant. As part of its Solar Flagships Program, the Australian government selected the proposed 250MW ‘Solar Dawn’ solar thermal-gas hybrid power plant to be its preferred solar thermal power project. The Australian Commonwealth and Queensland Governments announced their commitment to contribute AUS$464 million and AUS$75 million, respectively, to the project. It will utilize AREVA’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector technology.

The Solar Flagships Program aims to provide the foundation for large-scale, grid-connected solar power and accelerate the commercialization of solar power in Australia. It is a key component of the Australian Governments AUS$5 billion Clean Energy Initiative.

Coming on the heels of AREVA’s Kogan Creek booster project announcement in April, the ‘Solar Dawn’ project is led by a consortium of AREVA Solar, CS Energy and Wind Prospect CWP. Today’s funding announcement follows the completion of feasibility and design studies by the consortium members and will now allow for project development and contractual processes to be completed by year’s end.

AREVA Solar CEO Bill Gallo commended the Australian government on its vision for a low-carbon economy and explained the significance of this milestone power project:

The Solar Flagships Program demonstrates the Australian government’s support for renewable energy. This announcement represents another significant milestone in the creation of a world-class clean energy industry in Australia.

Solar Dawn will be an international showcase for the nation, using Australia’s abundant solar resource and AREVA Solar’s Australian-pioneered Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector technology to combine zero-carbon solar energy with a low-emission, gas boiler back-up system to efficiently produce clean, reliable power to meet growing energy demand.

Once completed, the project will be one of the most sustainable power plants in the world. Its simple, innovative design will even deliver energy when the sun isn’t shining.

Moving forward, the ‘Solar Dawn’ consortium is set to work closely with key government, business and community stakeholders to finalize all relevant approvals and financing plans, including engineering, procurement, construction, operations and maintenance contracts. The project’s formal announcement can be found here.