A concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) solution will deliver low-cost renewable energy to Mount Isa, the MineX exhibition heard last week.
Lachie Roberts, head of construction at Vast Solar told the audience his company were in a partnership with government-owned power corporation Stanwell to bring together the North West Queensland Hybrid Power Project (NWQHPP).
Mr Roberts said Vast Solar's core innovation was modular tower concentrating solar thermal power and Mount Isa was the ideal location for a hybrid plant for baseload low emission power resources thanks to its excellent year-round sunshine and strong demand from the local mining industry.
CSP has three components: collection via mirrors, storage via thermal battery and buffers, and a generator.
"The NWQHPP will demonstrate the advantages of CSP as the anchor technology for hybrid plants," Mr Roberts said.
That meant using photovoltaic solar panels to power the plant during the day smoothed by a Battery Energy System Storage (BESS), with CSP to power up overnight when the sun is no longer shining.
There is also a gas back-up component to cover outages and bad weather conditions.
Mr Roberts said the combined CSP, PV array and BESS solution would result in 85pc renewable solar baseload energy.
At the moment the $600m project is in the feasibility study for a plant 15km west of Mount Isa at May Downs Station.
They hope to reach Final Investment Decision at end quarter 1 2022 and gain Notice to Proceed by end Q2 2022.
Construction would then take place with commissioning expected in 2024.
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