Australia's Solar Thermal Opportunity
Solar thermal power makes sense for Australia – economically and environmentally – as a major industry and a major power source for the 21st century.
Research in Australia and internationally continues to highlight the benefits of solar thermal power generation in modern electricity systems:
- dispatchable renewable energy using mature thermal energy storage, able to deliver power into the electricity grid when most needed, day or night
- stable, reliable power generation to support electricity network stability, complementing other more variable renewable energy technologies such as wind and photovoltaic power
- reliable electric power and high-temperature steam for mining and industrial processes, reducing fuel costs and pricing risks for Australia’s economy
- easily integrated with other thermal power sources such as biomass, geothermal and gas for reliable 24/7 hybrid power generation.
Australia has access to world-class solar thermal technologies, world-class solar research capability, and proven strengths in large-scale project development, construction and finance. We have world-class solar resources and a clear need for large-scale renewable energy generation.
For our solar-rich, solar-capable nation, solar thermal power is an industry offering huge domestic and international opportunities.
Government and private studies show that solar energy will become a major source of Australia’s and the world’s power in the 21st century - the solar thermal industry will grow to meet world demand. This is why major energy investors including Transfield, ACS Cobra, Abengoa, Areva, Alstom, GE, ABB, Mitsubishi and others are investing in solar thermal power.
Australia has the potential to be a leader in the growing global market for solar thermal power – in technologies, project development capability, finance, research and skills:
- Australian companies are investing in R&D and developing projects using concentrating solar thermal power technology;
- The international market for solar thermal technologies and project expertise is growing rapidly;
- Australian universities are leading solar thermal science and technology, producing highly qualified graduates – more graduates will be needed to meet growing local and international demand;
- Australia has a mandated market for electricity from renewable sources –20% by 2020.
Large-scale solar thermal power generation can provide substantial economic benefits to Australia including job creation, industry and regional development, and improvements to the economic efficiency of Australia’s renewable electricity generation portfolio.
AUSTELA is working with organisations such as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), CSIRO, Clean Energy Council, the Australian Solar Council and others to support research and demonstration of solar thermal power in Australia.