The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is seeking industry information on the costs and benefits of concentrated solar power (CSP) as it needs to determine the scope and focus of government assistance for such projects in Australia.
Industry participants, such as project proponents, debt and equity investors and original equipment manufacturers, can send responses and enquiries to [email protected] by July 31.
“These fresh efforts will seek to map out and support a pathway for CST to achieve commercial viability in Australia,” said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht. The plan is also supported by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
Respondents to the call by ARENA need to share their views on key aspects such as the regulatory, commercial, market or technical barriers and opportunities facing CSP, also called concentrated solar thermal (CST), and major risks for such projects and how they might be best mitigated. They are also asked to state their preferred energy and certificate offtake arrangements.
ARENA’s invitation is in line with a Federal Government offer to make up to AUD 110 million (USD 84.3m/EUR 76.5m) available for an equity investment to speed up and secure delivery of a CSP project in Port Augusta.
Unlike solar PV, CSP can ensure more stable generation even after the Sun has set thanks to built-in energy storage capacity.
"The benefits of CST will become increasingly important as more renewables enter our grid, particularly in regions like South Australia that already have high levels of wind and solar PV generation,” Frischknecht noted.