Australian news, and some related international items

Port Augusta is attracting solar energy developers

Solar energy developers attracted to Port Augusta after power station’s closure, ABC, The World Today 25 Oct 16  By Khama Reid  Solar energy developers are honing their attention on the South Australian city of Port Augusta after the community’s economy took a hit when its largest employer, Alinta Energy, closed its coal-fired power station.

For the past five years, the community has been pushing for a transition from coal to renewable energy, which is now steps closer to becoming reality.

Residents and those in the neighbouring city of Whyalla brag the region gets “300 days of sunshine” a year.

Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson said the tagline had become more than just a tourism slogan with solar companies getting serious about development in the region.

“Reach Solar have made an application to the State Government as recent as only a few weeks ago for a very real project here at Port Augusta using solar PV [photovoltaic],” Mr Johnson said.

We know there’s Solastor and Solar Reserve both looking at large scale solar thermal technology, both in the vicinity of $1 billion projects.”

Mr Johnson said one of the further progressed proposals was for the DP Energy Renewable Energy Park to the south of the city.

“DP Energy actually has planning approval and will be the largest wind and solar PV farm in Australia and actually the first to have not just wind but solar PV technology as well.”

Queensland and SA ‘real hot markets’ for solar

Renew Economy editor Giles Parkinson said the spike in interest was not surprising. “There’s two real hot markets for solar at the moment, that’s Queensland and South Australia and in South Australia around the Port Augusta/Whyalla area and that comes from two things,” Mr Parkinson said.

“One is the excellent sunshine, but also the high wholesale electricity prices.

“They rely so much on gas to set the price of generation, and the price of gas has gone up, so the wholesale price has gone up as well.”

Mr Parkinson said solar was becoming a more affordable investment option.

“I guess the overwhelming driver is the reduction in costs of solar PV, it’s actually falling to a point where it can actually compete with wind energy.”

He said the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) previously funded wind farm developments, but in its latest round awarded more than $91 million to solar photovoltaic projects across the country……

October 27, 2016 - Posted by | solar, South Australia

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