The power producer operates 512 MW of coal-fired power plants, also called the Port Augusta Power Stations, in South Australia. The plants are nearing the end of their operational life and Alinta has started a two-year study to assess concentrated solar power (CSP) and solar-coal hybrid options at the port. In January the company received AUD 1.13 million (USD 1.1m/EUR 777,000) in grants from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the South Australian government for the project.
According to first results from the feasibility study, the standalone solar tower “offers a greater potential for commercialisation” than hybrid technology. It lowers the integration risks related to the hybridisation, Alinta explained. In addition, the CSP technologu will allow the firm to keep producing power after its coal-fired power plants are no longer operational.