Australia concedes lead in solar thermal technology to South Africa

REneweconmy 12 November 2012.

It is ironic that in the same week that the ambitious $1.2 billion Solar Dawn solar thermal project in south-west Queensland should finally be put to rest, construction of two solar thermal projects – with storage – should begin in South Africa.

The last chance for the Solar Dawn consortium led by French nuclear giant Areva for the construction of a 250MW solar thermal plant in Queensland, or even a scaled down version of it, was removed when the Australian Renewable Energy Agency rejected its funding proposal – after the federal government had done so under the previous Solar Flagships program.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, the Spanish group Abengoa last week began construction of two solar thermal projects boasting a mixture of solar tower and parabolic trough technologies. The 50MW Khi Solar One and 100MW KaXu Solar One CSP (concentrating solar power, another name for solar thermal) projects will feature storage and dry cooling technologies, to reduce water demands…

(Editor’s note: We are leading, this is encouraging!)

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