Jemalong CSP Pilot Plant – 1.1MWe
Since 2009, Vast Solar has undertaken CSP research, development and demonstration in NSW. The 6MWth (1.1.MWe) Jemalong CSP Pilot Plant is located 30km west of Forbes, NSW.
The 6MWth (1.1.MWe) pilot plant was commissioned, with electricity sent to the grid in January 2017 via connection with the Essential Energy electricity distribution system, via the West Jemalong substation. Throughout 2018 Vast Solar’s team have undertaken performance and operational testing to further validate our models and numbers and to confirm our ability to operate safely and effectively, thus further confirming proof of concept of Vast Solar’s technology.
On-site works for this pilot commenced in April 2014 building upon knowledge gained from two smaller prior demonstration facilities also developed at Jemalong. This modular, 3,500 heliostat pilot facility, is Australia’s first grid-connected CSP plant with thermal energy storage, designed to achieve high efficiency at low cost. Each of its five, small array-modules concentrate solar radiation on a dedicated thermal receiver tower 27 metres in height. The five modules connect to a central thermal energy storage tank, from which the stored thermal energy is passed through a steam generator to make steam for a 1.1MWe turbine and electricity generator.
Project highlights include the pilot’s thermal energy storage system that can support the ability to dispatch renewable energy – on-demand – day or night. The pilot is also one of the first in the world to deploy the MACCSol air cooled condenser developed through a European Union funded project and the MACCSol Consortium that we at Vast are proudly part of (www.drycooledcsp.eu). MACCSol condensor technology uses no water in the cooling cycle and has been specifically designed for CSP plants and other thermal energy systems deployed in water-scarce locations around the globe.
A project that showcases Australian research and engineering innovation in regional Australia
The Jemalong CSP Pilot Plant facility has been made possible by Vast Solar’s major private investor, AGCentral Pty Ltd, technical support from Doosan-Skoda Power and government funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
The facility is an exciting showcase of Australian research and engineering innovation. Going forward, it will also be used by Vast Solar and research partners that include the Australian National University, The University of South Australia, the University of Adelaide and the University of New South Wales to undertake research to further enhance Vast’s CSP system performance.
We’re proud to be member of the Forbes community and of the Central West region of NSW. Over the course of the pilot’s construction we have created in excess of fifty jobs, including many permanent roles involved in operations, construction and further engineering as well as procuring services and materials from local consultants and businesses. We have injected in excess of $5,000,000 into the local economy and shared our business and innovation journey with local businesses, suppliers, contractors and individuals who have joined our staff.
At Vast Solar, we see worldwide opportunities, and believe that our modular system, small heliostats, low-profile towers and easily installed foundations make the design flexible, sensitive to local habitats, and less visible while requiring little civil engineering work and largely preserving ground-cover.
In parallel, we are progressing plans to develop the Jemalong Hybrid Solar Park. This will involve development of a 50MW PV Plant and construction of a 30MWe utility-scale CSP plant also at Jemalong. When approved, we anticipate construction of the 50MW PV Plant will commence in mid 2018. Construction of the 30MW facility will take some 22 months once the project reaches financial close, and will be subsequent to final commissioning of the CSP Pilot Plant and construction of the 50MW PV plant.