The Australian Solar Energy Society arranged a field trip to Australia’s largest solar thermal power station recently. The plant is part of Macquarie Generation’s Liddell Power Station in the Hunter Valley. Novatec Solar has been awarded the contract to build the new 9MW thermal solar field at Liddell, which will complement the existing plant, a world first integration of solar thermal technology with a traditional power station. “The new and existing plants combined will generate renewable energy for over 1000 average Australian homes every year Macquarie Generation Chief Executive Mr Grant Every-Burns said when the project was announced in December 2010.
The project has received $9.25 million from the NSW Climate Change Fund Renewable Energy Development Program, established to support emerging renewable energy technologies. During its anticipated 20-year operational life, the solar field will cut greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 5,000 tonnes per annum.
The technology works by directing the sun’s heat through the mirror arrays to generate steam, which when piped into an existing power station, can be used to generate electricity or reduce the amount of fuel needed to operate the power station.