Commissioning of Kogan Creek ‘Solar Boost’ project delayed until 2015

Australia will have to wait another year before witnessing the start of production from its first large scale solar thermal energy plant, following delays at the 44MW Kogan Creek solar booster project in Queensland.

The project near Chinchilla in the south west of the state is designed to use solar thermal technology to create steam for use in the coal-fired powered station, and reduce the amount of coal burned.

It was to have been completed late last year, but it seems that delays – apparently the collapse of one of the equipment suppliers and unspecified commercial issues – means it will now not be commissioned until 2015.

The project is using Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) technology that was developed by Australian-founded Ausra and is now owned by French nuclear giant Areva.

Kogan Creek is owned by CS Energy and the $104 million project is receiving $35 million in grants from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. On completion, it’s believed the solar thermal addition will be the world’s largest solar integration with a coal-fired power station.

Areva said last week that it had encountered “difficulties” at the Kogan Creek project, and CS Energy confirmed the delays.

CS Energy CEO Martin Moore said a “combination of factors”, including the receivership, had flowed into scheduling and commercial issues that CS Energy and AREVA Solar are working to resolve. On-site works had been halted while those issues were resolved.

He expected phase 2 of the construction, which will involve the assembly and lifting of receivers, installation of the remaining reflectors, interconnecting foundations and pipework, the tie-in of SSGs and the interconnection to the power station, to start soon.

“While we are disappointed that the project is taking longer than expected to complete, the issues we’ve been working through are not uncommon for commercial-scale projects,” he said.

Top image via CS Energy

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson