Wizard Power CSP "Big Dish"

Whyalla solar plant: full steam ahead!

The Whyalla Solar Oasis concentrating solar-thermal plant appears to be progressing, according to recent news reports.

Wizard Power, owner of the Australian-designed Big Dish solar concentrator technology, describes the plant like this:

The Whyalla SolarOasis will use 300 Wizard Power Big Dish solar thermal concentrators to deliver a 40MWe solar thermal power plant, and will be built 4km north of Whyalla, South Australia. The plant is designed as a peaking power plant operating in the day and early evening to deliver electricity when it is most in demand.

Wizard Power CSP "Big Dish"
Photo provided by Wizard Power

Giles Parkinson at Renew Economy explains that:

It will comprise around 330 “big dish” solar thermal concentrators, which each have 500 square metres of high tech mirrors capable of generating temperatures in excess of 1500C. The energy is concentrated onto a receiver to produce super critical hot steam which then drives a turbine to produce electricity.

The dishes will be manufactured and assembled on-site using Wizard Power’s Factory-in-the-Field. The project is expected to result in the direct generation of over 200 jobs in Whyalla during the two year manufacturing and construction period.

The “big dish” technology was originally developed at the ANU and is now held by Wizard Power. The developers of the project are National Power and Sustainable Power Partners.

Wizard Power "Big Dish" rear view
Photo provided by Wizard Power

The project was held up waiting for adequate funding arrangements, like so many renewables projects. Kate Bilney reported in the 15 March Whyalla News:

The development of a $230 million solar oasis project is a step closer to completion.

A funding deed has been signed by the private sector consortium, Sustainable Power Partners and the Commonwealth government.

Councillor Eddie Hughes said he was pleased to see the sign off for the $60 million funding deed following prolonged negotiations, and hoped work would be completed to schedule.

“The intent now is to see the first stage commissioned by 2014,” he said.

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