Chinchilla solar project to cut coal consumption

The largest solar thermal project in Australia is coming to Queensland’s rural town of Chinchilla. Many residents in nearby areas already use solar thermal technology in their rooftop solar hot water systems.

The Federal government in partnership with the state government have approved one of the biggest solar thermal projects in the world and confirmed funding to build a solar energy system on the site of an exisiting coal-fired power station near Chinchilla in Queensland. This type of arrangement is known as a complementary or hybrid generation plant, to reflect the combined nature of the power source.

The exciting part of the project is that the $104.7 million Kogan Creek Solar Boost scheme will be the largest integration of solar technology with a coal-fired power station in the world. The innovative solar project will complement the Kogan Creek Power Station’s existing coal fired boiler to increase the station’s electricity output and fuel efficiency, reducing running costs and emissions.

Prime Minister Gillard said the project, which relies on Australian-pioneered solar thermal energy technology, is an excellent example of the type of clean energy we want to encourage in Australia. The technology is widely known in the industry as Ausra, however, the company is now part of French giant Areva’s solar division, Areva Solar.

For once, local technology will be staying here to benefit Australians.

The project will create up to 120 jobs when building work starts later this year, with the technology supplier planning to manufacture the solar hardware locally. The Federal Government will provide $34.9 million to help build the project. The go-ahead means solar-generated electricity from Kogan Creek will be powering Queensland homes and businesses by 2013.


Like the other Solar Flagship projects, the plant benefits from the Clean Energy Initiative. The Australian Government is supporting renewable and clean energy technologies through the $5 billion Clean Energy Initiative.


Solar collectors - Source: AREVA Solar

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