Big plans for Jemalong sun

Vast Solar’s James Fisher explainin the solar thermal technology at an industry tour of the pilot project last September.  0913solar (49)
Vast Solar’s James Fisher explainin the solar thermal technology at an industry tour of the pilot project last September. 0913solar (49)

Vast Solar has big plans for Jemalong and you’re invited to learn more about them.

The company is hosting a community information session from 5.30pm tomorrow (Wednesday) to talk about its proposal to expand to a 30 thermal megawatt solar thermal power station.

Vast Solar is currently finalising construction of a six thermal megawatt pilot plant behind the Jemalong polo complex - about 30km from Forbes. 

The small-scale pilot facility includes five solar array modules, each consisting of a 30-metre thermal energy tower and about 700 mirrors.

“The pilot includes three hours’ thermal energy storage - a key feature of concentrating solar thermal technology that allows solar power to be stored and delivered day or night as needed,” a Vast Solar spokesperson said.

Jemalong solar station will be the first project of its type in Australia and will attract national and international interest.

‘It will provide a much-needed reference point for the role that large-scale concentrating solar thermal technology can and should play in Australia’s energy system in the 21st century,” the spokesperson said. 

“The project also provides a great opportunity to demonstrate strong potential for the Central West in large-scale solar power generation and the economic, environmental and employment benefits for the region from this type of sustainable development.”

The six thermal megwatt pilot station should be built by late this year or early next year. A testing and data gathering program is scheduled for 2015.

“Vast Solar has research collaboration agreements with a number of Australian universities and solar energy institutes,” the spokesperson said. 

“Once commissioned, the Jemalong Solar Thermal Pilot plant will continue to be used for research, development and demonstration purposes.  

“Once complete, electricity generated from the facility will be delivered into the Essential Energy electricity distribution system via the West Jemalong substation.”

The planned 30MWth Jemalong Solar Station is a commercial-scale facility.

It will have 90 modules - each consisting of a tower and 30 mirrors or heliostats. 

The heliostats are about two metres high, located 30 to 100 metres from each tower. 

The project also includes building a 66,000 volt overhead transmission powerline as well as inernal access tracks to allow for site maintenance, fencing and vegetation. 

An environmental impact statement is being prepared to assess the impacts of the proposal. It will be placed on public exhibition when available. 

Tonight’s community information session is at the Jemalong Regional Education Centre tomorrow, from 5.30 - 7.30pm. Register interest today by calling 0447 013 444 or emailing megan.bridge@vastsolar.com

Stakeholders are also invited to send questions or feedback via info@vastsolar.com if you are unable to attend the drop-in session. 

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