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Repowering Port Augusta


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Repowering Port Augusta

  1. 1. Executive Summary 1 Port Augusta: South Australia’s Power Centre1. Executive SummaryRepowering PA is a plan to replace Northern and Playford volatility at the light switch that they now experience at thebrown coal power plants at Port Augusta with renewable petrol pumpenergy. A gas future would increase South Australia’s dependence on unconventional gas from interstate or high cost and emissions intensive shale gas from the cooper basin. It wouldSix solar thermal power towers and ninety wind turbines also compromise the state’s energy security with the constantwould replace these power plants and provide secure, risk of exposure to catastrophic accidents like Westernaffordable electricity to South Australia and the Eastern Australian Varanus Island or Victorian Longford explosionsAustralian grid. of recent years, that cost lives and caused billions of dollars damage to the respective state economies.3.1. Port Augusta: South Australia’s Power Centre • A gas future would also lead to around a 90% reduction in power generation jobs in Port August. The cost ofThe development would secure the 250 jobs completely replacing both power plants at Port Augustaof local power station workers, as well creating 1300 with renewable energy as detailed in this scenario wouldconstruction jobs and at least 250 manufacturing jobs for be equivalent to a 1c power price increase if the cost wereSouth Australia. levelled across South Australian electricity consumers orThe terrible health problems faced by the people of Port a 0.3c price rise if it was spread across the eastern statesAugusta for the last 50 years would be completely eliminated, grid that Port Augusta is a part of. This is equivalent toas would the significant greenhouse gas emissions produced one 30th or one 100th of the electricity price rises beingby coal power plants predicted by the AEMC to occur anyway over the next few years.This proposal would help Australia to take advantage of our This is a proposal for energy security, power price stability,natural competitive advantage of abundant solar energy. jobs, emissions reductions and great economic and healthIt would make South Australia a world leader in renewable outcomes. It is achievable and affordable. It is a once in aenergy, and Port Augusta would become an iconic global hub generationfor baseload solar power generation. Repowering Port Augusta FIGURE 1. It is achievable and affordable. It is a once in a generationThe alternative of replacing Port Augusta with gas powerstations would tie South Australia to highly volatile andincreasing international gas prices. As Australian LNG exportsincrease over the next few years, the cost of gas for domestic A blueprint to replace Northern and Playford B coal powerelectricity generation will move closer to international prices, stations with renewable energyand is expected to rise sharply . As Australian gas prices become linked to the global oil price, South Australian will begin to experience the same price »» 1800 jobs »» Protect the health of the Port Augusta community »» 5 million tonnes of CO2 saved each year »» Lower and stable electricity prices »» Energy security for South Australia
  2. 2. Repowering Port AugustaAbove: Abengoa PS20 power plant Spain. Courtesy Markel RodondoAbove: Professor Ross Garnaut, Jayne Garnaut and Tony Windsor visiting the Torresol Gemasolar powerplant in Spain, 2011
  3. 3. Executive Summary 3 Port Augusta: South Australia’s Power Centre1. Executive SummaryTable of ContentsRepowering PA is a plan to replace Northern and Playford volatility at the light switch that they now experience at the Table of Contentsbrown coal power plants at Port Augusta with renewable petrol pump 2energy. A gas future would increase South Australia’s dependence Part 1. Executive Summary 4 on unconventional gas from interstate or high cost and emissions intensive shale gas from the cooper basin. It would Part 2. IntroductionSix solar thermal power towers and ninety wind turbines 5 also compromise the state’s energy security with the constantwould replace these power plants and provide secure, Part 3. Context risk of exposure to catastrophic accidents like Western 6affordable electricity to South Australia and the Eastern Australian Varanus Island or Victorian Longford explosionsAustralian grid. 3.1. Port Augusta: South Australia’s Power Centre of recent years, that cost lives 6 caused billions of dollars and 3.2. Port Augusta’s Renewable Resource damage to the respective state economies. 7 3.3. Carbon Policy 73.1. Port Augusta: South Australia’s Power Centre 3.4. Port Augusta: Renewable Energy Super Power • A gas future would also lead to around a 90% reduction 8 in power generation jobs in Port August. The cost of Part 4. Technology OverviewThe development would secure the 250 jobs 9 completely replacing both power plants at Port Augustaof local4.1. Concentrating Solar Thermal 1300 power station workers, as well creating 9 with renewable energy as detailed in this scenario wouldconstruction jobs and at least 250 manufacturing jobs for 4.2. Wind Power be equivalent to a 1c power price increase if the cost were 16South Australia. levelled across South Australian electricity consumers or 4.3. Gas: A false Choice 17The terrible health problems faced by the people of Port a 0.3c price rise if it was spread across the eastern statesAugusta for the last 50 years would Augusta Part 5. Repowering Port be completely eliminated, grid that Port Augusta is a23 of. This is equivalent to partas would the significant greenhouse gas emissions produced one 30th or one 100th of the electricity price rises being 5.1. Technologies and Specifications predicted by the AEMC to 23 anyway over the next few occurby coal power plants 5.2. Implementing the Replacement years. 23 5.3. Environmental Impacts 25This proposal Benefits for Port Augusta and Australia 5.4. would help Australia to take advantage of our This is a proposal for energy 26 security, power price stability,natural competitive advantage of abundant solar energy. jobs, emissions reductions and great economic and health 5.5. Summary 27It would make South Australia a world leader in renewable outcomes. It is achievable and affordable. It is a once in a Part 6. Policy and funding opportunitiesenergy, and Port Augusta would become an iconic global hub generation 28for baseload solar power generation. 6.1. Financing CST 28 6.2. Policy Options and Support Mechanisms 29 FIGURE 1. It is achievable and affordable. It is a once in a generationThe alternative of replacing Port Augusta with gas power Part 7. Conclusionstations would tie South Australia to highly volatile and 31increasing international gas prices. As Australian LNG exports Part 8. Appendix A: Employment Opportunitiesincrease over the next few years, the cost of gas for domestic 32electricity generation will move closer to international prices, 8.1. Construction Jobs 32and is expected to rise sharply . 8.2. Permanent Jobs 32 8.3. Heliostat Manufacturing Jobs: 32 As Australian Appendix B: Emissions the Coal and Gas Part 9. gas prices become linked to of global oil price 33, South Australian will begin to experience the same price Part 10. Appendix C: Feed-in Tariff Calculations 34 Contact Us 35
  4. 4. Executive Summary 4 Repowering Port Augusta1. Executive SummaryRepowering Port Augusta is a blueprint for replacing the Australia will begin to experience the same price volatility atemissions intensive Northern and Playford B brown coal the light switch that they now experience at the petrol pump.power plants at Port Augusta with renewable energy. This A gas powered future would increase South Australia’sproposal would help Australia to take advantage of our dependence on unconventional gas from interstate or highnatural competitive advantage of abundant solar energy. It cost and emissions intensive shale gas from the Cooper Basin.would enable South Australia to become a world leader in It would also compromise the state’s energy security with therenewable energy, and Port Augusta would become an iconic risk of exposure to catastrophic accidents like the Westernglobal hub for baseload solar power generation. Australian Varanus Island or Victorian Longford explosionsThis scenario does not include solar photovoltaic power (solar of recent years, which cost lives and have caused billions ofPV), as the focus is on providing baseload/ dispatchable power dollars damage to the respective state economies7.that solar thermal power plants are able to deliver. However A gas powered future would also lead to a significanteither utility scale photovoltaic power plants, or solar panels reduction in power generation jobs in Port Augusta. Theon households and factories could certainly be incorporated recently completed 500MW Mortlake gas fired poweredinto the mix, and there would be be cost advantages in doing station in Victoria provides employment for only 10 fullso. Solar PV is a crucial renewable power source and should be time staff8. Even if twice as many were employed at a largerencouraged at all levels of government additional to this plan. 760 MW gas plant (enough to replace the entire capacity ofSix solar thermal power towers and ninety wind turbines would Northern and Playford B), this is only a small fraction of thereplace these power plants and provide secure, affordable currently employed workforce of 2509. Replacement withelectricity to South Australia and the Eastern Australian grid. The gas would, in the best case scenario, also lock in almost 2development would more than secure the existing 250 jobs at million tonnes of emissions10 per annum for the next 30-local power stations1, as well creating 1,300 construction jobs 50 years, and exposes Port Augusta to the environmentallyand 225 manufacturing jobs for South Australia2. controversial Coal Seam Gas. If fugitive emissions of the level being found in unconventional gas fields in the US areThe health problems faced by the people of Port Augusta included11, the emissions rate may be only marginally betterare well documented, with the region having double the than coal, and perhaps even worse.number of cases of lung cancer than the expected stateaverage according to the Health Minister3. Patients with lung The cost of completely replacing both power plants at Portcancer, (with no history of smoking) as well as patients with Augusta with renewable energy as detailed in this scenariobronchitis, asthma and sinus problems are regularly treated would be equivalent to a 1c12 per kWh12 power price increasein Port Augusta, with many blaming the power stations, and if the cost were levelled across South Australian electricitythe high levels of ash in the air3. These health issues could be consumers. If it was spread across the eastern states gridcompletely eliminated, as would the significant greenhouse (which the Port Augusta plants are a part of) it would result ingas emissions produced by coal power plants (almost a 0.21 c per kWh price rise11. This is one 30th of the electricity5 000 000 tonnes per annum4), by transitioning to a clean price rises predicted to occur by the AEMC13 out to 2013.renewable energy power source. This proposal outlines a pathway to energy security, powerThe proposed alternative, replacing the plants with gas-fired price stability, increased jobs, emissions reductions andpower stations, would tie South Australia to highly volatile beneficial economic and health outcomes. Its stipulatedand increasing international gas prices. As Australian LNG outcomes prove achievable and affordable. It is a once inexport volumes increase over the next few years, the cost a generation opportunity that all South Australians, and allof gas for domestic electricity generation will move closer Australians should support. It presents an opportunity thatto international prices, and is expected to rise sharply5. our state and federal governments cannot afford to miss.Australian gas prices are also expected to become linked tothe global oil price6, further increasing price volatility. South 7 Parliament of Australia (Senate), Report: Matters relating to the gas explosion at Varanus Island WA Available at: ics_ctte/wa_gas_08/report/c02.pdf1 MP Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Member for Stuart, 2011, Port Augusta Power Sta-tions, available at: 8 Origin Energy, Mortlake Power Station Project – Key Facts, Available at: http://stations See Appendix A 9 MP Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Member for Stuart, 2011, Port Augusta Power Sta- tions, available at: Sarah Mennie, 2010, Port Augusta is SA’s cancer hotspot, Sunday Mail: Available stationsat: 10 See Appendix B4 See Appendix B 11 SKM MMA, 2011, Gas Market Modelling for QLD Gas Market Review, Available at: 12 See Appendix C 13 Australian Energy Market Commission, Future Possible Retail Electricity Price Movements, Available at: Santos 2011, Investor Presentation 2011, Available at: Future-Possible-Retail-Electricity-Price-Movements-1-July-2010-to-30-June-2013. html
  5. 5. Part 2: Introduction 5 Repowering Port Augusta2. IntroductionThe Northern and Playford B power stations in Port Augustahave provided a large portion of South Australia’s electricityfor decades, and have made an enormous contribution to thestates prosperity. They currently provide around 40 percentof South Australia’s power14.Increasing understanding of the health and environmentalimpacts of coal fired electricity generation has highlightedthe need to shift away from coal15,16. At the same time, theglobal boom in renewable energy has dramatically drivendown the costs of these technologies and is providing a clearalternative for baseload power generation.The closure of Port Augusta’s Playford B coal plant is onthe horizon. Alinta Energy, the owner of the Northern andPlayford B coal generators, has confirmed it will seekFederal funds to retire Playford B. Industry experts alsobelieve that Northern Power Station could also be forcedto close by 201517To maintain Port Augusta’s status as an electricity generatorand associated jobs and economic benefits, replacementinfrastructure must be built. With an excellent availablewind and solar resource, as well as existing transmissioninfrastructure, Port Augusta is ideally positioned to invest andestablish itself as a renewable energy centre.Repowering Port Augusta presents a plan to maintain PortAugusta’s central role in power generation for South Australia,and the jobs and economic benefits that go with it, whileeliminating the negative health and environmental impacts18.The plan outlines a preliminary costed scenario forreplacing the Northern and Playford B coal plants withrenewable energy.14 Australian Energy Market Operator (2010), South Australian Supply and DemandOutlook, available at: Epstein et al, 2011, Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal, Annals ofthe New York Academy of Sciences, available at: American Lung Association, 2011, Toxic Air The Case for Cleaning Up Coal-firedPower Plants, Available at: Kelton, G 2011, Threatened power supply paints dim future for state, The Adver-tiser, April 13. Available at: Sarah Mennie, 2010, Port Augusta is SA’s cancer hotspot, Sunday Mail: Availableat:
  6. 6. Part 3: Context 6 Repowering Port Augusta3. Context The total output from both brown coal plants has increased3.1. Port Augusta: South Australia’s from approximately 4,100 GWhrs in 2002-03 to as high asPower Centre 5,200 GWhrs in 2006-7, and has fluctuated considerably19, as can be seen in figure 1. The 2008-09 generation levelPort Augusta has historically supplied a large proportion of (4,650 GWhrs) was selected as a basis for determining theSouth Australia’s electricity demand, with the Northern and renewable energy replacement capacity. This representsPlayford B power plants. Both Northern and Playford B are approximately 31% of the South Australian electrical energyfuelled by lignite (brown coal) brought to the power stations supply requirements (and the average output), and was usedby rail from the Leigh Creek coal mine around 80 kms away. in the replacement scenario proposed.The plants collectively consume around 3 million tonnes ofcoal each year and employ approximately 250 people, with afurther 200 employed at the Leigh Creek coal mine19.Playford B Power Station was commissioned in the early 60’sand is the older and smaller of the two power plants, with anameplate capacity of 240 MW. The Northern Power Stationwas commissioned in 1989 and has a generating capacityof 520 MW. Over the past 10 years, the individual and totalgeneration levels from the Northern and Playford B powerstations have fluctuated. The Playford B power station inparticular has varied significantly, running at a capacity factoras low as 0.6% in 2002-03 (effectively shut down) to as highas 50% in 2009-201020. The Northern Power station capacityfactor has fluctuated between 80% and 95% over the sametime period, and is operated as a baseload plant . Above: Port Augusta Northern power stationFigure 1: Output of Northern and Playford B power stations19 MP Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Member for Stuart, 2011, Port Augusta Power Sta-tions, available at: Australian Energy Market Operator (2010), South Australian Supply and DemandOutlook, available at:
  7. 7. Part 3: Context 7 Repowering Port Augusta3.2. Port Augusta’s Renewable Resource 3.3. Carbon PolicyThere are abundant renewable energy resources in the Port In 2011, the Federal Government of Australia introduced theAugusta region. The Direct Normal Incidence (DNI, a measure ‘Clean Energy Future Package’, as a measure for reducingof the solar resource) is approximately 2400kwhr/m2/year21 carbon emissions. A price on carbon was introduced underat Port Augusta. This is more than suitable for Concentrating the package, which will impose a cost on fossil generatorsSolar Thermal (CST), with developers typically setting a much proportional to their emissions from July 2012. This willlower minimum resource threshold (a DNI of 1900 kWh/ affect the economics of the existing power stations, and willm2/year to 2100 kWh/m2 year22). The wind resource in the particularly impact high emissions intensity brown coal plantsarea has a mean speed of approximately 10ms-1 [23], which (like Northern and Playford B). Treasury modelling projectscorrelates to high capacity factors (higher than 40%24). With declining profits for brown coal generators, and indicateswind farms in South Australia typically having capacity factors that emission-intensive brown coal generators will find thein the range of 20-40%25, the Port Augusta wind resource is additional cost of the carbon price reduces their profitabilityagain more than appropriate for wind developments. (and economic viability), causing retirement26.A two phase replacement scenario is proposed, which would Ultimately the ageing plants will be closed, with thereliably replace the existing baseload electricity. The first Australian Energy Market Operator anticipating that Playfordphase would replace Playford B entirely with CST, and the B will cease operating in 201727, and treasury forecastingsecond phase would replace the remaining Northern plant “early closure of the most emissions intensive brown coalwith a combination of wind and CST. power stations” and “eventual retirement of all existing emission-intensive brown coal generators”. Some industry experts also believe that Northern Power Station could also be forced to close by 201528. Under the package, there is a ‘contracts for closure program’, whereby 2,000MW of dirty brown coal generation will be taken offline across Australia (and compensation paid by the government). The Playford B power plant is one of the dirtiest power plants in the country, and Alinta has submitted an Expression of Interest for Federal funds to retire Playford B, under this program29. It is highly likely that this plant will successfully close under the contracts for closure program, with the “Commonwealth [making] it quite plain that Playford B will have to be decommissioned”30. Given the need to reliably power South Australia and maintain employment opportunities in the Port Augusta region, there is a pressing need to develop new, clean and renewable power infrastructure and projects, and provide new job opportunities as the old plants are closed.Figure 2: Solar Resource for South Australia (Direct NormalIncidence) (Source: South Australian Supply Demand Outlook, 26 Australian Treasury (2011), Modelling a Carbon Price, Chapter 5 – Australia with Carbon Pricing, Federal Government of Australia, Available at: http://www.treasury.Australian Energy Market Operator) 27 Australian Energy Market Operator (2011), National Transmission Network De-21 Trieb, F., et al, (2009), Global Concentrating Solar Power Potentials, DLR (Ger- velopment Plan, Supply Input Spreadsheets: Available at: Aerospace Centre), Available at: planning/0418-0013.ziptabid-2885/4422_read-16596/ 28 Kelton, G 2011, Threatened power supply paints dim future for state, The Adver-22 International Energy Agency, (2010), Technology Roadmap: Concentrating Solar tiser, April 13. Available at:Power, Available at: Department of Environment Water Heritage and the Arts, 2008, ‘Mean Wind state/story-e6frea6u-1226038168485Speed at 80m above ground level’, Available at: 29 Department of Resources Energy and Tourism, 2012, Contracts for Closure Program, Available at: Electric Power Research Institute (2010), Australian Electricity Generation Tech- forClosure.aspxnology Costs – Reference Case 2010, Department of Resources Energy and Tourism,Available at: 30 Hon. Michael O’Brien MP, (South Australia’s previous Energy Minister) Future of SA’s power supplies at stake, Interview on Radio National ABC, transcript available at:25 Australian Energy Market Operator (2010), South Australian Supply and Demand, available at:
  8. 8. Part 3: Context 8 Repowering Port Augusta3.4. Port Augusta: Renewable EnergySuper PowerThe ‘Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Plan’ (ZCA2020)31 outlineda roadmap for transitioning Australia to a 100% renewablepowered economy by 2020. The plan illustrates the needto transition the economy from dirty coal and gas basedtechnologies, and demonstrates how a combination of solarthermal and wind technology could achieve this.The unique combination of geographical factors at PortAugusta creates an opportunity to begin realising theZCA2020 plan (and a unique opportunity for developingalternative industry in Port Augusta). The cross-road createdby the need to replace dirty brown coal capacity, andthe local renewable energy resources presents an idealproposition for beginning the transition to a 100% renewableenergy economy. Port Augusta can facilitate the developmentof concentrating solar thermal technology in Australia, makingit a world leading hub for baseload solar thermal power.The following sections outline the different technologies, ascenario for replacement and the policy options available toenable its deployment.Above: Heliostat mirrors, Torresol Gemasolar power plant, Spain.Image courtesy Markel Rodondo31 Beyond Zero Emissions (2010), Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Plan, available at:
  9. 9. Part 4: Technology Overview 9 Repowering Port Augusta4. Technology Overview a large scale. Heat however can be stored cost effectively4.1. Concentrating Solar Thermal and with fairly low losses over time, by heating up a storageThe Port Augusta power stations, particularly Northern, medium and storing it in large highly insulated tanks. ‘Moltengenerate a fairly constant amount of electricity, playing the salt’ storage, whereby the storage medium is a salt mixturerole of “baseload” electricity generators. This means they are heated to a liquid, has proven to be particularly to provide electricity 24 hours a day to meet consumer Two tank molten-salt thermal storage systems are the currentdemand. To maintain Port Augusta’s current role as a reliable state-of-the-art for power supplier, an energy technology that can provide When the sun is shining, the storage medium can be heateda consistent and reliable supply of electricity is required. (‘charged’) by surplus solar energy which is not being usedConcentrating Solar Thermal (CST) power is a commercial, to directly create electricity. When the sun goes down, or“off the shelf”, technology that can meet this requirement. during cloudy periods, the stored heat can be dispatched toWith energy storage capability, CST allows for the reliable continue the electricity generation process. Typically the heatdispatchable generation of renewable electricity 24 hours a is used to create steam, which drives a turbine, which in turnday, and is a direct alternative to baseload coal and gas plants. drives a generator. Electricity can thereby be dispatched as needed, to our homes, businesses and industry, while the sun isn’t shining. The energy stored by a solar thermal power plant can be dispatched quickly to provide electricity as it is required, so solar thermal power plants can also provide the same service as a gas open cycle or “peaking” plant, which is designed to provide power at times of high demand.Figure 3: Gemasolar solar thermal plant in Spain4.1.1. How solar thermal worksThe basic concept of CST power is to capture the sun’s energyto create heat, and create electricity using the generated heat.This is significantly different to solar photovoltaic (PV) whichdirectly converts sunlight to electricity (using PV panels).There are a number of different types of CST technologies,however they all operate on the same basic principle: toconcentrate sunlight to a focus using mirrors, and using theresultant heat to create steam, which drives a turbine togenerate electricity. Solar thermal plants are in fact verysimilar to coal plants. Like a coal plant, a solar thermal plantuses a steam cycle to convert heat into electricity. However,instead of burning coal to create the heat, CST uses mirrorsto concentrate the sun’s energy. Essentially, the mirror fieldreplaces the coal mine, and the receiver replaces the boiler,whilst the steam turbine uses exactly the same technology asexisting coal fired generation plantsA key attribute and value of solar thermal technologies is theability to readily incorporate storage technologies. Electricity 32 Sandia National Laboratories, 2011, Power Tower Technology Roadmap and Costitself is very difficult and expensive to store, particularly at Reduction Plan, US Department of Energy, Available at: access-control.cgi/2011/112419.pdf
  10. 10. Part 4: Technology Overview 10 Repowering Port Augusta4.1.2. Case Study: Molten Salt Storage and the When the sun is shining, the liquid salt is pumped from theGemasolar Power Plant ‘cold tank’ up to the top of the tower, where it runs through a series of pipes and is heated by the concentrated solarIndustrial scale molten salt energy storage was developed by energy focused on that point to around 565°C35. This athe US Department of Energy’s Sandia Laboratories during suitable temperature to run conventional steam turbinestheir Solar Two program. This program was run by Lockheed used at coal plants. It is then pumped back down to theMartin and the US National Renewable Energy Laboratories “hot tank” and collaboration with major industrial firms including Boeing, When the sun goes down, or during cloudy periods, the hotBechtel Rocketdyne and others33. salt is sent through pipes to a heat exchanger, where it isHowever, this technology was first deployed commercially used to heat water and create steam. This steam, created onin Spain. The Spanish engineering company SENER attached demand, can be used to drive a turbine, which in turn drivesmolten salt storage to a series of parabolic trough plants that a generator, creating consistent and reliable electricity. Thewere built in Spain, the first being the Andasol-1 plant that Gemasolar plant has achieved uninterrupted, 24 hours a daybegan power production at the end of 2008. As at March electricity production.362012 there are eleven 50MW parabolic trough plants eachwith 7.5 hours of storage operating in Spain. Torresol Energy’s20MW Gemasolar plant near Seville has applied molten saltstorage in their central receiver “power tower” configuration.It stores enough energy to operate at full capacity for 15hours without sun, allowing it to operate at full capacityfor 74% of the hours of the year. This is equivalent to thecapacity factor of a black coal fleet34.The Gemasolar Plant uses two tanks, situated at the base ofthe tower (see Figure 4). They both contain an industrial saltmade of potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate. This salt isheated to a liquid state, and kept in the “cold” tank atabout 220˚C.Figure 4: Diagram of a baseload CST tower plant, with molten saltstorage Above: Receiver tower, storage tanks and generation infrastructure at the Torresol Gemasolar power plant, Spain. Image courtesy of Torresol Energy33 J. Pacheco, R. Bradshaw, D. Dawson, W. De la Rosa, R. Gilbert, S. Goods, M. J. Hale,P. Jacobs, S. Jones, G. Kolb, M. Prairie, H. Reilly, S. Showalter, and L. Vant-Hull, “Final 35 R. I. Dunn, P. J. Hearps and M. N. Wright, “Molten-Salt Power Towers: Newly Com-test and evaluation results from the Solar Two project,” Solar Thermal Technol. Dept., mercial Concentrating Solar Storage,” Proceedings of the IEEE vol 100 (2), pp 504 –Sandia Nat. Labs., NM, Tech. Rep. SAND2002-0120. [Online]. 515, Feb 2012.Available: 36 Torresol Energy, 2011, Gemasolar Solar Power Plant Reaches-24 hours of uninter-34 Protermosolar, 2012. Localización de Centrales Termosolares en España (Location rupted production,media release, Available at: Solar Thermal Power Plants in Spain) TORRESOL/NewsTS/gemasolar-solar-power-plant-reaches-24-hours-of-uninterrupted-retrieved 14 Mar 2012. Note ‘almacenamiento (horas)’ is ‘storage (hours)’. production
  11. 11. Part 4: Technology Overview 11 Repowering Port Augusta 4.1.3. Types of Solar Thermal The different types of solar thermal technology are essentially different configurations of the mirrors that focus the sun’s energy, and the receivers that the sun is focused onto to collect the heat. So for instance, a parabolic trough plant has long trough shaped mirrors that focus the suns energy onto long receivers filled with the heating fluid that run the entire length of the mirrors. Tower plants on the other hand have flat mirrors that track the sun and focus it onto a single point at the top of the tower. There are four major CST technologies available as follows: Central Receiver System A heliostat field, comprising flat mirrors which track the sun, concentrates the solar radiation on a receiver located on the upper part of a tall tower. Heat is transferred to a fluid (water or molten salts) generating steam that drives a turbine. • Helipstats track the sun in two axes, so that in winter their cosine losses are much smaller than for troughs or linear fresnel concentrators. Therefore winter solar collection is higher with towers. • Receiver fluid can operate at 565°C, and potentially 650°C, the same temperature as conventional superheated steam turbines. • Central receiver minimises area through which heat is lost from re-radiation. • Molten salt thermal storage has been demonstrated with power towers. Parabolic Trough Collectors Sunlight reflected from parabolic mirrors is concentrated onto a receiver tube, which runs parallel to the mirrors and contains a working fluid. A mature technology with over 20 years commercial history. • Track the sun on one axis, aligned north-south in the horizontal plane. • Operate at around 400°C currently, aiming for 550ºC with the Archimedes project. • Use a line-focusing system (extensive piping in the field). • Pipe plumbing requires specialised moving joints. • Molten salt thermal storage already operational. • Curved mirrors and specialised vacuum absorber tubes are relatively complex to manufacture.
  12. 12. Part 4: Technology Overview 12 Repowering Port Augusta Compact Linear Fresnel Compact Linear Fresnel systems (CLFR) consist of multiple rows of flat mirrors that track the sun, approximating the shape of a parabolic trough. Sunlight is concentrated a long receiver which runs parallel to the mirrors and contains a working fluid. • Tracks the sun on one axis, aligned north-south in the horizontal plane. • Operates at 290-450°C, and can require specialized low temperature turbines. • Line-focusing system. • Pipe plumbing is fixed, not moving with the mirrors. • Uses relatively flat mirrors which are cheaper to manufacture than curved troughs. • Requires less land area than parabolic troughs as mirrors are more closely spaced. • Molten salt thermal storage not demonstrated commercially with CLFR. Paraboloidal Dish A parabolic mirror in the shape of a dish collects and concentrates the solar radiation onto a small area where a receiver is located. Heat is collected from the receivers on multiple dishes and then runs a steam turbine (with or without storage). • Tracks the sun on two axes, with a higher optical efficiency than central receivers. • Can operate at very high temperatures (greater than 650°C). • Yet to be proven and commercialised in terms of installation cost and scale—challenges include wind loadings in large mirror systems and complexity of construction. • Are available in a light-weight resource-efficient design, (has the lowest resource requirements of the solar technologies). • Energy storage is not yet demonstrated commercially, though it is compatible with molten salt storage.
  13. 13. Part 4: Technology Overview 13 Repowering Port Augusta4.1.4. Global ExperienceThe current installed capacity globally is 1.8GW37. Spain isleading the charge with 1300MW currently installed, a further1,302 MW under construction and a projected additional5,000 MW by 2020. The USA falls closely behind Spain, withover 500 MW currently installed and a further 1,000 MWunder construction. India is planning 500MW (in Phase 1Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission alongside 500MWof PV) and South Africa has 600 MW under development,with an additional projected 1,200 MW in their IntegratedResource Plan out to 2020. In Morocco, there is 125-160 MWunder development. According to independent consultantsA.T. Kearney, under a best case scenario, there is expected to Figure 5: Torresol Gemasolar plant Spain, courtesy Torresolbe 12,000 MW installed worldwide by 2014, and in the worstcase there is expected to be 6,500MW by 2014. The industryis continuing to grow rapidly despite globally challengingeconomic circumstances.The current installed capacity of CST is largely dominatedby trough technology. Many of the latest projects are usingPower Tower (Central Receiver) technology, similar to thatused at the Spanish Gemasolar Plant. The US company ‘SolarReserve’ is currently constructing a tower (with molten saltstorage) with a rated output of 110MW, in its “CrescentDunes” project in Tonopah Nevada. It also has future CSTprojects in the pipeline, including a 150MW tower in Rice(California) and a 50MW tower in Alcazar (Spain). AnotherUS company (Brightsource) is also constructing 3 separatecentral receiver plants with a combined capacity of 392 MW,in its “Ivanpah” project in California. Figure 6: Solar Reserve Crescent Dunes project Tonopah Nevada USA [Source: SolarReserve] Above: Andosol 1 and 2 solar thermal power plants, Spain (photo courtesy of Greenpeace)37 Protermo Solar, Macroeconomic impact of the Solar Thermal Electricity Industryin Spain, Available at:
  14. 14. Part 4: Technology Overview 14 Repowering Port Augusta4.1.5. Which Solar Thermal Technology? Parabolic trough and linear Fresnel systems do not track the sun’s elevation, so receive significantly less energy in theThis proposal recommends CST power towers, with heliostat winter months. Heliostat and paraboloidal dish systems trackmirror fields, using molten salt as a working fluid. This sun elevation, with heliostats or dishes spaced further apartrecommendation is made on the basis of a number of to allow for shading. A dish is a near-perfect solar receiver, astechnical advantages discussed below. it is always pointed directly at the sun. Heliostats bounce lightCapturing more solar energy in winter: at an angle onto a central receiver tower, and approximateThe Projection Effect the performance of a dish. They therefore lose some energy compared to a dish, but still have a much greater wintertimeOne of the key differences between the different solar collection than a trough or fresnel system.collection technologies is the ability to track the elevation ofthe sun (which varies with seasons), as well as the east-west ion iondaily path of the sun. The difference relates to when the sun iat iatis low in the sky in the winter time. During these periods rad radbeams of light hitting a horizontal surface are scattered lar lar so soover a larger area, compared to a surface at right angles ing ingto the sun’s rays. om om incThis is known as the ‘projection effect’. Systems which track inc captured not capturedthe sun’s elevation can collect more than twice the energyper square 30 deg of mirror surface during winter than systems metre 30 degwhich remain horizontal; the exact ratio depends upon the inclination inclinationlatitude Elevation Tracking Mirror - Maximise Efficiency 3m² of the site (see Figure 7 below). 3m² Horizontal Mirror - Reduced EfficiencyA horizontal surface receives less radiation per square metrethan a surface perpendicular to the sun’s rays. To put itanother way, a horizontal collection system requires moremirror surface (i.e. paying for more glass, steel etc) to collectthe same amount of energy as an elevation-tracking system. ion n tio iat ia rad rad lar lar so so ng ing 3m² more mirror i om om required for same inc inc solar radiation capture 30 deg 30 deg inclination inclination 3m² Elevation Tracking Mirror 6m² Horizontal MirrorFigure 7: The Projection Effect: diagram showing the advantages of DNI collection of GHI collection
  15. 15. Part 4: Technology Overview 15 Repowering Port AugustaHigher TemperaturesTower systems achieve heating temperatures between550-565˚C; higher than parabolic trough and linear Fresnelsystems, but lower than dish systems. These temperaturesallow the use of standard and readily available double reheatsupercritical steam turbine technology (already deployedglobally in coal, gas and nuclear facilities) to generateelectricity. Using standard coal plant turbine technologymeans “off-the-shelf” technology can be used, and ultimatelyresults in lower costs. Higher temperatures also mean higherthermal efficiency of energy conversion to electricity, anda smaller parasitic load (for cooling) and smaller water userequirement (on a per kWhr basis).Lower heat and parasitic lossesWith parabolic troughs and linear fresnel systems, thereceivers run the entire length of the mirrors, leading to fargreater heat losses along the pipeline and greater parasitic Figure 8: Schematic of Solar Reserves 150MW Power Tower [Source: SolarReserve]losses (due to the pumping requirements). Tower systemsconcentrate the suns energy onto a single point, meaning thatthe working fluid only needs to travel from the cold tank tothe receiver at the top of the tower and back down to the coldtank. This reduces the pumping requirements (parasitic load)and the heat losses along the pipe.SimplicityThe flat mirrors that are used in the heliostats for tower plantsare simpler and more cost effective to manufacture on a largescale than parabolic trough or dish collectors.4.1.6. Companies providing the technologyThe main providers of this technology are:Torresol Energy: Founded in 2008 through an alliancebetween SENER Grupo de Ingeniería, S.A., a Spanishmultinational technology leader (with a 60% share in thecompany), and MASDAR, an alternative power company inAbu Dhabi (with a 40% share in Terresol Energy).Solar Reserve: Commercialising US DoE Sandia Laboratoriespower tower with molten salt storage technology, currentlyconstructing a 110MW plant in Tonopah Nevada, with plansfor developments in Rice, California and Alcazar, Spain.Brightsource: The world’s leading and longest running solarthermal provider, which recently announced it would providesolar thermal tower technology with molten salt storage.
  16. 16. Part 4: Technology Overview 16 Repowering Port Augusta4.2. Wind PowerWind power is the lowest cost renewable energy technologyin Australia today. Wind power is not only cheap andefficient; it is also widely utilized all over the world, andwell understood. The global boom in wind energy has seensignificant cost reductions over the past 30 years and it isthe most mature of the renewable energy technologies, withover 200 GW installed globally. International studies haveshown that a high percentage of wind power can be reliablyand economically integrated into the grid. Wind is currentlypositioned as the cheapest and most effective way toincrease renewable energy generation in Australia.4.2.1. Which Technology?The turbines specified for Repower Port Augusta aretechnologically advanced 7.5 MW onshore wind turbines,such as the Enercon E-126 turbines. These are currently thelargest commercially available turbines. Their size enablesthe extraction of more energy from a given site by tappinginto stronger and more consistent wind resource at greaterheights. It is favourable to use fewer large turbines than manysmaller turbines as there are less moving parts to maintain.Also, and of increasing importance, the smaller number ofturbines means less aesthetic impacts (and consequentialcommunity engagement issues). The Enercon E-126 has a hubheight of 138 metres, and a blade diameter of 127 metres. Figure 9: Enercon E-126 in Belgium [Source: Enercon]
  17. 17. Part 4: Technology Overview 17 Repowering Port Augusta4.3. Gas: A false Choice Currently, controversial Coal Seam Gas (CSG) makes up 84% of the interstate reserves36, and the projectedGas is currently being promoted as a ‘clean’, risk free supply of gas from eastern Australia is largely dominatedalternative to coal38. This however, could not be farther by Queensland Coal Seam Gas (QLD CSG), (see Figure 10from the truth. Generating electricity from gas exposes the below). Gas producers are currently investigating additionalelectricity market and price to the volatility and price rises unconventional gas (including shale gas) resources withinoccurring in the gas market, and introduces further energy South Australia. There is a high likelihood that any gas usedsecurity issues. Additionally, the continued use of gas has to power a new gas fired power station in Port Augusta wouldsignificant environmental and greenhouse gas emission use this unconventional and highly controversial coal seamramifications. gas in future.Context: South Australia’s Gas Supply - Coal Seam GasSouth Australia has traditionally sourced natural gas fromthe Cooper and Eromanga Basins39. Based on current SouthAustralian gas consumption rates this basin would beexhausted in 13 years. However, South Australia also importsgas via an interconnected pipeline network from Victoriaand Queensland. Gas can flow from Queensland to SouthAustralia via the South West Queensland Pipeline and on tothe Adelaide demand centre via the Moomba to AdelaidePipeline. Gas can also be imported to South Australia fromVictoria via the South East Australia Gas Pipeline36. Above: Coal seam gas fields Wyoming USA. Gas fields similar to this are planned to cover an area of more than 20,000 square kilometres in Queensland.Figure 10: Projected supply of gas from eastern Australia.(Source: SKM MMA Gas Market Modelling for the Queensland 2011Gas Market Review.)38 Department Resource Energy and Tourism, (2011), Energy White Paper , availableat: South Australian Supply Demand Outlook, AEMO, available at:
  18. 18. Part 4: Technology Overview 18 Repowering Port Augusta4.3.1. Gas Price Volatility and RiskInternational ParityAustralia has traditionally enjoyed low gas prices due tothe abundance of gas relative to domestic demand, but theemerging LNG export industry could change this significantly.Companies producing gas for export will have little incentiveto supply gas to domestic consumers for a price less than theycan get from overseas export customers. The expectation is forAustralian domestic gas prices to head to international parity.The current domestic gas price in Australia is around $3-4GJ. In 2008 the international gas price was around $12/GJ40. Figure 11 illustrates the fluctuations and price rises in Above: Santos operated coal seam gas well, Pilliga State Forest,international gas prices since 1993. The variation in price New South Wales.between the different gas markets reflects the differentsources of gas. The US gas market is called the “Henry Hub”and has been lower than other international markets overrecent years due to the large supply of shale gas in thatcountry. Japan on the other hand relies entirely on LNGimports, which are more expensive due to processing andtransport costs.Australia will be (and currently is) exporting LNG into Asianmarkets. This relationship drives gas prices up, consequentlyleading to domestic consumers and electricity generators willpay prices in line with higher Asian market prices.Figure 11: Gas price rise and volatility since 1993 (source: BP Statistical Review 2011)40 BP, 2011, Statistical Review 2011, page 21. Available at:
  19. 19. Part 4: Technology Overview 19 Repowering Port AugustaOil Linked Pricing Australian Gas PricesTraditionally, the global gas price has fluctuated in line with SKM MMA modelling for the Queensland Government showsoil prices, though the correlation is not strong. In part this is that eastern Australian gas prices could increase steeplybecause conventional gas is extracted from the same fields as to around $7- $8 per GJ over the next few years. Theyoils and the same companies are extracting it. Gas companies then predict a drop in prices in the mid-2020s as the fullmeasure their reserves in Barrels of Oil Equivalent (BOE). expansion of CSG comes on line, but then ongoing increasesCurrently, gas prices are moving more in line with oil prices, from the late 2020s onwards due to increasing scarcity ofwhich introduces more volatility to the gas market (whilst the reserves.increasing price). The SKM modelling considers three scenarios (High,Gas developer Santos has informed it’s investors that 70% Medium and Low), which represent both high, medium andof its reserves will be linked to the international oil price low domestic demands and exports. In the high scenarioby 201537 due to increasing “production exposure to oil (high demand and high exports), the price is expected toprices”. The remaining 30% are tied-up in legacy domestic increase substantially from 2013, to over $7/GJ (falling togas contracts. This implies that all new or renegotiated gas $6/GJ by 2030).contracts to domestic consumers will be linked to climbing oil If Port Augusta (and more generally Australia) was to lockprice, see Figure 12 below. in gas power infrastructure and generation capacity (with a 50-year life technical life expectancy) then as the price of gas goes up, electricity customers will be exposed to these rising prices. This price rise is coupled with and additional to the price rise due to carbon pricing. Alternative power generation from renewables does not suffer these same price uncertainties as their feedstock (the sun or the wind) is free (and carry no emissions liability).Figure 12: Oil LInked Pricing (Source: Santos) Figure 13: Project new contract prices for Southern States ($/GJ, $2010). (Source: SKM MMA Gas Market Modelling for QLD Gas Market Review41) 41 SKM MMA, 2011, Gas Market Modelling for QLD Gas Market Review, Available at:
  20. 20. Part 4: Technology Overview 20 Repowering Port Augusta4.3.2. Coal Seam Gas: Environmental Issues 4.3.3. Greenhouse Gas EmissionsThe environmental risks and impacts of extracting Gas is a fossil fuel, and as such, replacing Northern andunconventional gas have received widespread mainstream Playford B with gas will still result in Port Augusta generatingmedia coverage and comment in Australia. An entire greenhouse gases, and contributing to Australia’s carbonstandalone report could be written on this issue, however emissions. The direct emissions from the combustion of gasonly a very brief outline of a small sample of these issues are will be lower than those produced by brown coal. However,highlighted in media coverage. The issues that have received when taking the lifecycle emissions into consideration,most coverage have been the broad risks associated with the emission savings are potentially non-consequentialthe drilling for gas in coal seams, particularly with respect to and questionable.water use and hydraulic fracturing. Developing a gas plant at There are significant uncertainties relating to the lifecycleNorthern and Playford B exposes and links Port Augusta to emissions (including fugitive emissions, venting and flaringadditional environmental liabilities. and other processing emissions) for all gas types, butHydraulic Fracturing particularly when considering and unconventional gas, such as Coal Seam Gas.In Queensland, where the vast majority of CSG will beextracted, the state government and industry has said that Fugitive emissionsbetween 10 per cent and 40 per cent of the estimated 35,000 Generally speaking, fugitive emissions are those relatingwells to be drilled there will need to be “fracked”42. Hydraulic to leaks or uncontrolled venting throughout the extractionfracturing involves a mix of water, chemicals and sand being and production process. These emissions are in the form ofpumped into the coal seams to further open fissures between methane which when released into the atmosphere has 23the coal rock to allow the gas to flow more freely. The air, soil times the impact (Global Warming Potential, GWP) of carbonand water can also be polluted with fracking chemicals as a dioxide if its impact is averaged over a 100 year of the extraction process43. Volatile compounds Over a 20-year time horizon44, the GWP for methane is 72,found in coal gas seams are also released as a result of the (and recent research published in 2009 by NASA45 suggestsprocess, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene methane is 105). The 20-year time horizon is more relevant,(BTEX). BTEX chemicals are hazardous in the short term as the global climate tipping points will have been reachedcausing skin irritation, central nervous system problems. far earlier than 100 years from now (if we continue using gas,The fracking process can release BTEX from the natural-gas coal and other fossil fuels).reservoirs, which can then penetrate into the groundwater The rate of fugitive emissions is largely unknown, and willaquifers or volatilise into air40. Landowners and campaigners say vary project to project and pipeline to pipeline. These fugitivethese toxic chemicals are not being fully disclosed and present emissions have the potential to be significant, with (forsignificant contamination risks to groundwater aquifers. example) leaks in the Adelaide distribution network aloneWater being reported to be as high as 7.8%.46All coal seam gas mining involves contaminated water. Inorder to access CSG , the water trapping it there must beextracted. This water is high in salt - which kills the productivequality of soil - and methane. It can also contain toxic andradioactive compounds and heavy metals.The CSG industry will be an enormous user of water. TheFederal Government’s Water Group estimates - based onmodelling of industry figures - that the CSG industry will use5,400 gigalitres of water per year. By comparison Australia’sannual household water use is 1,872 gigalitres per year. 44 As reported by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007) IPCC fourth assessment report (AR4), Working Group 1, The Physical Science Basis.) 45 Shindell, D.T., G. Faluvegi, D.M. Koch, G.A. Schmidt, N. Unger, and S.E. Bauer,42 Readfearn G, 2011, Coal seam groundwater concerns, ABC online, Available at: 2009: Improved attribution of climate forcing to emissions. Science, 326, 716-718, doi:10.1126/science.1174760.43 National Toxics Network, Hydraulic Fracturing in Coal Seam Gas Mining: The Risks 46 South Australia Energy Supply Industry 2009/10, Annual Performance Report,to Our Health, Communities, Environment and Climate, available at: Available at: port_2009-10.pdf
  21. 21. Part 4: Technology Overview 21 Repowering Port AugustaFugitive Emissions of Coal Seam Gas Locking in EmissionsCurrently the fugitive emissions of CSG are uncertain (and The Playford B plant has been operating for 50 years. Theconsequently so are the lifecycle emissions of electricity technical lifetime of a new gas plant is also 50 years (withgenerated from CSG). There has been very little research an effective life perhaps longer), and it can be expected thatconducted anywhere in the world to quantify the fugitive (once built) the plant would be operated for this amount ofemissions associated with “unconventional” gas production. time. No investor would construct a new Combined CycleHowever, the large number of wells per-unit of gas extracted, Gas Turbine (CCGT), with the knowledge that the plant will(relative to conventional gas), makes it likely that there will be be closed in (say) 10 years, well before both its economic orsignificantly higher fugitive emissions from unconventional technical life. Thus, by constructing a new CCGT, emissionscoal seam gas than conventional gas. would be locked in for (at least) the economic lifetime, and most likely the technical lifetime. In the best case scenario,In Wyoming, in the United States, fugitive emissions from assuming no fugitive emissions (and a combustion onlyunconventional gas have been found to be up to 30% well emissions intensity of around 400kg/MWh50), replacingyield, and 15% of total field yield47. A very recent study by Playford B and Northern with 760 MW of CCGT (andthe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) generating the same annual output) would lock in a total ofin the US based on actual measurements of unconventional 93 million tonnes over its lifetime. If however the fugitivegas emissions in Denver, has found rates of fugitive emissions emissions are 4% as suggested by the NOAA study, theup to 7.7% across the unconventional fields48. Major CSG emissions intensity would be worse than the Northern plant,projects being developed in Australia, on the other hand, using the 20 year Global Warming Potential factor for gas. Thehave assumed extremely optimistic and unverified levels of total carbon dioxide equivalents emitted would be 256 millionfugitive emissions of around 0.1%49. tonnes; worse than leaving the Northern plant operating.Figure 14 below shows the impact the fugitive emissionshave on the lifecycle emissions of gas fire electricity(Combined Cycle Gas Turbine, assuming 50% 4.3.4. Gas generation and job lossesthermal efficiency). The limited employment opportunities for gas fired power plants would result in a significant job loss in the Port Augusta community. To provide a comparison, the recently completed 550MW gas generator in Victoria provides employment for only 10 full time staff51. Even if twice as many were employed to run a larger (760 MW) plant in Port Augusta, this only represents 10% of the workforce employed by the current coal fired power generation. This compares with the 360 that would be created through investment in concentrating solar thermal and wind52. 4.3.5. Energy Security Introduction of baseload CCGT could present significant health, safety and security issues to South Australia. InFigure 14: Lifecylce Emissions Intensity as a function of Fugitive recent years, Australia has been faced with significant loss ofEmission Rate gas-based electricity supply, along with substantial health and safety incidents affecting a significant portion of the community. In particular, a major gas explosion occurred at the Varanus Island processing facility, located about 115 km off Dampier in the North West of Western Australia in 2008. This explosion caused the 2008 Western Australian Gas Crisis, with gas supply from the Varanus plant (which usually supplies 30% of Western Australia’s domestic gas53) cut for two whole months. 50 ACIL Tasman, 2009, Fuel resource, new entry and generation costs in the NEM,47 HyCap Energy LLC 2010, CBM Gas Separator, Available at: available at: 51 Origin Energy, Mortlake Power Station Project – Key Facts, Available at:48 Tollesfson, J 2012, Air sampling reveals high emissions from gas field, Nature, at: 52 See Appendix Agas-field-1.9982 53 Department of Mines and Petroleum, Government of WA, Varanus Island Incident,49 Citigroup, Coal Seam Gas & Greenhouse Emissions 17 August, p13. Available at:
  22. 22. Part 4: Technology Overview 22 Repowering Port AugustaFigure 15: The explosion at the Varanus Island gas hub cut WesternAustralia’s gas supplies for monthsThe gas shortage had a significant impact on WesternAustralian industry, due to the state’s heavy relianceon a continuous gas supply for industrial processing,manufacturing and electricity production. According to theChamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia,the cost of the crisis to the Western Australian Economy was$2.4 billion in the 2 months of the cut supply alone54, withother reports suggesting the overall total cost could be ashigh as $6.7 billion55. A Chamber of Commerce and Industrysurvey found that 50% of business had been affected by theincidence (with 17% directly affected and a further 33%indirectly affected51). Production declined by an average ofjust over 30% for the businesses affected by the outage.The Varanus Island explosion is not an isolated incident. Thecatastrophic explosion of the Longford gas processing plantin Victoria in 1998 resulted in the death of two workers andhad a similar impact on the Victorian economy. An explosionat South Australia’s Moomba gas fields in 2004 cut off gassupplies from the Moomba gas fields.Developing further gas infrastructure and gas electricitygeneration in Port Augusta will increase South Australia’sreliance and dependence on gas in the longer term. SouthAustralian gas consumption was approximately 105 PJ in2010, (61% of which was used for electricity generation)56.Increasing this dependency represents an energy securityrisk, exposing industry and the public to potential gasincidences which could have a significant impact on SouthAustralia’s economy. The risks to energy security and theeconomy are further exposed by the impact of exporting gas,and the associated international and oil linked pricing, (andeven the price risks associated with correct accounting offugitive emissions).54 Parliament of Australia (Senate), Report: Matters relating to the gas explosion atVaranus Island WA Available at: WA faces $6.7b gas bill, The Age, July 10, 2008. Available at: South Australian Supply Demand Outlook (2010), AEMO, available at:
  23. 23. Part 5: Repowering Port Augusta 23 Repowering Port Augusta5. Repowering Port Augusta Above: Heliostat mirrors and central tower reciever at the Torresol Gemasolar power plant, Spain. Image courtesy of Markel Rodondo. 5.1.2. Wind Each of the Enercon E-126 wind turbines has a nameplateAbove: Enercon E126 7.5 MW wind turbines at Estinnes, Belgium. capacity of 7.5MW. Given the significant wind resources foundCourtesy Enercon in and around Port Augusta, wind turbines could be expected to have higher capacity factors (greater than 40%59) than aThe following scenario outlines how both the capacity and typical average capacity factors 30%60. As a conservativeenergy generation of the Northern and Playford B could be assumption, it was assumed that the wind turbines and windreplaced with a combination of Solar Thermal and Wind. The farm(s) would only have a capacity factor of 30%.objective of the scenario is to present how to maintain thecapacity of the supply at 760 MW (equivalent to existingcapacity) and deliver a total of 4,650 MWhrs of electricity 5.2. Implementing the Replacement(equivalent to the average annual output of the Northern andPlayford B Power stations). This scenario proposes two phases: Phase 1 would replace the Playford B power station with concentrating solar thermal, and Phase 2 would replace the remaining Northern Power Station5.1. Technologies and Specifications with a combination of wind and concentrating solar thermal.The replacement scenario utilizes central receiver power The two phased approach will allow the plants to be replacedtowers and wind turbines, for reasons previously discussed. in a stage-wise approach, which has some developmentalFor this analysis, we have used the Solar Reserve module advantages. Firstly, replacing the smaller, older and dirtierplant design as a rough basis for CST tower calculations, and plant first will allow ‘First of a Kind’ (for Australia) solarthe Enercon E-126 for wind calculations. thermal power tower plants to be built, at a minimised cost. The corresponding experience and potential cost reductions (through “learning by doing”) could then flow through to the5.1.1. Concentrating Solar Thermal second phase of the project.The Solar Reserve plant modules are designed to deliver The later plants can leverage existing manufacturing capacityroughly 480GWhrs to the grid annually. The specific and experience, leading to a more cost efficient development.configuration of the plants however can vary. For example, Replacing the entire Northern and Playford B capacity withthe Tonopah plant has a nameplate capacity of 110MW, ‘First of a Kind’ plants, would be more expensive. Secondly,and capacity factor of 50%57, whilst the Rice plant has a at present, there is limited capacity for new wind generationnameplate capacity of 150MW and a capacity factor of in South Australia due to transmission and distributionroughly 35%58. Each CST plant consists of a 180 meter limitations. Replacing the dirty, inflexible brown coal Playfordhigh tower surrounded by a mirror field extending around B plant with highly responsive and dispatchable solar thermala kilometre from the tower at its widest point. Each plant plants will allow additional wind capacity to be constructed.would contain around 17,000 mirrors, each about 140 square Early deployment of the load following CST technology canmeters in size (that individually tracked the sun). These plants leverage additional (and cheaper) wind power in an otherwiseare assumed to have a 2.5 year construction timeline. wind constrained grid. 59 Electric Power Research Institute (2010), Australian Electricity Generation Tech- nology Costs – Reference Case 2010, Department of Resources Energy and Tourism,57 Solar Reserve, 2012, Tonopah Solar, Available at: Available at: Solar Reserve, 2012, Rice Solar Energy Project, Available at: 60 Australian Energy Market Operator (2010), South Australian Supply and Demand Outlook, available at: