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Solar power company ditches plans for Australian plants

article image The Lesedi project in South Africa.

A leading solar power company has dropped plans to develop plants for the Australian retail market, saying the Federal government is more interested in conventional energy.

According to the ABC, instead of developing solar plants in Australia for the retail market, Californian company Solar Reserve intends to concentrate on providing energy for the mining industry.

Solar Reserve chief executive Kevin Smith told the ABC's Four Corners that the planned scrapping of the carbon tax and the appointment of Dick Warburton, who is said to be a climate change sceptic, to lead a review of Australia's Renewable Energy Target suggest the Government is not committed to renewable energy.

"It's pretty clear that the policy in Australia is now being centred around big coal. The coal industry clearly has rallied to move policy away from renewable energies because they view renewable energy as a threat and want to move back to convention coal," Smith said.

A leader in the field of solar energy, Solar Reserve employs a technique whereby energy from the sun is stored as high-temperature molten salt until electricity is needed.

The company’s 110 MW Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant located in Nevada is the first utility-scale facility in the world to feature advanced molten salt power tower energy storage capabilities. The project, currently in the commissioning phase, will generate more than 500,000 megawatt-hours per year and includes 10 hours of full-load energy storage.

In May, the company opened two 75-megawatt (MW-DC) solar photovoltaic (PV) projects which are now providing the Eskom South African electric grid with renewable energy. 

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