Solar Hybrid Generation Promoted to Australian Politicians

The Victoria State government is collaborating with the Australian Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organization to develop the benefits of distributed generation in the state.

MELBOURNE, Victoria, AU, 2001-10-05 [] CSIRO is researching a solar thermal – fossil energy hybrid generation system that could meet industry demand for electricity and direct use energy. A substantial portion of the region’s energy is supplied by natural gas, which is expected to exhibit strong growth. “Many opportunities exist in Victoria for gas-based distributed generation technologies, as well as with conventional centralized generation,” CSIRO’s Jim Edwards told Members of Parliament. “Parts of Victoria have abundant solar energy resources; using technologies such as the CSIRO solar-gas hybrid system can substantially extend the life of Victoria’s gas resources whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” The system’s solar concentrating dish is supplied by Solar Systems of Victoria, whose technical director John Lasich told the MPs that “Australia has sufficient solar resources to supply not only our own energy needs, but the whole world’s energy needs, many times over.” “The opportunity is there for an enormous new industry, real employment growth and exports, with Australia positioned as the energy centre of the world,” he explained. “Solar farms are emerging as an application for general grid connection.” “As the efficiencies achieved reduce costs, and as the community demand for green power outstrips supply, reflective parabolic dishes with photovoltaic cells to convert concentrated sunlight directly to electricity will enable power companies to profitably add solar generated electricity to the grid,” he said. Solar Systems maintains a proving facility at Fosterville in northern Victoria, which features a CS500 dish concentrator unit that can be connected in parallel to form a power station from 20 kWe to multi-megawatt scale. Applications include remote area power supply for villages and isolated grids, grid connected power, diesel fuel substitution for hybrid grids, water pumping and water purification.