California, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] It has been rumored in recent weeks that Ausra was dropping its near-term plans to build utility-scale solar thermal plants in the California desert. Now, Bob Fishman, the company’s CEO, has said that while the company will still move forward with development of a 177-megawatt project with Pacific Gas & Electric, it will be scaling back plans for other, similar sized projects in the near future.
Fishman said that the company still has confidence in solar thermal technologies and their applications and will continue to operate in that space.
“Ausra is strategically positioning itself to achieve its goals and serve its customers by focusing on being a technology and equipment supplier rather than an independent power developer and owner. Ausra has developed this strategy in partnership with its prospective customers to enable it to complement rather than compete with its power customer base. This strategy allows Ausra to diversify and respond quickly and flexibly to new market opportunities. As a result, the company will offer utilities and industrial companies the opportunity to own projects with Ausra-manufactured equipment,” he said.
Ausra will also be expanding it’s product line to include building medium-sized (50-MW equivalent) solar steam generating systems for food processors and enhanced oil recovery firms, and utilities for power augmentation.
“Ausra can quickly ramp up and install these low-cost projects as early as 2009 or 2010, while large power projects can take three to four years. For Ausra, this will allow the company to deploy its technology and generate revenue immediately, while the larger projects are obtaining permits and getting transmission access,” Fishman said. “As a result of this evolution in its business strategy, Ausra has realigned the functions in the company. This has resulted in some personnel leaving the company, internal reassignments, and the hiring of new individuals with the talent Ausra needs to implement the new path forward.”
The company said that it still has plans to move into building large, utility-scale projects in the U.S. Australia and the Middle East. This plans however are now in the long-term rather than short- to medium-term.