Vast Solar is developing VS1 in Port Augusta, a world-leading 30MW concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plant, after the Australian Government announced it will support the project with $110m in concessional financing.
VS1 will use Vast Solar’s world-leading modular power CSP technology and will be based at the Aurora Energy Project, which is 20km outside Port Augusta, South Australia. A joint venture with 1414 Degrees will also see Vast Solar co-develop a 140MW battery energy storage system (BESS) on the Aurora site.
VS1 will generate clean, low-cost, dispatchable power available on demand for up to 12 hours, catalysing an export-focussed renewables manufacturing industry and creating hundreds of direct and indirect jobs.
Why Port Augusta
Port Augusta has long been recognised by Vast Solar and others as an ideal location for CSP thanks to its quality solar resource, strong electrical grid, local industrial use-cases, and sizeable and growing support for CSP from the community.
VS1 will create hundreds of jobs during construction, and dozens of green manufacturing and long-term plant operations jobs. Vast Solar’s CSP uses turbines similar to those found in coal and gas power plants to generate electricity, meaning jobs are ideally-suited to workers with experience in fossil fired power plants, supporting the just transition.
Why Solar Thermal
While intermittent renewable technologies like solar pv and wind deliver affordable clean energy, they don’t generate power when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. This variable generation creates stability and capacity issues for the energy grid. Firm generation capacity is required, and presently this is provided by conventional coal fired power plants. However, these plants are scheduled to retire over the next 5 to 15 years, and a renewable alternative to coal fired generation is required to keep the lights on while reducing emissions.
CSP allows energy to be captured, stored and dispatched, at any time of day or night, providing the same firming capacity as coal-fired plants. When coupled with PV and wind generation, CSP can provide 24/7 emissions-free power and heat, and significantly increase the capacity factor for emerging renewable fuel production, such as hydrogen.