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Vast Solar to build a 30 MW / 288 MWh CSP plant in Australia


Vast Solar said it has executed engineering contracts to complete the front-end engineering design (FEED) on a proposed 30 MW/288 MWh VS1 CSP plant it aims to develop north of Port Augusta, South Australia.


Vast Solar said it has appointed Queensland engineering and survey firm FYFE, Western Australian-based EPC specialist Primero, Swedish engineering outfit Afry, and American-Australian engineering company Worley to progress plans for the VS1 project, which will use the Sydney-based developer’s modular tower CSP technology.


“This is a major step forward for Vast and VS1, putting this historic CSP project on the path to construction,” Vast Chief Executive Craig Wood said. “Afry, FYFE, Primero and Worley will bring the right combination of global and local expertise to VS1, which will utilize our industry-leading technology to capture and store the sun’s energy during the day before generating heat and dispatchable power during the day or night.”


The front-end engineering and design on the VSI project is expected to be completed in August 2024 ahead of a final investment decision in the third quarter of 2024, with construction works to commence later in the year.


Wood said the project is anticipated to create dozens of green manufacturing jobs, hundreds of jobs during construction and long-term plant operation roles.


The VS1 power plant is part of the larger Aurora Energy Project that also incorporates a grid-scale pilot of Adelaide-based energy storage specialist 1414 Degrees’ SiBox thermal energy storage technology.


The two companies also plan to build a 140 MW/280 MWh battery energy storage system at the site, that will be co-located with a planned solar methanol production facility that will use electricity and heat generated by the VS1 project to power a 10 MW electrolyzer.


The announcement of engineering contracts comes after Vast and 1414 last week announced they had commenced negotiations to gain access to transmission lines to connect the planned battery and solar thermal projects to the grid.


Vast and 1414 said they have entered into a term sheet with OZ Minerals Services, a subsidiary of mining giant BHP with the goal of gaining access to the transmission line that services the Prominent Hill and Carrapateena mines.


The 275 kV Hill-to-Hill Transmission Line is owned by network operator ElectraNet but Oz Minerals is the sole customer, so must be part of any agreement.


Vast Solar said an independent technical review on the proposed connection will now be commissioned.


“We are looking forward to continuing discussions with BHP to agree commercial and technical terms so we can progress the precinct,” said Wood.

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