$75 million sought to scale renewable power
Vast Solar is looking to raise $75 million from strategic partners to build its business and help finance its first utility-scale concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plant. Investment is sought following the company’s successful ARENA-backed 1 MW pilot project at Jemalong, NSW, to deliver dispatchable renewable power to the grid.
CSP is rapidly becoming the preferred means of generating cost-effective dispatchable renewable power in sunny regions. The International Renewable Energy Agency anticipates 633 GW of installed CSP by 2050, with China investing heavily and South Africa recently adding CSP to firm its grid following issues with coal plants.
CSP technology uses heliostats — mirrors that track the sun in two directions — to concentrate solar radiation onto a receiving tower. Unlike traditional CSP, Vast Solar uses sodium as the heat transfer fluid to capture the concentrated solar energy, which can then be stored and used on demand to drive a conventional turbine and generate electricity.
“The success of our pilot plant has proven our technology can deliver dispatchable renewable energy to the grid and we are confident that, at scale, our technology will produce power at a lower cost than coal, gas or other renewable storage technologies,” said Vast Solar CEO Craig Wood.
While grid-scale lithium batteries can assist grid stability over short periods, sodium-ion batteries have the potential to supply energy to the grid for many hours while the sun isn’t shining. Plants can be configured with 4–16 hours of storage and generators up to 500 MW.
Vast Solar is working with investment bank Moelis Australia to raise $75m to develop its business and finance its upcoming 50 MW hybrid project, comprising a 30 MW CSP plant with 10 hours of storage and a 20 MW photovoltaic plant.
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