1414 Degrees to acquire Aurora Solar Energy Project

Thursday, 05 December, 2019

1414 Degrees to acquire Aurora Solar Energy Project

Energy storage specialist 1414 Degrees has announced it is set to acquire SolarReserve Australia II, which owns the Aurora Solar Energy Project near Port Augusta in South Australia and two solar sites in NSW.

The Aurora Solar Energy Project has SA Government development approval for a 70 MW solar PV farm and 150 MW of generation from a concentrated solar thermal plant (CST), but the project was scrapped in April after SolarReserve failed to secure commercial funding. Now 1414 Degrees plans to acquire SolarReserve Australia II, the holding company for the project, and proposes to use the site to pilot its TESS-GRID technology.

“We will be using South Australian technology to create a large-scale, thermal energy storage plant near Port Augusta able to supply reliable power on demand to the national grid,” said 1414 Degrees Executive Chairman Dr Kevin Moriarty.

Government and stakeholder approvals will be sought to vary or submit a new development application to provide up to 400 MW of solar PV together with the installation of the TESS-GRID technology. 1414 Degrees aims to progressively scale up the storage capacity to several thousand MWh; a TESS-GRID at this scale would be able to supply many hours of dispatchable electricity with spinning reserve from its turbines and a range of frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) to support grid stability.

1414 Degrees’ electrically charged TESS-GRID could buy and store electricity generated by other renewable farms on the high-voltage transmission network in the region. Heat from the TESS-GRID can also power Smart Farms, protected cropping greenhouses and industry, and 1414 Degrees is investigating production of hydrogen using the excess heat from its turbines.

Dr Moriarty said the site has several clear advantages for the development of the TESS-GRID solution, noting, “The unregulated high-voltage transmission line to the OZ Minerals Carrapateena and Prominent Hill mines is being constructed along the boundary of the Aurora Solar Energy Project, and provision has been made for a substation at the existing Aurora site with direct connection to the Davenport substation in Port Augusta. Davenport is part of the major transmission networks to Eyre Peninsula, Adelaide and the new interconnector to NSW.”

Dr Moriarty said 1414 Degrees will control and manage the Aurora Solar Energy Project, with development and finance from its subsidiary company. He said progressing the development will create jobs during construction, then long-term jobs for operators of the generation and storage plant and industries using the heat energy.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from infrastructure and investment funds seeking to invest in the potential of our technology and this large solar farm will generate significant revenues while supporting the staged development of our large-scale energy storage technology,” Dr Moriarty said. “The advanced status of this project is expected to result in early revenues from energy sales. We will avoid high capital requirements by staging the development.”

The $2 million acquisition will be funded by 1414 Degrees’ cash reserves. Dr Moriarty said the company will reopen negotiations with OZ Minerals and ElectraNet as soon as the acquisition is complete.

Image caption: 1414 Degrees’ concept for the Aurora Solar Energy Project with TESS-GRID.

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