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Environment and Sustainability Renewable Energy

Australian Government invests $15M into ‘solar hydro’ power plant

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The Australian Government has recently invested $15 million for the construction of an innovative ‘solar hydro’ power plant to help meet Australia’s energy storage needs. 

Through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the $15 million investment will support the country’s position as a renewable energy powerhouse while supporting energy reliability. 

RayGen, an Australian tech company that focuses on solar power technology and renewable energy storage, is building a 3 MW/50 MWh fully dispatchable “solar hydro” facility at Carwarp in Victoria’s northwest region. 

The ‘solar hydro’ facility will generate affordable and reliable renewable energy and will offer up to 17 hours of energy storage.  

RayGen will use its first-of-a-kind innovative concentrated solar PV technology and combine it with electrothermal storage technology to generate renewable energy that is on-demand in the National Electricity Market.

With its concentrated solar PV technology, RayGen plans to capture excess heat in water-based thermal storage pits. The stored energy will then be used as a backup to the solar farm. 

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the Government was focused on supporting the development of new technologies that deliver reliable and affordable power, strengthen the economy and reduce emissions.  

“Australia is a world leader in renewable energy technology,” Minister Taylor said.   

“With one in four Australian homes having solar, making sure our solar assets are backed up by dispatchable generation is vital for energy grid stability and shoring up our long-term supply. 

The construction of the ‘solar hydro’ power plant is vital for energy grid stability. It will also allow the country to have a long-term supply of reliable and affordable power.

Member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster said Mallee had a key role to play in renewable energy development and supply as the region’s sunny and vast land area can be utilised for renewable power generation.     

It is estimated that 70 new jobs will be created during the plant’s construction phase and the operations across both facilities will support approximately 45 ongoing positions.  

Longer duration energy storage is a key priority under the Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap since it has the potential to deliver reliable, renewable electricity at costs under $100 per MWh 

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