Innovative technology to power regional Victoria

Joint media release with Member for Mallee Anne Webster

The Morrison Government is funding the construction of an innovative ‘solar hydro’ power plant to help meet Australia’s energy storage needs into the future through a $15 million investment by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

This investment continues Australia’s position as a renewable energy powerhouse while at the same time supporting reliability.

RayGen is building a 3 MW / 50 MWh fully dispatchable “solar hydro” facility at Carwarp, near Mildura in Victoria’s north-west, to generate affordable and reliable renewable energy. The facility offers up to 17 hours of energy storage.

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

This investment builds on the Commonwealth’s $3 million in support for a feasibility study and development work last year.

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

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

“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 Government is backing technology, not taxes, to meet our emissions reduction targets without compromising our energy affordability or security.

“Using innovative technology, RayGen aims to scale up to a 100 megawatt project capable of providing secure, dispatchable power to help support grid stability in Victoria and reduce emissions.

“Making sure our solar assets are backed up by dispatchable generation is vital for energy grid stability and shoring up our long-term supply so that Australians have access to the reliable and affordable power they need.”

Member for Mallee, Anne Webster, said Mallee had a key role to play in renewable energy development and supply.

“Across north west Victoria we are blessed with abundant sun and land that can be utilised for renewable power generation. New and improved technology for renewable energy generation is essential as we move to renewables making up a greater proportion of our energy supply,” Dr Webster said.

“Mallee is well placed to be a national leader in renewable energy supply. I’ve been working closely with industry and research and development organisations to assess options for the future of a renewable energy industry in Mallee. This development by RayGen, is a fantastic step forward.

“The pilot plant that RayGen are developing is innovative and will provide a stable, dispatchable form of solar power to the grid, something that is needed for confidence in renewable supply.”

RayGen’s technology will capture excess heat from the concentrated solar PV in water-based thermal storage pits the size of nine Olympic size swimming pools. This stored energy will help back up the solar farm when the sun isn’t shining.

Australian Government funding for the project will go toward the construction of RayGen’s dispatchable renewable energy facility at Carwarp, as well as a new manufacturing facility to support the company’s future growth.

Up to 70 new jobs will be created during the construction phase, while 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. It has the potential to deliver reliable, renewable electricity at costs under $100 per MWh, the stretch goal under the Roadmap.

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