Energy is one of the biggest financial costs for mines—one that impacts competitiveness given the escalating and uncertain prices of fossil fuels. With a focus on reducing costs and operational risks, resource companies in Australia are seizing the opportunity to transform the economics of their business by replacing a volatile energy source with one that is fixed for the life of the facility and sustainable—the sun. Boasting the highest average solar radiation per square meter of any continent in the world, Australia’s remarkable solar resource fuels a renewable energy solution that can deliver significant savings and predictable energy costs to mining operations throughout the region.
“In Australia, the best solar resources are commonly found in remote areas where mines operate, presenting the off-grid mining sector with a substantial opportunity to offset the high price of electricity generation in these remote locations with a solar energy alternative. In Western Australia alone, there are more than 1,000 operating mines—many of which are powered by high-priced diesel fuel,” said SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith.
“SolarReserve’s world-leading solar thermal technology with integrated molten salt storage offers a cost-effective, reliable and most importantly, a baseload supply of electricity that is critical to mining operations.” Smith added, “In the face of impending policy decisions by the Australian government related to renewable energy and carbon emissions, solar energy for the mining sector is a win-win: good for business and good for the environment.”
SolarReserve has expanded its global team with the hire of Daniel Thompson as director of development for Australia. He will be based in the Perth office and will lead SolarReserve’s development activities for the region. Thompson has more than 10 years of energy sector experience in power generation and renewable energy project development in Australia. He previously held management positions at Verve Energy and Western Power Corporation.
“We are thrilled to have Daniel join our team,” said Tom Georgis, senior vice president of development. “His deep industry and market knowledge combined with more than a decade of successful development of renewable projects in Australia will help SolarReserve capitalize on the enormous opportunities that exist in the region for our 24 x 7 reliable power supply solutions.”
SolarReserve’s industry leading CSP technology features an integrated molten salt energy storage system that enables firm, reliable electricity to be generated on-demand and delivered to meet the client’s power needs. This energy storage capability provides a stable electricity product similar to that of conventional fossil fuel-burning power facilities, but without the associated harmful emissions and price volatility.
SolarReserve’s CSP technology, either alone or coupled with PV, can provide a cost effective and reliable alternative to diesel fired generation with the reduction in emissions to near zero. About SolarReserve SolarReserve, LLC – headquartered in Santa Monica, California – is a leading developer of large-scale solar energy projects and technology with activities worldwide and more than $1.8 billion of projects in construction. SolarReserve has commercialized the world’s leading solar thermal energy storage technology utilizing molten salt in a power tower configuration. SolarReserve’s solar energy storage technology has the capability to deliver clean, reliable electricity “on demand” at any time, day and night.
SolarReserve’s experienced team of power project professionals has assembled an extensive 5,000 MW worldwide development portfolio of large-scale solar projects, including some featuring advanced solar thermal technology (CSP) and others utilizing photovoltaic (PV) technology. SolarReserve’s 110 MW Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant located near Tonopah, Nevada is the first commercial-scale facility in the world to feature advanced molten salt power tower energy storage capabilities. The project is currently under construction with more than 700 workers on site and will be entering the commissioning phase later this year. First generation of electricity is scheduled for mid-2014. Additionally, SolarReserve currently has three photovoltaic projects, totaling 246 MW of generation capacity, in construction in South Africa.
The Letsatsi and Lesedi power projects, each 75 MW in size, broke ground in February 2013 and are well underway in construction. The projects were selected as the “African Renewable Energy Deal of the Year” by Project Finance Magazine in 2012. The 96 MW Jasper power project recently closed financing and commenced construction shortly thereafter. The three projects have a combined capital cost of more than $820 million and are all slated for completion in 2014. In addition to its headquarters in the US, SolarReserve has offices in Spain, Chile, South Africa, Turkey, Australia and the UK, with activities underway in the Middle East, Africa, Australia, China, and Latin America. For m