In a statement, Acciona said its proposal "is the only one presented by a Spanish company” among the eight finalists in the first round of this programme – four involving solar thermal electric technology and four using photovoltaics– chosen from a total of 52 proposals submitted.
Acciona announced plans to expand into the Australian market back in March and this latest project involves the installation of 200-MW solar thermal electric capacity using parabolic trough technology at two possible sites located in the states of Queensland and South Australia.
Acciona must now submit detailed research and analysis underpinning the project before the Australian government will make a final decision, which it is expected to announce in the first half of 2011. Acciona will consider bringing in partners to work on this project.
Up to 1,000 MW of solar
The screening so far conducted represents the first round of the Solar Flagships programme, rolled out by the Australian government to lay the foundations for the large-scale deployment of solar energy in the country. With a target of approximately 1,000 MW, it is envisaged that this programme could help solar thermal electric power contribute significantly to the nation’s electricity supply and operate in a competitive market.
The programme, which is financed solely using public funds of Australian dollars 1.5 billion (€1.059 billion), includes two rounds, the first of which provides for the establishment of a total of 400 MW of power, comprising a solar thermal electric plant and one or more photovoltaic arrays.
Acciona operates or is constructing five solar thermal electric plants, representing an investment of €1.2 billion. In June 2007, the company connected to the grid the largest plant built in the last 19 years anywhere in the world: the 64-MW Nevada Solar One plant in the desert of Nevada (US), and since September 2009, it has also been operating a 50-MW plant it owns in Badajoz, southern Spain. Both plants use parabolic trough technology.
The company is currently building a further three solar thermal electric plants in Spain, each with a nameplate capacity of 50 MW. Two, Palma del Rio II (Córdoba) and Majadas (Cáceres), will be commissioned in 2010 and the third, Palma del Rio I, in 2011.
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