The Clean Energy Initiative (CEI) was announced in the May 2009 Budget and this iniative included the Solar Flagship Program. The program funding is aimed to support construction and demonstration of large-scale integrated carbon capture and storage projects in Australia, which may include gasification, post-combustion capture, oxy-firing, transport and storage technologies. The target is to create 1000MW of low emission fossil fuel generation, with $1.6 billion in funding available over 6 years.
The Solar Flagships incorporates part of the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program (REDP). The first round of the $435 million REDP closed in April 2009, attracting applications from solar, ocean, geothermal, and biomass energy companies. A portion of this funding, $135m, has now been transferred to the Solar Flagships program. The ocean, geothermal and biomass applications will be assessed for support from the remaining $300m, while the most prospective solar applications will be further considered by Renewables Australia. All the REDP solar applicants will be able to participate in the Solar Flagships Program.
There are two primary classes of solar energy technology – solar thermal, and photovoltaic (PV), and several competing technologies within each of these classes. To maximise the technology demonstration and learning benefits, the solar flagships will include up to four technologies – 2 solar thermal and 2 PV. The location of each solar flagship power station will be a function of solar and grid (including connection) factors. Advice will be obtained from transmission companies and the Australian Energy Market Operator on the optimum siting for the solar flagship power stations in the national grid.
Energy storage technology is an important adjunct to solar generation, enabling the capacity factor to be extended (such as into the evening period). Storage will be part of the solar flagship projects. A further criterion in selecting companies and technologies to develop the solar flagship power stations could be their potential to develop manufacturing and export activities in Australia.
See http://www.ret.gov.au/Department/Documents/CEI%20Fact%20Sheet%20(13%20May%2009).pdf for more details.