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Frydenberg to visit world’s tallest solar tower

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Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg is to visit what will be the world’s tallest solar tower in Israel next week as part of a government-led Austrade delegation to renewable energy and smart grid facilities in the Middle East country.

The centrepiece of the visit next week is to the 120MW Ashalim solar tower complex being built in the Negev desert, part of a 300MW facility combining two solar tower complexes (one with storage), and a large solar PV array.

The Ashalim tower, being built by GE, using Brightsource technology, will feature a 250 metre high tower – the largest in the world, and bigger than the 200m height of the Crescent Dunes facility in Nevada, the largest solar tower and storage project to  be built to date.

negev solar tower
The extreme height of the Ashalim tower is due to the restricted land area to house its plant’s 50,000 heliostats, or mirrors, which are used to direct the sun’s rays onto the tower to heat a boiler and create steam to spin a turbine; the closer the panels are to the tower, the higher the tower must be.

The visit to Ashalim will be Frydenberg’s first direct exposure to solar tower technology, but hopefully not his last, given his government’s renewed commitment to have the technology deployed in Australia. It’s a shame he won’t actually see one in operation, or with storage.

Still, the Australian government has committed to providing a $110 million concessional loan to a solar tower and storage facility near Port Augusta – a commitment reinforced and refined during its recent tax deal with the Nick Xenophon Team.

There are currently four main operating facilities around the world, including Brightsource’s Ivanpah project (no storage), Crescent Dunes (owned by SolarReserve), which has 10 hours of storage, and two smaller facilities in Spain. Others are under construction in Africa, Chile and China.

The visit to Israel is being organised by Austrade to focus on the country’s innovative energy programs, and to study how it has emerged as the best centre for start-ups outside of the US.

negev solar tower 2Israel has raised more venture capital per capita than any other country, and is home to about 300 renewable energy/cleantech companies – including in wind, solar thermal, solar PV, smart grid, energy efficiency and biofuel technologies.

The Austrade delegation includes representatives from EnergyAustralia, Ausnet, and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, as well as other energy groups and consultancies.

Also on the agenda are visits to wave energy technology developer Eco Wave Power, the Enel Innovation Hub, as well as other start-ups and innovators that are focusing on smart grids and cyber security.

When operational, the Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station will help Israel achieve its goal of having 10 per cent of its electricity production from renewable energy sources by 2020.  

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  • Ren Stimpy

    Is this another Exodus from the fossil fuel paradigm?

    • handbaskets’r’us

      The Genesis of a new direction perhaps…?

      • Ren Stimpy

        perhaps

    • Joe

      Can we put Big Mal’s hand puppet, Joshie Frydenberg, at the top of the solar tower…in the boiler perhaps. He can have a birds eye view of how it all works. No more of this ‘clean coal’ or ‘carbonn capture and storage’ rubbish.

      • Alastair Leith

        Hopefully all that rubbish is to distract the punters and his hard right MPs from the solutions he’s been forced to put some tokens into.

      • GregX

        This RE junket must have been a reward for the outstanding performance Josh put together with the SA Premier, Jay Weatherill, a few weeks ago. What a fitting reward. Hopefully Josh will learn a thing or two although I doubt it. Our best hope is that it was a one way plane ticket!

        • Joe

          Oh the horror for Josh with Premier Jay in Adelaide at their combined presser for AGL’s launch of VPP’s. It was the public take down for the ages and rightly so for all the bad mouthing that Big Mal and his hand puppet Joshie threw at Premier Jay for months on end. Why isn’t Joshie doing a world tour of ‘Clean Coal’ power plants?

          • Evan Vernon Giles

            Can’t see something that doesn’t exist, however the LNP will

  • Ashraf Newigy

    what the cost of evry watt to work 24 hour by molten tower

  • Joe

    Ahhraf, what cost do you put on a dead ‘Planet Earth’ which is what you’ll have if go business as usual with fossil fuels.

  • Ray Miller

    An ideal time to look at the best way of restoring land after coal mining? And what better use of the land then building solar thermal plants, its more productive then mining coal which nobody will want in a few short years/months.

  • Falcoh

    “Israel has raised more venture capital per capita than any other country” is, I am led to understand, a direct result of their business tax structure, and assists everyone with a good idea to get that concept to market. I don’t understand what the difference is made up of. Anyone with an insight care to comment?

  • solarguy

    I would have thought a country like Israel would already have more than 10% RE already!
    After all they have been into solar for decades.

  • Oz Hog

    I wonder if they have a remedy for storms knocking over interconnector power lines.