Solar Tower Project Pipped at the Post

We've talked before about the proposed Solar Tower of Power project slated for installation in South Eastern Australia. The massive tube was to stand as high as three Eiffel Towers and be surrounded by a wide skirt of glasshouse type structures. Heat from the sun would be trapped on the underside of this skirt and its only way of escape would be up the tower — past turbines which generated the power. Initially the plan was for a 1000m high tower to create up to 200MW of electricity. But in the middle of this year the project was scaled back to 50MW from 400 metres of tower. And just the other day came another set-back for the scheme. The company behind the project, Enviromission, were hoping to secure funding through the Australian Government's Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund (LETDF). However $125M AUD from LETDF was awarded to another project, which is claiming the title of "the biggest and most efficient solar photovoltaic power station in the world."

Solar Systems solar thermal dishes.

The company backing this concept, Solar Systems, (catchy name) also secured $50 million AUD from the Victorian State government. Their project is said to cost a total of $420M AUD and be capable of generating 154MW, with capacity to power 45,000 homes per year. (Also using solar thermal technology, though Solar Systems are putting their eggs in the mirrored dish basket, able, they suggest, to concentrate sunlight 500 times.) Enviromission are confused over the selection criteria for funding allocation, as their scheme planned for a similar geographic location as Solar Systems was expected to feed 100,000 homes, and will seek clarification from the government. However they committed to getting their pilot project built and rolling out similar ones across the country. ::Enviromission.

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