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received ranges between 2,050 kWh/m2/yr and 2,800 kWh/m2/yr, which is among the best in the world. The UAE began actively promoting the development of solar power generation in April 2008. Both emirates have ambitious initial targets: Abu Dhabi wants solar to account for 7% of its output by 2020, whilst Dubai is aiming for 5% by 2030. Abu Dhabi has launched projects using both PV and STE technologies, whilst Dubai is currently focusing on PV systems. In January 2013, the UAE inaugurated the largest stand-alone STE plant in the Middle East, Shams 1. At 100 MW, Shams 1 extends over an area of 2.5 km2, with a solar field consisting of 768 PT collectors. The project generates enough electricity to power 20,000 homes and avoids 175,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every tear. Despite the considerable potential for STE in the UAE, the industry has experienced slower-than- expected industry growth to date, lagging behind other Sun Belt countries. It is expected, however, that the UAE will soon formulate a more concrete local content policy to create a new market as it has the necessary resources, including the infrastructure and labour force needed to localise the STE supply chain. China After 20 years of perseverance, a breakthrough was made in China’s STE project construction. In August 2012, the first MW level solar power tower plant in China the Beijing Badaling solar thermal power plant was put into full operation. In September 2014, National Development and Reform Commission set a FIT of RMB 1.2 yuan/kWh for the 50 MW Delingha solar thermal power plant operated by SUPCON Group. The first phase of the project, which has a 10 MW capacity and gas boiler for superheat, has been in commercial operation since July 2013. National Basic Research Programme (973 Programme), National High-tech R&D Programme (863 Programme), National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and National Technical Innovation Fund for Medium and Small- Size Enterprise all give long-term support to STE technology. With the support of the government and private sector investment, many PT collector systems have been put into operation, and several LFR and Stirling solar thermal demonstration systems have been built in the past several years. To promote technical innovation and build an industry technology innovation chain, National Solar Thermal Energy Alliance was established in October 2009. The country is also advancing research into STE and currently has 25 sets of solar thermal collecting experiment facilities. The supply chain for STE has also started developing. A total of 15 companies, for example, can produce PT vacuum receiver tubes; five companies can mass produce trough glass reflector mirrors; two companies could provide the EPC for solar tower type collector systems; two companies can produce turbines for solar thermal electricity, and there is one joint venture company in the country that combines BrightSource’s advanced STE technology with Shanghai Electric’s leading equipment manufacturing and EPC services. According to “The 12th Five-Year Plan on Renewable Energy Development”, the installed STE capacity by 2015 was expected to be 1 GW. Current installed capacity in the country, however, is about 12 MW. Nevertheless, China has more than 30 solar thermal power projects planned, the total capacity of which (if all realized) would amount to about 3 GW. In December 2014 the National Energy Administration issued the “Notice on Drawing up 13th Five-Year Plan on Solar Energy Development by General Affairs Department of National Energy Administration.” STE is an important part of this next plan, which is of great significance for STE industry. Australia Currently, the cost of STE in Australia is higher than commercially viability will allow. Despite ongoing and active representations from the concentrating solar thermal industry in Australia, at the time of this writing, no material policy initiatives have been proposed by the government to support dispatchable renewable power generation such as STE with large-scale energy storage. However, the government has provided indications that reviews of the renewable energy target for the period SOLAR POWER beyond 2020 are likely to consider dispatchability and energy storage as key elements. A parallel initiative, partly funded the Australian Renewable Energy Agency58, has been established with the goal of reducing the cost of STE technology specifically. This initiative, known as the ‘Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative is managed by the CSIRO in a dedicated directorate. ASTRI has received commitments of funding of approximately AUD$ 70 million over eight years, subject to securing partial funding from industry sources. A review of the ASTRI will take place in 2017, the mid-point of the ASTRI programme period. Presently, only two STE projects are operational in Australia, both partly funded by Australian Renewable Energy Agency. They are: The Vast Solar Pty limited 6MWth (1.1 MWe) Pilot CR project, located in Central Western New South Wales. Construction of the Vast Solar Pilot Project was completed in May 2015, and commissioning is underway at the time of writing. Once operational, this will be Australia’s only electricity grid-connected so- lar thermal power plant with thermal energy storage The CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship STE facility, located at West Mayfield, near New- castle in New South Wales. This facility is pri- marily used for research and development, including research into solar chemistry and solar gas synthesis, and is also the location from which the ASTRI programme referred to earlier is managed Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector technology was proposed for three projects in Australia, however, none are currently in operation. A 44 MWth CLFR system (utilising the AREVA Solar CLFR system) was planned for the CS Energy Kogan Creek coal-fired power station.Unfortunately, due to contractual issues between the parties, the project has not been completed. No date has yet been set for commencement of operations. Regarding planned STE projects, Vast Solar has announced plans to develop a 30 MW STE project with four hours of thermal energy storage, also to be located in Central Western New South Wales. At the time of writing, environmental planning 37 energetica INDIA · MAY | JUN16


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