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Feasibility of a grid connected solar power tower with molten salt storage plant for Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia

Rule, Matt (2016) Feasibility of a grid connected solar power tower with molten salt storage plant for Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Solar power tower (SPT) plants with thermal energy storage (TES) provide great opportunities on the utility-scale; becoming a viable option for areas with moderate to high direct solar availability. The absence of commercial SPTs in Australia, together with the need to increase renewable energy capacity, raises the importance of proving it viable and beneficial. There is an apparent research gap, specifically, into the feasibility of a grid connected SPT with molten salt storage system for the Goldfields city, which this research explores. In this dissertation, solar power tower with storage systems are reviewed to facilitate the research. The System Advisor Model (SAM) base case 104 MW SPT, with the performance advancement that (14 hours) molten salt storage adds, introduces the capability of replacing conventional power plants, generate reliable base load or demand following electricity into the SWIS power grid and create jobs. Kalgoorlie-Boulder, with its excellent solar resource, infrastructure, local economy and SWIS grid connection enables this solar thermal power system to be considered appropriate. The research methodology presents the procedure and limitations in the modeling of the system, and the sensitivity analysis. The estimated performance of certain SPT with molten salt TES designs (similar to Crescent Dunes SPT plant) show that it could generate all of the city’s electricity demand (excluding the mine sites), and still feed in electricity to the grid. The benefits from grid connection come in the form of capacity credits and renewable energy certificates. These are required to form a PPA, as the estimated LCOE is above the fossil fuel range (although in line with current SPTs with storage). Taking advantage of Government policies and incentives from the gird, together with the system costs (explicitly, heliostat field) predicted reduction, the gap will close, improving economic viability and enhancing its feasibility.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Gao, Xiangpeng
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