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The outcome of this research highlights a range of potential CSP sites primarily in the eastern and northern reaches

of the Wheatbelt. These areas reflect locations with high levels of solar radiation, close proximity to transportation and transmission infrastructure, low topographic relief and limited agricultural productivity. In general, potential sites exist north of Moora, between Cunderdin and Southern Cross along the Great Eastern Highway and northwest of Kondinin. The next phase of this programme would involve ground truthing of data, particularly modelled solar insolation and other climatic information, to determine the optimal site from those identified in this research. Policy decisions relating to the form, magnitude and function of potential CSP generation should also be explored. Distributed generation, whereby small-scale CSP is deployed to generate electricity for local consumption or to the grid, offers a cost-effective alternative to infrastructure upgrade as a solution to the problem of reliable electricity supply to rural and remote areas. Furthermore, new developments highlight the potential of ‘microCSP’ involving modular systems of 2-5 megawatt capacity which would be particularly suited to the Wheatbelt. These options should be examined further through participatory consultation with all stakeholders in order to ensure a reliable, economic and environmentally friendly source of power to the Wheatbelt.

Action to reduce the impacts of anthropogenic global warming associated with greenhouse gas emissions has been accorded the highest priority by the Commonwealth Government.

The Institute for Regional Development (IRD) at the University of Western Australia was established in 2000 with the aim of engaging and collaborating with rural, regional and remote communities in areas of socio-economic development and environmental management. With this in mind, partnerships have been forged with key government agencies, industry groups, community representatives and other stakeholders across Western Australia, providing consultancy, research and other services which draw upon the expertise of individuals across the University of Western Australia. The Director of the IRD is Professor Matthew Tonts, who has diverse firsthand experience of economic, planning, social and environmental issues in rural Western Australia. Staff of the IRD are drawn from various disciplinary groups within the University and include specialists in urban planning, economic development, geographical information systems, environmental management, natural hazards, coastal development and resource conservation. This integration of expertise enables the IRD to offer creative, dynamic and innovative research and consultancy whilst maintaining consistently high professional and personal values and standards in its work. For further information please contact Dr Julian Clifton at jclifton@cyllene. (telephone 6488 3385) or Dr Bryan Boruff at bboruff@cyllene. (telephone 6488 2700).

Electricity generation represents the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 37% of the national total in 2007 (Department of Climate Change, 2009). Solar power represents a readily available and increasingly cost-effective renewable source of electricity. The availability of sunlight determines the timing and quantity of solar-generated electricity from photovoltaic cells. Concentrated solar power (CSP), however, involves the storage of heat generated from solar radiation and therefore can provide continuous electricity at night and during cloudy periods. CSP is currently being fast-tracked in the United States and Spain, with China, India and other countries planning CSP expansion.

Projected technological advances and economies of scale are anticipated to reduce the cost of CSP-generated electricity to around US 5 cents per kilowatt hour which is comparable with fossil fuels. With its abundant sunlight and land availability, Australia is uniquely situated to capitalize upon CSP technology to combine future electricity demands with limitations on greenhouse gas emissions. However, funding constraints have limited the development of this technology thus far, with little attention being given to its full capacity. This project therefore offers the potential to showcase the Wheatbelt nationally through undertaking the first full evaluation of environmental and economic criteria to identify suitable sites for CSP facilities.


Europe Online North America (MW) Online Planned 2007 - 2012 418 2,954 Planned 2007 - 2012 12 2,046

Asia Pacific (MW) Online Planned 2007 - 2012 Middle East Africa (MW) – 175

1.0 - 1.9

2.0 - 2.9

3.0 - 3.9

4.0 - 4.9

5.0 - 5.9

6.0 - 6.9 Midpoint of zone value

Global CSP capacity in 2008

Online Planned 2007 - 2012

– 1,185

2005 variance (satellite derived) at BoM weather were ranked basedBoM weathertheir productive capabilities.Concentrated solar power generates electricity through collecting and concentrating solar radiation which heats a liquid. a number of optimal target areas were identified. Using information provided by the Calculate monthly Statistical BoM solar Calculate monthly Statistical BoM solar of averages SOLAR RADIATION lands GRID Departmentdata Foodaverages Agriculture. as well as the nature of existing land usage and ownership. NASA averages NASA solar averages Capability.0. deviation std. Topographic information is widely available for Australia at an appropriate resolution for identifying suitable locations. highly productive lands far from infrastructure ArcGIS solar ArcGIS solar radiationmodel: radiationmodel: calculates scores). The accepted minimum annual solar radiation necessary for electricity generation using CSP is around 2.60 . and the avoidance of highly productive agricultural lands. Economies of scale limit the lower capacity of solar tower and parabolic trough CSP.0. Optical Concentrator While solar radiation and topography play a major role in the identification of suitable solar generation locations. usually a saline fluid or oil.1 and sum 0 . to supplement the electricity output from CSP.64 of 0. These methods were evaluated and compared to identify a statistically appropriate high resolution solar radiation model for the Wheatbelt.000 households in the Wheatbelt area. solar tower and parabolic dish techniques as illustrated.2005 at BoM weather stations BoM weather stations assuming transmissivity assuming transmissivity of 0. Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) satellite derived data and solar radiation information modeled using the GIS software package ArcGIS. The three principal modes of CSP comprise the parabolic trough. with individual modules generating 10-50 kilowatts and multiple dish arrays being constructed generating up to hundreds of megawatts. capability of the land and suitability. slope and orientation also contribute to the amount of energy that can be captured at any specific location. to temperatures up to 800ºC. modeled solar radiation data. whilst other siting criteria include proximity to the electricity transmission grid and to centres of population. deviation SOLAR RADIATION GRID CAPABILITY INDEX CAPABILITY INDEX Combine Combine OPTIMAL SITES OPTIMAL SITES Concentrator re ective surface Parabolic dish Tower Solar tower Heliostats Tracking mechanism Parabolic trough SRTM ArcGIS solar radiationmodel: calculates monthly averages 1999 . modeled using parameters derived from ground based solar radiation instruments (deployed by BoM) in Geralton and Kalgoorlie. and water bodies are inappropriate for hosting a CSP generation facility. usually fossil fuel-based.2005 variance 1999 . land capability and suitability information were overlaid to identify the best targets for hosting CSP generation facilities.2005 (satellite derived) at BoM weather (satellite derived) transmission lines. ‘Hybrid’ forms of CSP involve the integration of CSP with other forms of electricity generation. Concentrated Solar Radiation Receiver Heat Storage Heat Fossil Fuel Backup Heat Engine However. Combining solar radiation information with proximity to infrastructure. other factors are important in understanding suitability in a local context.2005 at BoM weather stations assuming transmissivity of 0.2005 averages 1999 .1 and sum scores scores CAPABILITY INDEX CAPABILITY INDEX SOLAR RADIATION SOLAR RADIATION Masked solar Masked solar radiation radiation 1 km 2 1 km 2 lter lter Exclude > 1 Exclude > 1 std.000 kilowatt hours per square metre. environmentally sensitive locations and aboriginal heritage sites.0. Three products were surveyed for this project including NASA satellite derived data. Relatively flat terrain with slope angles of less than 4º are also required. These locations were mapped to identify areas entirely unsuitable for CSP development and were used to mask out regions not suitable for further inquiry.e. monthly received low capability monthly at SRTM calculates SRTM averages 1999 .2005 Scale capability Scale capability 0 .2005 of access to road networks and power radiationin radiation data 1999 .2005 variance (satellite derived) 1999 .2005 across the Wheatbelt in terms of hosting a CSP generation facility (i. environmentally sensitive areas. Parabolic dish CSP is the most versatile.64 Calculate monthly Calculate monthly Electricity generation through CSP Electricity NASA solar radiation data (satellite derived) Calculate monthly averages 1999 . deviation std. deviation Environmentally Environmentally sensitive lands sensitive lands Water features Water features . The availability of sufficient solar radiation is the key criterion determining the suitability of CSP. as illustrated. Receiver or engine/receiver Receiver Concentrator re ective surface BoM solar radiation data (satellite derived) Receiver BoM solar radiation data (weather station) Calculate monthly averages 1999 .solardata terms 1999 . ArcGIS provided the highest resolution information on localized solar radiation variation.60 . Finally.2005 at BoM weather stations Road network Road network Transmission lines Transmission lines Statistical analysis of variance Substations Substations Agricultural productivity Agricultural productivity Statistical analysis of variance Digital elevation model Digital elevation model (excludes >4º slope) (excludes >4º slope) Aboriginal lands Aboriginal lands Binary mask Binary mask each feature each feature and overlay and overlay Some locations including native title claims. This is then used to produce steam and generate electricity through a steam turbine generator.60 . This on at stations stations information was combined with distance to infrastructure to BoM solar Statistical BoM Calculate monthly Statistical Calculate monthly radiation data develop asolardata geographicaverages representationanalysisthe capability of lands of of analysis of radiation averages (weather station) variance (weather station) 1999 . with both being suitable to generate electricity in the 30-150 megawatts range. A 30 megawatt facility operating at full capacity would supply the annual electricity needs of approximately 35.2005 at BoM weather stations Calculate monthly averages 1999 . While latitude drives the amount of solar radiation striking the earth. In Australia (and beyond) these include access to power transmission lines and road BoM weather was modeled across the Wheatbelt as stations stations distance to infrastructure.64 SUITABILITY MASK SUITABILITY MASK Masked Masked capability capability SUITABILITY MASK SUITABILITY MASK Exclude > 1 Exclude > 1 std. only a limited range of solar radiation data exists and varies in resolution and price. WA agricultural GRID and analysis of radiation SOLAR RADIATION analysis of radiation data 1999 .