Solarreserve will not achieve financial close for the »Aurora Solar« thermal plant in South Australia

US developer of concentrating solar power (CSP) plants Solarreserve LLC will not achieve financial close for the »Aurora Solar« thermal plant in Port Augusta, South Australia, by the end of May as required under the Generation Project Agreement Amendment Deed, says the Government of South Australia in an official statement. The date to achieve financial close was amended by the State Government from its original date February 1, 2018.
According to the Government, Solarreserve confirmed that the company proposes to sell the project to a third party who may take the project or an alternative project forward at the site. »As a consequence of Solarreserve’s inability to meet the financial close deadline, the State Government will immediately begin the process of returning to market to secure its future electricity needs.« The South Australian Government has a contract in place with SIMEC ZEN Energy to supply electricity until November 2020, and the contract has an extension option if required.
Any party that might purchase the project from Solarreserve will be able to tender for the new contract, said SA Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan: » I have long been a supporter of developing solar thermal technology in the Upper Spencer Gulf and this has not changed, but unfortunately Solarreserve has confirmed that it cannot be the company to do this.« Since the election in March 2018, the Government »has worked hard to provide every reasonable assistance to the project, including additional time, finalization of the project lease, approval of identified engineering, procurement and construction contractors, and introduction to potential financiers and investors.«
In August 2017, Solarreserve has signed a long-term 20 year Generation Project Agreement (GPA). In early January 2018, Solarreserve has received development approval for its »Aurora« solar energy project to build the 150 MW facility with a 1,100 MWh of energy storage capability near the town of Port Augusta. Construction of the AUD 650 million ($587 million) facility has been expected to start in 2018 and to be completed in 2020. A few days later, Solarreserve has opened an Australian headquarter in the South Australian capital Adelaide and a field office in Port Augusta. In September 2018 the company announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Heliostat SA, a South Australian company focused on the manufacture and assembly of heliostats and heliostat components, to partner in the development of plans and processes for the supply, manufacturing and assembly of more than 12,800 of Solarreserve's proprietary SR96 heliostat assemblies for the »Aurora Solar« project.

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