Burrup Fertilisers Pty Ltd (BFPL) has moved its plan to build $1.5 billion solar energy plant from Western Australia's Pilbara region to South Australia's Coorong shire, after being unable to find suitable land. Coorong shire is 100 kilometer southeast of Adelaide. The company first raised the prospect of constructing a large-scale solar plant in the Pilbara in the middle of 2008. Besides preliminary discussions, very little work on the idea had progressed since 2008.

BFPL had been seeking land which was close to existing transmission infrastructure, but not vulnerable to the cyclones which annually lash the West Australian coastline.

Horizon Power had entered a non-binding memorandum of understanding with BFPL to conduct a feasibility study into the development of a 100 megawatt solar thermal power station in the Pilbara hinterland. The company had also agreed to a potential off-take arrangement to underwrite the project.

The relationship between the parties described was not a partnership, nor did it limit Horizon Power to deal exclusively with Oswal Power, a spokeswoman said. Horizon Power will continue to work with any proponent to investigate the commercial and technical feasibility of large-scale renewable generation in its service area.

Pilbara Regional Council Executive Officer Adrian Ellson said that the decision to proceed with the project in South Australia was a letdown.

The PRC is disappointed … we would have much preferred to have it here, Ellson said.