SolarReserve has scrapped the A$650m ($511m) Aurora Solar Energy Project after failing to secure financial close for the proposed 150MW solar thermal power station in South Australia.


Image: SolarReserve will not move ahead with the Aurora Solar Energy Project. Photo: courtesy of SolarReserve, LLC.

The South Australian government revealed that the company informed it about its inability to achieve financial closure on the Aurora Solar Energy Project as per the former’s deadline of 31 May 2019. The deadline date was agreed by the parties under the generation project agreement amendment deed.

As such, the date was amended by the government from its original 1 February 2018.

SolarReserve has now proposed to sell the Aurora Solar Energy Project to a third party which may take it up or go in with an alternative project at the site, located 30km north of Port Augusta.

The South Australian government said that it wants to immediately launch the process of returning to market to secure its future electricity requirements. It said that any party that may acquire the project from SolarReserve can tender for the new contract.

Currently, the government has a contract in place with SIMEC ZEN Energy to supply power till November 2020. The contract with SIMEC ZEN has an extension option if needed, revealed the government.

South Australian Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said: “SolarReserve first notified the previous State Government of their difficulties in securing finance before the last election, and they were granted additional time.

“Since the election in March 2018, the Government has worked hard to provide every reasonable assistance to the project, including additional time, finalisation of the project lease, approval of identified engineering, procurement and construction contractors, and introduction to potential financiers and investors.

“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.”

SolarReserve was granted development approval for the solar thermal power station by the South Australian government in January 2019.

The Aurora Solar Energy Project was to feature a 1,100MWh of energy storage as well. It was planned to be equipped with SolarReserve’s solar thermal technology with integrated molten salt energy storage to generate eight hours of full load electricity after dark.

The solar thermal power project was expected to create 4,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs during its construction stage.