FEDERAL Member for Eden-Monaro, Gary Nairn has welcomed the Australian Government's massive investment in Cooma's Lloyd Energy Systems, as part of a $17.6 million pledge to demonstrate more efficient ways of storing electricity from renewable energy sources.
Lloyd Energy Systems has received $5 million to trial a solar energy storage system using graphite blocks.
Mr Nairn said that the project aims to demonstrate that multi-megawatt (MW) levels of solar thermal energy stored in high purity graphite blocks can be delivered on demand with very low storage losses.
"This project will involve installing a single tower solar array at Cooma to prove the technology, followed by a 16 tower solar array system at Lake Cargelligo."
"Each tower solar array has 100 tracking heliostats (supplied by Solar Heat and Power) which will direct sunlight into a 10-tonne graphite block mounted on a 15-metre tower. Power will be generated using a conventional 3 MW steam turbine," Mr Nairn said.
The $17.6 million in funding, provided under the Advanced Electricity Storage Technologies programme, was announced by the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull, and the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane.
Mr Turnbull said that more renewable energy could be used if the electricity generated from renewable sources was available continuously, day and night, and that better ways of storing the electricity when it is generated would help expand opportunities for its effective use.
"Demonstrating new renewable energy storage technologies in grid-connected and remote area power supply applications will give Australia a strong base on which to grow its own industry and expand opportunities overseas," Mr Turnbull said.
Electricity storage is an issue faced by all renewable energy generators worldwide.
"Australian experience in, and demonstration of, these technologies will have widespread benefits in both developing and developed countries.
Mr Macfarlane said the projects would help develop new ways of meeting Australia's growing demand for electricity, while also helping to reduce the effects of the environmental challenges we face today such as climate change and air quality.
"The renewable energy industry understands the strategic importance of improving electricity storage technologies. They are prepared to take action and the program will see a total of more than $36 million invested," Mr Macfarlane said.