Adelaide-based thermal energy storage company 1414 Degrees has bought SolarReserve Australia II, which owns the Aurora Solar Energy Project near Port Augusta in South Australia and two solar sites in NSW. The Aurora Solar Energy Project has development approval for a 70MW solar PV farm and 150MW of generation from a concentrated solar thermal plant (CST).

The new owner proposes to use the site to pilot its TESS-GRID technology, with electricity firming services developed to similar scale as the previous project.

Approvals will be sought to vary or submit a new development application to provide up to 400MW of solar PV together with the installation of the TESS-GRID technology.

1414 Degrees aims to progressively scale up the storage capacity to several thousand MWh. A TESS-GRID at this scale would be able to supply many hours of dispatchable electricity with spinning reserve from its turbines and a range of frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) to support grid stability, the company says.

The facility could also buy and store electricity generated by other renewable farms on the high voltage transmission network in the region.

The company is also investigating production of hydrogen using the excess heat from its turbines.

Executive chairman Dr Kevin Moriarty said the site is currently not impacted by marginal loss factors (MLF) that have constrained output from renewable farms in remoter parts of the national grid.

The Aurora Solar Energy Project will be developed and financed in a subsidiary company, 14D, and 1414 Degrees will control and manage the project.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from infrastructure and investment funds seeking to invest in the potential of our technology and this large solar
farm will generate significant revenues while supporting the staged development of our large-scale energy storage technology,” Dr Moriarty said.

The $2m acquisition will be funded by the company’s cash reserves.