Economic, social and environmental benefits
Solar Dawn is a major infrastructure project which offers significant benefits to Queensland and Australia including:
The capital investment for Solar Dawn is in excess of $1 billion.
Solar Dawn will assist the Queensland Government achieve its goal of a budget surplus by 2015 through economic activity generated by the major regional construction effort and associated state taxes, levies and duties during construction, as well as deferred payments under the structure of the project assistance package.
An independent study by The AECgroup details Solar Dawn’s important contribution to Queensland’s economy, with approximately $1.5 billion of direct investment and indirect economic activity in the Queensland economy during construction alone. The project also represents more than $560.4 million in gross value-added activity and $338.5 million in wages and salaries over the next three years. During its 25-year operation, it will yield a further $92.4 million in total output per year.
Solar Dawn will strongly support employment and training, providing an average of 300 jobs each year during the three-year construction phase (2012 – 2015), peaking at 450 jobs.
A further 30 permanent jobs would be created during the 25-year operations and maintenance phase.
The project will build industry capability and also provide significant training and development opportunities and transferable skills for local residents and suppliers as seen in the current Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project.
Economic diversification and local industry participation
The project will build upon the success of the Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project (which is the world’s largest solar steam augmentation of a conventional coal-fired power station), and will involve substantial local industry participation, including local manufacturing, construction, supply and support activities in the Surat Basin Region.
Leadership and profile
Solar Dawn will establish an international, leadership profile for the ‘Sunshine State’.
A $60m research program will be undertaken by the University of Queensland (UQ) positioning Queensland and Australia at the forefront of the solar thermal industry globally and helping to build industry capability nationally.
The program has been designed to support the early stage operation and commissioning of the Solar Dawn plant and provide long-term national benefit to the Australian solar thermal community.
After the initial phase of the program, a merit-based access scheme will facilitate access to the infrastructure for the broader research community.
As such, the research program is motivated by a desire not only to optimise the outcomes from the Solar Dawn plant, but also to develop a critical capacity in solar thermal technology: new intellectual property and knowhow, highly trained engineers, scientists, economists and social policy experts.
Apart from a few isolated examples (CSIRO, ANU), this capacity does not exist currently in Australia and is embryonic in Queensland. It is hoped that the quality of the infrastructure and research program will fuel additional investment from national and international sources.