A Brief Description of the Solar Energy eXchange Initiative Also known as “The SEXI Proposal”.
The proposed SEXI Group of Councils is a voluntary alliance of up to 31 Councils (with the unincorporated area) across inland NSW. The SEXI Group area would cover approximately 2/3 of NSW. It would cover all the land in NSW with greater than 19 MJ/m2/day solar insolation. (ie the flat sunny inland bit).
solar insolation contours; insolation contours with LGA boundaries; The SEXI Group of Councils
ARENA is the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. It is an independent Federal Government body, charged with improving the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increasing the supply of renewable energy in Australia.
The SEXI Proposal calls on ARENA to supply up to $200M in Federal Government funding to the SEXI Group of Councils. The funding would be managed by the SEXI Board. The Board would have one elected representative of each of the Councils; plus representatives of both ARENA, and Essential Energy. The Councillors have 100% of the vote on the SEXI Board. The ARENA representative would have a veto vote regarding the use of Federal funds; and the Essential Energy representative a veto vote regarding connection to the network.
The projects would be fully funded by the Federal Government. They would be built and commissioned by the SEXI Group of Councils. And would be handed over to the local Council to own and operate. The electricity would be sold, and should make a small profit for the Council concerned.
Preliminary constraint mapping has been done around 80 transmission and zone substations in the SEXI area. At least 60 of the 80 zone substations have more than 10 hectares of suitable land within 2 km of the electrical substation. Many country towns have wheat paddocks or pasture / rangeland nearby. There are many potential sites.
To date, motions of in principle support for the SEXI Proposal have been passed by –
Four Regional Organisations of Councils – being OROC, Centroc, RAMROC and Western Division Councils of NSW
The NSW Legislative Council
This means that about 60% of the NSW land area is signed up. Or about 90% of the SEXI area. And more than 80% of the SEXI Group Councils have signed up, passing a motion of support through the Council . The Councils coloured in blue have passed motions of in principle support.
The SEXI Group aims to construct six projects. One project is to install $1M of PV panels in each Council area; with the panels to be owned by the Council concerned. The five other projects are to install 5 concentrating solar power plants – each costing $20M to $40M – sized at 3 to 6 MW – and capable of supplying most of the electricity for a typical country town. Each of the five projects would be a different solar technology.
concentrating solar power geometries: parabolic trough, linear Fresnel, parabolic dish and central tower
Existing CST: There is currently a 3 MW central tower with graphite energy storage at Lake Cargelligo (2011); an approx. 6 MW CLFR plant at Liddell power station; and a 1.2 MW central tower plant at Jemalong near Forbes.
The SEXI solar plants would be demonstration plants for a future solar energy industry in western NSW, that would supply electricity to Sydney and Melbourne. In a sense, the SEXI Proposal is like a beginners step toward the large scale solar power plants put forward in the Beyond Zero Emissions 2010 plan