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Aussie coal partners with solar

Australian coal-driven power station plans to install one of world's largest solar-coal integration plants to augment its electricity generation process.

Areva's solar mirrors reflect heat onto boiler pipes above to create steam and power a turbine generator to create electricity.

An Australian coal-driven power station plans to install solar reflectors on its property to augment its electricity generation process.

CS Energy plans to install 44-megawatts worth of solar on about 30 hectares of its Kogan Creek Power Station property in Queensland within the first half of 2011, and have it complete by 2013, the company announced Wednesday.

The $104.7 million project has secured the backing of the Australian government, with $34 million coming from the government's Renewable Energy Demonstration Program. CS Energy is spending $70 million. The remaining funds will be drawn from a $35.4 million Queensland government grant that was given to CS Energy's Carbon Reduction Program.

The solar project, which CS Energy claims will be "the largest solar integration with a coal-fired power station in the world," will be built and operated by Areva Solar, a subsidiary of the French company Areva, best known for its nuclear power plants.

Areva Solar makes linear fresnel reflector (CLFR) panels, also known as Fresnel lenses, and solar steam generators for standalone solar farms. The concentrated solar lenses were likely developed by Ausra, the Australian-based start-up acquired by Areva in February 2010.

For the CS Energy installation, Areva Solar will use solar power to produce and supply additional steam for the power station's existing coal-fired powered steam turbine that produces electricity.

"By using energy from the sun with Areva's solar booster application, we will make the coal-fired plant more fuel efficient and reduce its greenhouse intensity--avoiding the production of 35,600 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually," CS Energy CEO David Brown said in a statement.