Project Overview

The NWQHPP is a world-first integrated 50MW solar hybrid baseload power plant. The project combines Vast Solar’s modular tower concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) technology with photovoltaic (PV), battery and gas engine generators to deliver low cost, reliable, clean energy to the Mount Isa region. When completed, the NWQHPP will be the largest hybrid generator and the first utility scale CSP plant built in Australia.

Mount Isa enjoys favourable solar conditions that make it an ideal location for a solar hybrid power plant. Located 10km west of Mount Isa, the NWQHPP power plant will be linked to the North West Power System by a new 220kV high voltage transmission line.

The plant will comprise:

  • Vast Solar’s modular tower CSP technology linked to a 56MW steam turbine via a 14.5 hour molten salt thermal storage system
  • 80MW PV with single axis tracking
  • An integrated 52MW / 15MWh battery energy storage system
  • 57MW of gas-powered reciprocating engines

A master control system will coordinate the dispatch of the generation technologies to ensure constant plant output of 50MW day and night as illustrated and described below:

  • The CSP plant gathers solar energy during the day, stores it as heat in the molten salt tanks, then at night, uses the stored heat to make steam to drive a turbine to generate electricity
  • The PV plant generates electricity during daylight hours
  • The battery is charged with excess PV power which is then deployed to partially mitigate low PV generation during cloudy periods
  • During inclement weather, the gas engines drive generators to ensure customer demand is met

The Benefits

For Energy Consumers

  • Cheaper energy
  • Solar baseload delivers 99.5+% reliability
  • Eliminate ~75% of greenhouse gas emissions*
  • Low risk local power generation
  • Long term certainty on energy prices


*Compared with current gas-fired generation

For the Mount Isa Region

  • Hundreds of direct and indirect construction jobs
  • Just transition via long term, high quality jobs for more than 30 fossil-fired power plant workers
  • Growth of the North West Minerals Province as modular deployment of low-cost clean energy unlocks new projects

For Queensland

  • $1.6 billion of benefits for Queensland over the life of the plant
  • High tech engineering and manufacturing jobs

Our Partners

Vast Solar

Australian company Vast Solar has developed world leading modular tower CSP technology that delivers less risky, less complex, cheaper and more efficient dispatchable renewable electricity generation. 

The core differentiator of Vast Solar’s technology vs. other CSP offerings is its use of liquid sodium as the heat transfer fluid to collect solar energy, unlocking the economic and performance advantages of modular solar arrays. The technology has been refined, tested and proven in three successively larger projects, the latest of which is a world-first 1.1MW grid-connected pilot plant, located near Forbes in NSW that has been successfully and safely operated since early 2018.