03/11/2011 - 12:13

Power plant boost for SKA bid

03/11/2011 - 12:13


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Power plant boost for SKA bid

The state government has announced a $15.5 million plan to provide power for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio astronomy project in the Mid-West.

Science and Innovation Minister John Day and Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said work was set to begin on a hybrid diesel/solar photovoltaic power plant to supply energy to the ASKAP project.

The construction of the facility is also expected to boost Western Australia's bid to host the $2.5 billion Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project. A final site for the SKA will be announced next year.

Mr Day said the power plant, which will be built by Horizon Power, would cater for the radio-quiet zone required for radio astronomy activities.

“Horizon Power will not only build a power plant to deliver a reliable power source but will also deliver an innovative design to shield radio emissions from interfering with astronomy activities,” Mr Day said in a statement.

“It will also be responsible for providing a reliable power source to Australia and New Zealand’s radio astronomy precursor project ASKAP.

“If our bid to host the SKA is successful, the plant will also support early SKA operations and, with a peak load of 1.1 megawatts, the power plant has been designed to produce zero radio emissions - a prerequisite for radio astronomy.”

Mr Grylls said approximately $10 million of the project funding has been provided through the Royalties for Region Mid West Investment Plan.


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