The Solar Dawn Consortium in Australia has cancelled plans to develop its beleaguered A$1.2 billion (US$1.3 billion) Western Downs facility, it has been announced.

The Solar Dawn project,  which involved the construction of a 250MW hybrid solar thermal and gas plant near Chinchilla, Queensland, was being developed by a consortium of companies selected by the Queensland government in June 2011. 

The project, led by Areva Sola, was part of the Australian Solar Flagship Program.

About 300 new jobs were expected to be created as a result of the Solar Dawn project, along with indirect support for as many as 100 jobs.

However, a briefly worded statement posted on the Solar Dawn website today confirmed the consortium was no longer "pursuing development'' of the facility.

"The Solar Dawn Consortium has today confirmed that although it remains committed to Australia's large-scale concentrated solar power industry (CSP), it will no longer be pursuing development of its proposed 250MW solar thermal power facility in South-West Queensland,'' it said.

"The announcement follows extensive discussions with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) on options to move the project forward in response to dynamic market conditions.''

Earlier this year PV-Tech reported how the A$1.2 billion project - which was to begin construction in 2013 - was dealt a crippling blow after the Queensland government recalled its funding of A$75 million (US$77 million) . 

Frustrated government ministers claimed that the consortium had been given a deadline of June 30, 2012 to reach financial close but had failed to do so.

The Australian Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, said at the time: “The Solar Dawn project offers Queensland the opportunity to be at the forefront of solar thermal technology and home to one of the largest solar power stations in the world. These opportunities have to be grabbed but the Queensland Government seems content to let them slip by.”