Major solar thermal plant in South Australia wins approval

Major solar thermal plant in South Australia wins approval

A giant solar-thermal power plant to be built in South Australia's mid-north has received development approval from the state government.

The approval process of the Aurora project looked into a number of critical elements such as environmental, community, and social impacts it would have, which were looked into by various South Australian government agencies.

The project is set to create 4,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs during its construction stage apart from bringing in new competition to the South Australian market which could lead to lower power prices.

"This world- leading project will deliver clean, dispatchable renewable energy to supply our electrified rail, hospitals, schools and other major government buildings", he said. Completion is targeted in 2020, the company behind the project said previously.

SolarReserve chief executive Kevin Smith said the solar-thermal plant showed renewables could be competitive having won a tender against bids using fossil fuel.

"South Australia is fast becoming a global centre for the development of renewable energy with storage, with a range of other projects set to come online over the next few years".

The molten salt provides a stored heat source that is used to generate steam to drive a single turbine that generates electricity.

The South Australia solar thermal plant will feature a single tower that stands at the center of a vast field of solar mirrors, also known as heliostats. It is claimed that the project will be capable of powering South Australia far in excess of State Government buildings, the equivalent to more than 230,000 homes for 8 hours, or almost 35% of all of the households in South Australia.

About 650 jobs will be created during construction, with 50 full-time positions generated once the project is operational.

The solar thermal plant will be part of the state government's energy plan.

South Australia drew worldwide focus late previous year when, in a partnership with Tesla, it installed the world's largest single battery unit, capable of powering 30,000 homes. The process heats molten salt, pumped to the top of the tower and flowing through the receiver, to 565 degrees Celsius.

Since the company's formation in early 2008, SolarReserve's experienced team has assembled a pipeline of over 13 gigawatts across the world's most attractive, high growth renewable energy markets.

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