In a press release, SolarReserve, a leading global developer of utility-scale solar power projects, announced that they have received “Development Approval”, from South Australia Government, which will enables SolarReserve to construct the $650 million “Aurora Solar Energy Project”, a 150 megawatt solar thermal power station that will be located 30 kilometers north of Port Augusta. This solar thermal plants which also known as “concentrated solar plants“, “consists of a large field of moveable mirrors, or heliostats, that concentrate the sun’s rays to a central tower to heat up salt. This molten salt then produces superheated steam to drive a generator’s turbines.”
According to SolarReserve’s press release, “Aurora” will generate electricity and collect and store the sun’s energy during the daytime – in essence ‘charging’ its own salt battery for use after the sun has set. Aurora’s massive 1,100 megawatt-hours of storage will provide 8 hours of full load power after dark. This means that, from storage (its ‘salt battery’) alone, Aurora will be capable of powering South Australia far in excess of State Government buildings, the equivalent of over 230,000 homes for 8 hours, or around 35% of all of the households in South Australia. The new project will create 650 full time construction jobs during the 30 months construction period and 50 full-time permanent jobs for the operations.
South Australian acting energy minister Chris Picton said: “It’s fantastic that SolarReserve has received development approval to move forward with this world-leading project that will deliver clean, dispatch-able renewable energy to supply our electrified rail, hospitals and schools and other major government buildings.”
Natalie Collard, the general manager of the Clean Energy Council, said: South Australia is providing the rest of the country a glimpse of a renewable energy future. Our electricity system is rapidly moving towards one which will be smarter and cleaner, with a range of technologies providing high-tech, reliable, lower-cost power.