SA Government Approves SolarReserve's 150MW Solar Thermal Project

The South Australian Government has approved a grant for SolarReserve’s 150MW solar thermal power plant which is set to begin construction this year.
The project in Port Augusta, known as the Aurora Solar Energy Project, will integrate approximately 8 hours of storage or 1,1000 megawatt-hours, which will also enable it to operate like an ordinary gas or coal power station.
RenewEconomy also reported on its website that the $650 million plant will have a capacity of nearly 135MW under normal operating conditions with the capacity to add output in favourable conditions. It will be installed about 150km northwest of Jamestown, the location of Elon Musk’s Lithium-ion battery.
The Aurora will provide fully dispatchable baseload electricity to the network by delivering 495 gigawatt-hours of power every year. It will also supply 100 percent of the South Australian Government’s electricity load two years from now.
Kevin Smith, the CEO of SolarReserve, stated that the approval for the development of the project was a valuable milestone for the Aurora Solar Energy Plant. He added, “The remarkable story of the transition of Port Augusta from coal to renewable energy – which won a competitive tender against fossil fuel – is also a preview of the future of power generation around the world.”
The article also reported, “The project will use thousands of mirrors (heliostats) to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a central receiver on top of a tower. The process heats molten salt, pumped to the top of the tower and flowing through the receiver, to 565 degrees Celsius.”
For Chris Picton, the Acting Energy Minister in South Australia, the approval would commence major investments, create jobs, and put downward pressure on the costs of renewables.
He said, “This world-leading project will deliver clean, dispatchable renewable energy to supply our electrified rail, hospitals, schools, and other major government buildings. 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.”
Read the full report here.

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