The South Australian Government has given development approval to construction of the world’s largest solar thermal power plant. Construction of the 150 MW Aurora plant, to be built by solar power company SolarReserve, will begin in 2018 at an estimated cost of $500 million.
Chris Picton, Acting Energy Minister for South Australia, said the plant would create 650 construction jobs and 50 permanent positions when completed. He said: “It’s fantastic that SolarReserve has received developmental approval to move forward with the world-leading project. 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 plant will use a series of mirrors to concentrate sunlight on a receiver at the top of a 220 metre tall tower. This will heat salt to 565°C, generating steam to drive a 150 MW turbine, making it the largest single tower solar thermal plant in the world.
Kevin Smith, CEO of SolarReserve, said that the plant was “a preview of the future of power generation around the world.” He added: “It is a significant step in the development of the Aurora solar thermal power station, which will bring clean power generation technology to South Australia.”