South Australian government to be powered by 150MW solar thermal plant

South Australian government to be powered by 150MW solar thermal plant

A 150MW solar thermal power plant has been contracted by the South Australian federal government to supply all of its power needs, confirmed State Premier Jay Weatherill.

The proposed US$650 million project will deliver renewable energy from a site in the city of Port Augusta in the state’s mid-North area, and will send power to the grid even when the sun is not shining.

Solar thermal technology, or concentrated solar power (CSP), uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight towards the top of a tower, heating molten salt which is stored before being used to operate a steam turbine.

Therefore, the plant’s ability to store energy will allow it to distribute power during periods of darkness.

The facility will be built by US-based company SolarReserve starting in 2018, when 650 construction jobs will be created, along with 50 ongoing positions. The plant will begin producing energy in 2020.

“This [solar thermal plant], in addition to our state-owned gas plant, and the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, will help to make our energy grid more secure,” said Premier Weatherill.

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