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SolarReserve gets developmental approval for 150MW solar thermal power plant in Australia

CTBR Staff Writer Published 10 January 2018

SolarReserve has received developmental approval for the construction of its 150MW Aurora solar thermal power plant in Port Augusta, Australia.

The approval process involved examination of key factors including environmental, community, and social impacts of the project by several South Australian Government agencies.

The solar thermal project is expected to have 1.1GWh of energy storage capacity per year. During daytime, it will generate electricity and collect and store sun’s energy.

Aurora’s massive 1,100MWh of storage is expected to offer 8 hours of full load power after dark. 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 nearly 35% of all of the households in South Australia.

SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith said “This important milestone is a significant step in the development of the Aurora solar thermal power station, which will bring SolarReserve’s world-leading clean power generation technology to South Australia.

“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 project, during the construction phase, could create an estimated 4000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in South Australia.  About 650 full time construction jobs could be created for a period of 30 months. Upon completion, the project will create about 50 full time and permanent jobs needed for operations and maintenance.

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

Final approvals for the Aurora Solar Energy Project are expected to be received in the first half of 2018, with the commencement of construction expected to shortly thereafter.

South Australia’s 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, dispatchable renewable energy to supply our electrified rail, hospitals, schools and other major government buildings.”

“This approval triggers an investment of about A$650m, will create a total of about 700 construction and ongoing jobs in Port Augusta and will add new competition to the South Australian market, putting downward pressure on power prices.”

Image: SolarReserve won the bidding for the project last August. Photo: Courtesy of SolarReserve, LLC.