Port Augusta solar thermal plant development approved

The new solar thermal plant at Port Augusta is set to begin construction this year with the project receiving development approval from the state government.

SolarReserve’s $650 million Aurora plant, which will use mirrors to heat molten salt and store energy, will supply 100 per cent of the state government electricity load from 2020, after it won a competitive tender process.

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 $650 million, 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.”

The project will also supply the broader market, enhancing competition and putting downward pressure on power prices.

The 150MW solar thermal power plant, 30 km north of Port Augusta, will be the biggest of its kind in the world and create about 650 local jobs during construction and 50 ongoing positions.

SolarReserve is a privately held, venture capital-backed renewable energy company based in California. It is a leading developer of concentrated solar power utilising proprietary molten salt storage technology.

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.

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.”