14 August 2017

South Australian government to be powered by solar thermal

The state government of South Australia has contracted a new solar thermal power plant with SolarReserve in Port Augusta to power its facilities.

The construction of the power plant will start in 2018 and will be ready in 2020, providing energy even when the sun is not shining.

The project will create 650 construction jobs and 50 ongoing positions.

Jay Weatherill, South Australian Premier, said about the power plant that it is “the biggest of its kind in the world. [...] Importantly, this project will deliver more than 700 jobs, with requirements for local workers.”

Gary Rowbottom, Chairperson of Repower Port Augusta, and also former coal-fired power station worker said: “Building solar thermal with storage in Port Augusta will create new jobs, on-demand solar power, reduce emissions and put downward pressure on power bills.”

Last May, the federal government had committed $110m of equity to increasing solar thermal and energy storage in Port Augusta.

The government only needs up to 125MW of energy and the new plant will be able to supply other consumers.

Weatherill said: “This, 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.”

According to energy experts, solar thermal could have a major role in our future energy mix, as it is a more economical way of storing energy than batteries.

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