Australia has approved the biggest solar thermal power plant in the world. A 150-MW structure is set to be built in Port Augusta, Australia.
The project will provide 650 construction jobs for the local economy, and provide electricity needs for the state government.
The plant will begin being built in 2018, and will cost $510 million. It is planned to be finished in 2020.
“The significance of solar thermal generation lies in its ability to provide energy virtually on demand through the use of thermal energy storage to store heat for running the power turbines,” said Wasim Saman, a University of South Australia Professor of Sustainable Energy Engineering. “This is a substantially more economical way of storing energy than using batteries.” As you may recall, Elon Musk offered to use Tesla batteries to help with the South Australia energy crisis.
Renewable energy sources account for more than 40% of the energy in South Australia. Solar power is becoming more stable and reliable, and solar plants are cheaper to build than coal-fired power plants.
This will be the first large scale solar thermal generation plant in Australia; however, they have been successfully operating in Europe, USA, and Africa.