SolarReserve opens Australian HQ ahead of solar tower construction

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SolarReserve has opened its Australian headquarters and a field office near where it will build a 150MW solar thermal power plant.

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The Lead

SolarReserve has opened its Australian headquarters and a field office near where it will build a 150MW solar thermal power plant.

The global developer of large-scale solar projects has opened its Australian headquarters in Adelaide just weeks after receiving development approval from the South Australian Government for its Aurora Solar Energy project.

The project is set to be built near Port Augusta, about 300km north of Adelaide, the South Australian capital.

The power plant will create 650 construction jobs and the field office in Port Augusta will serve as the base for local workers and businesses to participate in the Aurora project and for SolarReserve to maximise local opportunities.

Construction of the power plant will begin this year and is estimated to be completed in 2020.

It will incorporate eight hours of storage, or 1100MWh, allowing it to operate like a conventional coal or gas power station.

The AU$650 million plant – the biggest of its kind in the world – will have a capacity of about 135MW under normal operating conditions with the ability to increase that output in favourable conditions.

The plant will be situated about 150km northwest of Jamestown, where Elon Musk has installed the world’s largest Lithium-ion battery at Hornsdale Wind Farm.

Aurora will deliver 495 gigawatt-hours of power annually – providing fully dispatchable baseload electricity to the network.

It will supply 100 per cent of the South Australian Government’s electricity load from 2020, after it won a competitive tender process.

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

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the Port Augusta region was a symbol of South Australia’s transition from old to new.

“We’re already leading the world in renewable energy technologies, with global acclaim for the world’s biggest lithium ion battery, and SolarReserve’s solar thermal power plant is also one of the world’s most exciting projects,” he said

The Aurora project will use thousands of mirrors (heliostats) to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a central receiver on top of a tower.’

The process heats molten salt, pumped to the top of the tower and flowing through the receiver, to 565 degrees Celsius.

The molten salt provides a stored heat source that is used to generate steam to drive a single turbine that generates electricity. The facility can generate power at full load for up to eight hours after sunset.

Source: The Lead. Reproduced with permission.

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7 Comments
  1. Simon 2 years ago

    One suggestion to Solar Reserve – have a visitors center or at least a place with info for visitors. Theses things are of interest to many people and they would appreciate being able to see the facility up close and get some relevant up to date information (and maybe even a coffee if we stretch our luck). It is good PR.

    I stopped by the Crescent Dunes operation in the USA – but was practically shooed away when I drove to the gate. Disappointing given the distance you have to travel to see these things.

    • George Darroch 2 years ago

      I remember going to such a visitors centre at an oil refinery as a 7 year old and it had a profound impact on me. People will come from far and wide to see something like this. Maybe they could have a few of those ‘solar eclipse glasses’ on hand to stare at solar concentrator.

      • Simon 2 years ago

        Yes. The Super Pit in Kalgoorlie is a major tourist attraction and is catered to accordingly. And I havent seen anything come close to the underground iron ore mine in Kiruna in Sweden. That is top of the class.

      • Hettie 2 years ago

        Do schools still do factory excursions as educational exercises? I hope so. Lots of places used to welcome visitors. I remember visiting a butter factory with an aunt, and less wisely, though in 1953 the danger was not known, an asbestos processing plant in the north of the South Island of NZ. White, not blue. Still…
        I’ve survived thus far, so will likely be around a few more years.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      Great idea.

  2. Joe 2 years ago

    Premier Jay, leading Australia into the future. I’m not hearing any noises from Two Tongues Turnbull or his hand puppet Joshie. I guess this is one project that they can’t ‘deathride’ with their silly political games.

  3. Gary Rowbottom 2 years ago

    Excellent, keep the progress going. Port Augusta now has a local presence, as does the state capital. Killer graphics on the window of the Port Augusta office.

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