A long-term GPA (generation project agreement) has been reached between US-based SolarReserve and the South Australian Government. The project will see the construction of a 150MW power plant providing solar thermal energy not far from Augusta.
The Aurora Solar Energy scheme has been designed to feature a storage system for the energy generated that has been created to be able to keep 1,100MWh in storage for up to eight hours at a time. SolarReserve will also provide solarthermal technology featuring a molten salt integrated energy storage system as part of this new contract.
When the project is completed it is expected that Aurora will assist the Government of South Australia with meeting its yearly electricity consumption demands. It is hoped that the facility can provide the required power to the NEM (National Electricity Market) even during peak periods of consumption.
In addition to the facility’s ability to bring power into the NEM during the peak periods it is hoped that it will be able to offer energy security, additional capacity and a service that is very reliable.
The Premier of South Australia, Jay Wetherill has been quoted as saying that the story of Port Augusta is a prime illustration of how the economy of South Australia has transitioned, with the ‘dirty’ power station (coal fired) closing making way for the commission of a renewable energy plan that he believes is world leading.
It is expected that during the construction process of the Aurora project around 4,000 jobs will be created in the area. In addition to all of this a new partnership for research is to be formed between SolarReserve and the South Australia’s universities with the aim of advancing solar thermal education and research in the state.