“It is fantastic that SolarReserve has received the approval to carry out this project that will provide renewable energy for our railway line, hospitals, schools and other important government buildings” said Chris Picton, Minister for Energy of South Australia.
In 2017, South Australia implemented and activated the world’s largest lithium-ion battery system, with a capacity of 129 megawatt-hours and connected to the Hornsdale wind farm. Now it is aiming for a new record: as announced by SolarReserve, the company that will occupy the realization, at 30 kilometers from Port Augusta will rise the Aurora Solar Energy Project and will cost 650 million dollars.
The Clean Energy Council, the leading authority for the Australian green energy industry, said: “The price that the government will pay for the energy produced by the new plant is remarkably low, considering that concentrating solar power is a very young technology in the Country “.
Here is the video presentation of the project, created by SolarReserve:
How does it work?
Thanks to its 150 megawatts of nominal power, the great Solar Concentration System (CSP) will produce 500 gigawatt hours of electricity, an amount capable of supplying energy to 90 thousand homes and equal to 5% of the state’s electricity demand.
The designed system consists of a single tower surrounded by over 12 thousand heliostats, tracer concentrating mirrors, able to move in two directions, so as to “track” the sun’s rays, intercept them and concentrate them towards the receiver, placed on top of a tower of about 200 m. A thermal storage system with molten salts will transfer thermal energy to the water producing electricity, thus the solar tower will be able to accumulate 1,100 megawatt hours, ensuring the supply even during the evening hours, for about 8 hours after sunset. Aurora, simply using solar energy, will reduce CO2 emissions by around 200,000 tons per year, without counting a significant reduction in water consumption, which will save millions of liters every year.
Here is a second video of SolarReserve to deepen the functioning of the CSP technology:
The Minister for Energy stressed that the investment will create a total of about 700 job placements and continues:
“South Australia is rapidly becoming a global center for renewable energy development with storage thanks to a number of other projects which will be implemented in the coming years “.
Other examples in the world
Aurora will not be the only one in the world: currently the record is held by the Ivanavh Solar Electric Generating System, in California, with a height of 137 meters, 173,500 heliostats and a power of 392 megawatts, while in Israel it is under construction the highest solar tower in the world: its 50,600 heliostats, 250 meters high, and disposed on a surface of 3 square kilometers will supply electricity to 130 thousand homes.
Italy also has one in the province of Messina, was built by the Magaldi Group in collaboration with the engineer Gennaro De Michele, the Research Institute on combustion (IRC) of the CNR and the Department of Chemical Engineering, materials and of the industrial production of the University of Naples Federico II, occupies an area of 2.25 hectares and is able to produce 500 KWh thanks to 700 heliostats that convey solar energy to a single module, with a capacity of 2 MW.