SA Government Announces $650 million Solar Thermal Power Plant


SolarReserve has signed a long-term Generation Project Agreement to build a 150 megawatt solar thermal power station with eight hours of energy storage near Port Augusta, South Australia.

The solar thermal power plant, to be operational in three years, will supply all of the South Australian Government's power needs.

Construction of the $650 million facility will begin in 2018 and is estimated to be completed in 2020.

“The Port Augusta story is a stark example of the transition of the South Australian economy, with the closure of a dirty coal fired power station, and now the commissioning of this world leading renewable energy project,” South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said.

With a massive 1,100 megawatt-hours of energy storage capability, "Aurora" will be the largest project of its kind in the world, designed to meet the South Australian Government’s annual electricity consumption.

“The Aurora Solar Energy Project will also create new, advanced employment opportunities in regional South Australia,” Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said.

“We are using our energy plan to drive investment and jobs in this growing sector.”

The first of its kind in Australia, the Aurora Solar Energy Project will utilise SolarReserve’s solar thermal technology with integrated molten salt energy storage.

The agreement was similar to a Power Purchase Agreement for renewable energy, except that emphasis is placed on the available capacity of the facility during peak demand periods rather than just the energy that can be delivered in kilowatt-hours.

Aurora will deliver power into the National Electricity Market (NEM) at high value electricity periods, providing additional capacity, energy security and reliability services, as well as competition into the South Australian market.


“SolarReserve’s energy storage technology is an excellent fit for the South Australian electricity system,” SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith said.

“Aurora will provide much needed capacity and firm energy delivery into the South Australian market to reduce price volatility."Because a solar thermal power station operates like a conventional coal or gas power station, many of the jobs require the same skill sets as conventional energy jobs – from its construction phase through to operations.

Aurora is an example of how sustainable solutions are able to foster new industries and create new jobs for South Australia:

  • 4,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs will be created during construction, with a significant portion of those created in South Australia
  • 650 full time construction jobs are expected for a duration of 30 months.
  • 50 full-time, permanent jobs will be required for operations and maintenance.
  • Equipment and services will be purchased across South Australia, which will support an entirely new industry and develop a supply chain which will be leveraged for other solar thermal projects in South Australia and the broader region.
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