South Australia plans to build a new concentrated solar energy systemAugust 17, 2017
Government awards contract for new energy system to SolarReserve
The South Australia government has awarded a contract for a new solar energy system to SolarReserve. Per the contract, the company will be responsible for the development of a 150 megawatt solar thermal power plant that will be built near Port Augusta. The project will take advantage of concentrated sunlight in order to generate heat and electrical power. The new solar energy system could help resolve some of South Australia’s problems with reliable power.
State continues to support clean energy in order to avoid future blackouts
Last September, South Australia suffered a major blackout, which was caused by a strong storm. The state’s government was then pressured to come up with a solution to avoid future blackouts. The state already has a considerable amount of renewable energy capacity, so the government has been focusing on energy storage in recent months. Now, however, the state is looking to expand its solar energy capacity in order to have reliable access to the electricity it needs.
Project will use large mirrors to concentrate sunlight
The project from SolarReserve will make use of large heliostats – mirrors that direct sunlight at a thermal tower. This concentrated sunlight will be used to heat molten salt, which will then be passed through a heat exchange system to produce steam. This steam is then pushed through turbines to generate electrical power. Concentrated solar energy systems have been gaining more popularity in recent years due to their ability to generate large amounts of electrical power relatively efficiently. Once fully operation, SolarReserve’s new project will be able to generate some 495 gigawatt-hours of electricity every year.
Support for clean energy remains relatively strong in some parts of Australia
Australia has become a very attractive solar energy market in recent years. In the past, the country has invested quite heavily in the development of new clean power projects in order to become more environmentally friendly and energy independent. Support for clean power has been waning recently, however, due to changes in government policy. Despite this changes, solar energy will likely continue seeing growth in South Australia, where government support remains relatively high.