Looks like Australia is all set to get completely wet in the renewable energy game as the government of South Australia has recently closed a deal with Elon Musk to build world’s largest battery storage facility, and now the government in set to construct a giant solar thermal plant on the outskirts of Port Augusta. While providing 700 jobs the plant will be able to generate 150 megawatts of power.
The first thing that comes up in your mind when someone says the word “Solar power” is solar panels installed over the rooftops. But solar thermal plants have a different mechanism. It uses large numbers of mirror to reflect all the light to focus on a central tower filled with molten salt. The salt has a capability of storing large amount of heat and then processes it as electricity.
The best thing about solar thermal plant is that we can control the output energy. The molten salt used can store heat energy for hours or even days and it can release the heat anytime on demand. This implies that solar thermal plant can produce energy at any time of the day. The feature makes it stand out in the market which wants to get rid of fluctuating supply and demand.
Australia is thinking about going cent percent renewable over the next 10 years or so with the help of this project. Musk’s highly efficient battery facility will help south Australia move from fossil fuel energy to completely renewable energy sources. Though it may totally depend on Government’s will.
Construction work is expected to begin in 2018, and if the project stays well on deadlines then probably the plant will be live by the year 2020. Once live, the project will provide cent percent energy to government facilities and the surplus to the locals.
The announcement was followed by a similar plant to be built in Tunisia that could generate 4 Giga-watts of power for Europe. Such large and ambitious projects make the future appear brighter for us.sss