The power project, which will also have 1,100MWh of energy storage, will be developed 30km north of Port Augusta. It will use SolarReserve’s solar thermal technology with integrated molten salt energy storage to deliver 8 hours of full load electricity after dark.

The approval process of the Aurora project looked into a number of critical elements such as environmental, community, and social impacts it would have, which were looked into by various South Australian government agencies.

SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith said: “This important milestone is a significant step in the development of the Aurora solar thermal power station, which will bring SolarReserve’s world-leading clean power generation technology to South Australia,”

“The remarkable story of the transition of Port Augusta from coal to renewable energy – which won a competitive tender against fossil fuel – is also a preview of the future of power generation around the world.”

The project is set to create 4,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs during its construction stage apart from bringing in new competition to the South Australian market which could lead to lower power prices.

South Australia Acting Energy Minister Chris Picton said: “It’s fantastic that SolarReserve has received development approval to move forward with this world-leading project that will deliver clean, dispatchable renewable energy to supply our electrified rail, hospitals, schools and other major government buildings.”

Final approvals of the Aurora solar thermal power station are anticipated to come in the first half of the year. Construction is likely to begin shortly after receipt of the approvals with the project slated to be completed by 2020.

Image: SolarReserve to build 150MW solar thermal project in South Australia. Photo: Courtesy of SolarReserve, LLC.