US developer SolarReserve bid to install the A$650m green power plant near Port Augusta, after the government invited applications for new generation capacity in a bid to encourage energy market competition and drive down prices.
The plant, which will be constructed this year, is set to generate 135MW under normal conditions and incorporate eight hours of storage capacity, meaning it will be able to continue to provide electricity during the night.
It is tipped to supply all the state government’s power needs by 2020.
South Australia’s acting Energy Minister Chris Picton, heralded the investment as “world-leading”.
“It will deliver clean, dispatchable renewable energy to supply our electrified rail, hospitals, schools and other major government buildings,” he said in a statement.
The project will use thousands of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a receiver based at the top of a tower. The transferred energy will heat molten salt, providing the energy store and driving a single turbine to generate electricity.
South Australia has been turning to green power in response to the state’s well documented energy infrastructure problems.
Tesla installed the world’s largest lithium ion battery as part of a major renewables project in a high profile bid to help combat power cuts, while the government has allocated funding to drive clean energy investment through a A$550m six-point plan for renewables.