The approval process examined a range of elements including environmental, community, and social impacts of the Aurora project, which were assessed by several South Australian Government agencies. Development Approval enables SolarReserve to construct the Aurora project, provided the construction complies with the submitted plans and any conditions outlined in the Development Approval.
“This approval triggers an investment of about $650 million, will create a total of about 700 construction and ongoing jobs in Port Augusta and will add new competition to the South Australian market, putting downward pressure on power prices,” said South Australia’s Acting Energy Minister Chris Picton.
As part of SolarReserve’s project development process, the company collaborates with stakeholders and local communities in an attempt to ensure the project has minimal environmental and will benefit the community.
The Aurora Solar Energy Project has had support from a range of local agencies and organizations including the local Barngarla Aboriginal Group. The project is on schedule with final approvals hoped for in the first half of 2018 and construction expected to commence shortly thereafter.
The project incorporates SolarReserve’s solar thermal technology with integrated molten salt energy storage. Aurora will generate electricity and collect and store the sun’s energy during the daytime – in essence ‘charging’ its own salt battery for use after the sun has set. Aurora’s 1,100 MWh of storage will provide eight hours of full load power after dark.
The project is anticipated to create 4,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs during construction, with a significant portion of those created in South Australia. In addition, 650 full time construction jobs are expected for a duration of 30 months and 50 full-time, permanent jobs will be required for operations and maintenance.
SolarReserve expects to establish a research partnership with South Australian universities to advance solar thermal research and education in 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 preview of the future of power generation around the world,” said SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith.