South Australia to build solar thermal power plant

The South Australian government has approved a solar thermal power plant to be built at Port Augusta this year.

SolarReserve's 150 megawatt plant will use mirrored panels to concentrate sunlight onto a central receiver at the top of a 220 metre tower.

This will heat molten salt to 565°C, which is used to generate steam, drive a turbine and produce 150 megawatts of electricity, even without sun.

The solar plant marks the final transition away from coal for Port Augusta, with the closure of Alinta Energy's coal power station in 2016 and the Leigh Creek coalmine in 2015.

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