Australia To Get World's Largest Solar Thermal Plant?

It's like the Olympics around here. No sooner has a world record been broken then along comes an announcement of that same record being freshly eclipsed. Yet another project is claiming to be the world's largest solar power plant, albeit solar thermal.

This time it is the company, WorleyParsons, who strangely already knee deep in coal, nuclear and Canadian oil sands, are making the noise. Weird, huh? Maybe they see the writing on the wall, or least figure it is safe to have a bet each way.

Anyhow, according to the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) the firm plan on having a 250 Megawatt plant (using the sun's radiation to power steam turbines) by 2011. It should power the equivalent of 100,000 houses. Though WorleyParsons' Chief Executive Officer John Grill also reckons "A solar facility a single square kilometre in size could power 50,000 households". And furthermore they'd like to deliver 40% of the country's renewable energy by such plants by 2020. (The government want 20% of Australia's total electricity supplied by renewables by this same period.)WorleyParsons' CEO is also quoted as saying "The world is on the cusp of a solar energy revolution and Australia is uniquely placed to sustain a solar energy industry ..." A view echoed by Australian Greens Senator, Christine Milne, who is of the view that Australia could become ''the Saudi Arabia of solar."

Perversely, the company, Ausra, utilising technology originally developed in Australia, has had to move to the USA to garner commercial interest in its solar thermal nous and is already creating the manufacturing infrastructure for a large 177-megawatt power plant due for California!

::Australian Conservation Foundation, via EcoMedia.

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Tags: Australia | Coal | Nuclear Power | Renewable Energy | Wind Power

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