Australian renewable energy firm Solastor want to create a $700 million solar-thermal power plant in Port Augusta in the near future, and they can do so without government funding.

The first-stage 100 Megawatt facility would create 500 jobs during construction, including 250 on site and 30 ongoing jobs.

That facility has two 50MW steam turbine engines powered by 800 solar modules.

Each module has 86 computer controlled, toroidal, heliostat mirrors which are computer controlled to deflect the light into the 10 tonne graphite solar thermal receiver, which is heated to 800°C for mass storage of the thermal energy.

Each tower is 24 metres tall, one-sixth the size of a wind turbine.

The heat is transferred to an embedded stainless steel tubing system containing water that is pumped through for conversion to steam.

The steam is fed to a steam turbine generator for delivery of 24/7 base or peak load electricity to the grid.

The project is estimated to go to the state Development Assesment Commission in around six months, and if approved, construction would begin around January 2018.

Solastor CEO Steve Hollis explained the reasons for choosing Port Augusta.

“The issue is South Australia is a good location, plenty of sunshine however the sunshine in Port Augusta isn’t as good as it is in Roxby Downs for example,” he said.

“However Port Augusta is on the grid, there’s a good sub-station at the Davenport switch-yard where the Alinta Power Station fed its energy into the grid.

“And also, in terms of construction and provision of employment, Port Augusta is where there’s a need.”

Mr Hollis also said Solastor doesn’t need the state government’s energy tender to support the facility and said an agreement has been made with a local landholder.

He hinted that Solastor may expand their operations to 500MW and because the facility is a modular system, it would be a relatively easy ‘cut and paste’ duplication process.

That would produce another 2000 jobs during construction, 1000 on site and 120 ongoing jobs and Mr Hollis said this project can co-exist with other solar thermal projects.