Australia sets sights on first Solar Tower
Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said yesterday the project had been granted "Major Project Facilitation" status, which defines projects of national significance and ensures streamlined decision-making for necessary government approvals.
EnviroMission Ltd has proposed an investment of A$800 million ($431.2 million) in the project, which is due to be operating in south-west New South Wales by 2005/06 and has already received planning permission.
"This project confirms Australia as a world leader in renewable energy production aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. The EnviroMission venture represents the world's first full-scale application of this new solar technology," Macfarlane said.
The 1,000 metre high tower will heat air at its base through the use of a transparent "solar collector" measuring seven kilometres in diameter.
The air under the collector is about 30 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than the air at the top of the tower and a resulting convection creates a powerful updraft within the tower, driving turbines which generate the clean green power.
The Australian government's mandated renewable energy target requires electricity retailers to supply 9,500 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year from renewable sources by 2010. The Solar Tower would generate about 650 GWh per annum.
Shares in EnviroMission closed unchanged at A$0.15.