Australia’s Enviromission Limited has signed a 30-year power purchase agreement with the Southern California Public Power Authority which wll allow it to proceed with the construction a $750 million solar power tower.

After years of trying to get the project underway near Mildura in north western Victoria, the company is now acquiring land in Arizona and expects the tower to be in operation by 2015.

The solar tower will be about 800 metres tall (twice as tall as the Empire State Building) and is expected to have a peak output of 200 megawatts – enough for about 150,000 American homes.

The company expects to get its construction costs back in about 11 years and to be generating virtually free electricity for at least another 70 years.

Enviromission CEO, Roger Davey, describes the project, and his disappointment at not being able to do it in Australia, in this video.