In 1959 and1960, Carriewerloo Station, a pastoral lease north-west of Port Augusta, was the location for scenes of the outback in the film The Sundowners.
Now, Carriewerloo Station is to be the largest single-tower solar thermal power plant in the world.
The 150MW plant, to be built by SolarReserve, will consist of about 12,000 “billboard-sized” mirrors, each measuring 100 square metres, arranged in a circle over an area of about 600 hectares. The mirrors will focus light to heat molten salt to 565°C at the top of a 227 metre tall tower, which will be the tallest of its kind in the world.
The hot molten salt will be used to produce steam to drive generators. The molten salt will be able to store 1100 MWhr of energy – sufficient for about eight hours generation at full load. So that the plant will be able to continue producing electricity when the sun is not shining.
The power station is planned to begin operation in 2020.
The project is expected to cost $650 million, including $110 million from the Commonwealth Government. It will deliver power at $78 per MWhr.