The government of South Australia has given the go-ahead for the construction of a ground-breaking solar thermal power plant.

The Aurora concentrating solar power (CSP) plant will be the largest of its kind in the world and will also incorporate eight hours of storage, allowing it to operate like a conventional power plant.

Its developer, SolarReserve, said that the development approval for the 150 MW project would trigger investments of A$650 million. The firm won the rights to build the project in a competitive tender in 2016.

Under normal operating conditions, the Aurora plant will have a capacity of around 135 MW, SolarReserve said. More favourable conditions – for example during the evenings – will enable the output to increase to 150 MW.

The Aurora project will use SolarReserve’s molten salt thermal energy storage and dry cooling. It will be built near Port Augusta, 300 km north of Adelaide, and will start operating in 2020.