Alan Porritt/AP
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Australia Will Generate Power, Jobs with World’s Largest Solar Energy Plant

May 21, 2009 08:00 AM
by Rachel Balik
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says that a new solar energy plant will stimulate Australia’s economy and make the country a leader in renewable energy.

Australia Uses Abundant Sunshine for Power

Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced a plan to invest the equivalent of $1.05 billion U.S. dollars to build the world’s largest solar energy station. The government will choose bidders for the project by 2010.

Rudd cited his intention for Australia to become an international leader in renewable energy as one of the reasons for the project; the largest solar energy plant to date is in California, but the one Rudd proposed will have three times its power.

Rudd also said that the sun is “Australia's biggest natural resource,” Reuters reported. He believes that the investment, which comprises roughly a quarter of the money allotted in the new budget to create “clean energy,” is both practical and productive, serving to boost the Australian economy and create jobs.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Rudd plans to spend the next six months specifying the details of the power plant, which will encompass four separate solar power plants. Australia has also joined the International Renewable Energy Agency as part of its quest to participate in global dialogue and become a world leader for renewable energy.

Background: Other solar power plants

In February 2009, the company BrightSource announced that it had made what Wired magazine called the “biggest solar deal ever announced.” The new deal entails establishing seven facilities in California, outside of Los Angeles, the magazine said; the first will be operational in 2013. When complete, the group of plants will be able to deliver electricity to 845,000 homes.

The Holy See also announced plans in April 2009 to start using solar energy in Vatican City. Although the country of Italy has itself failed to make efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Bloomberg reported, the Vatican has decided that, even in a recession, it’s worth investing in solar energy because it will ultimately save money. The Vatican also hopes to set an example for Italy.

Related Topics: Ireland harnesses the tide; Scotland builds wind farm

In May 2008, Ireland announced plans to build a tidal energy plant that would use water turbines to power 1,000 homes in Northern Ireland. The first turbine began producing power in 2008, the SenGen site reported. Since starting the project in Ireland, SenGen has worked with other countries and cities to begin implementing tidal energy plants.

Just as Ireland was installing the water turbines, Scotland announced a plan to build a 152-turbine wind farm that would supply power for 320,000 homes in the country. As in Australia, Scotland’s leaders expressed that the new source of renewable energy would also be vital for supplying new additional jobs. The farm was the biggest planned thus far in Europe.

Reference: International Renewable Energy Agency


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