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World's Largest Solar Plant Secures Key Milestone in Development
Solar thermal plants are different from traditional photovoltaic panels on rooftops and solar farms. These plants, also known as concentrated solar plants, consists of a large field of moveable mirrors, or heliostats, that concentrate the sun's rays to a central tower to heat up salt. This molten salt then produces superheated steam to drive a generator's turbines.
The advantage of this type of power plant is how it can store several hours of energy, allowing for power usage when needed. Such a plant is crucial for South Australia, a state beset by frequent power outages.
South Australia, in contrast to the pro-coal federal government, has invested heavily in renewable energy in recent decades. Last month, the state switched on a 100-megawatt battery storage farm that Tesla CEO Elon Musk famously built in less than 100 days to help solve the state's energy woes. Musk's battery already proved itself late last month after responding to power outages within milliseconds.
SolarReserve—the same company that operates the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant in Nevada, the world's first utility-scale solar thermal power plant—boasts that Aurora's massive 1,100 megawatt-hours of storage will provide eight hours of full load power after dark.
"This means that, from storage (its 'salt battery') alone, Aurora will be capable of powering South Australia far in excess of State Government buildings, the equivalent of over 230,000 homes for eight hours, or around 35 percent of all of the households in South Australia," the company said.
According to the Adelaide Advertiser, Aurora is yet to secure its capital funding and a $110 million federal government loan still needs to be delivered.
But Kevin Smith, SolarReserve's CEO, remains optimistic, especially after securing the state's development approval.
"It is a significant step in the development of the Aurora solar thermal power station, which will bring clean power generation technology to South Australia," he said. “The remarkable story of the transition of Port Augusta from coal to renewable energy … is also a preview of the future of power generation around the world … Aurora is an example of how sustainable solutions are able to foster new industries and create new jobs for South Australia."
The project, which is slated for completion by 2020, will create an estimated 4,700 indirect and direct jobs.
South Australian acting energy minister Chris Picton is similarly positive about the project.
"It's fantastic that SolarReserve has received development approval to move forward with this world-leading project that will deliver clean, dispatchable renewable energy to supply our electrified rail, hospitals and schools and other major government buildings," Picton said.
Natalie Collard, the executive general manager of the Clean Energy Council, added: "South Australia is providing the rest of the country a glimpse of a renewable energy future. Our electricity system is rapidly moving towards one which will be smarter and cleaner, with a range of technologies providing high-tech, reliable, lower-cost power."
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."