October 24, 2008
Australian solar company Ausra and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have joined forces Thursday to make history.
The former Hollywood action star flicked the "on" switch at Ausra's new Kimberlina solar energy facility located in the desert about 160km north of Los Angeles.
The plant will generate enough electricity to power 3,500 homes in central California.
Kimberlina is the first solar-thermal power project to open in California in nearly 20 years and continues Schwarzenegger's pursuit of renewable power alternatives for his state.
"This next generation solar power plant is further evidence that reliable, renewable and pollution-free technology is here to stay, and it will lead to more California homes and businesses powered by sunshine," Schwarzenegger said.
"Not only will this large-scale solar facility generate power to help us meet our renewable energy goals, it will also generate new jobs as California continues to pioneer clean-tech industry."
Kimberlina is located near the central Californian city of Bakersfield, the third sunniest city in the US.
The plant has a space age look, with 300m rows of mirrors designed to concentrate the sun's power on tubes carrying steam.
"Ausra has the world's first hybrid coal-solar power plant which is based in NSW, Australia, and now we have the first Ausra stand-alone facility operating in California," Ausra president Bob Matthews said.
Ausra was founded by Australian researcher Dr David Mills who developed the solar technology at a University of Sydney lab.
The company, now headquartered in Palo Alto near San Francisco, plans a larger solar-thermal plant at California's Carrizo Plain to power 120,000 homes.
© 2009 AAP
Ausra designs, manufactures, installs, and operates solar thermal energy systems for customers around the world. Amid growing public demand for clean energy, our next-generation solar thermal energy systems provide reliable, scalable, and cost-competitive renewable energy solutions for both power and industrial steam customers.
Our solar thermal energy technology is the most land-efficient in operation, is easily manufactured and installed, and serves as a hedge against volatile fuel price fluctuations and emissions regulation costs. It is part of our customers' integrated sustainability strategy for fuel and carbon market risk reduction—at competitive prices.