Solar tower stands highest in the world

The world’s largest green power tower is being built in a remote area of Australia and will be ready to plug into the power grid by the end of 2005.

The solar tower, designed by German engineer Jörg Schlaich, will generate 200MW of clean energy for 200,000 households. The AUS$700 million tower, constructed by green energy company EnviroMission, is based on a seven-year pilot project in Spain that produced 50kW of green energy.

Australia’s new tower will be one kilometre high – the tallest man-made structure on Earth – and will be centred in a solar thermal power station with a five kilometre diameter greenhouse collector. The tower will house the world’s largest turbines, which will generate electricity from solar thermal wind created under the collector which will drive the turbines as the hot air rises towards the cold air in the Tower.

The Australian Government has set Mandatory Renewable Energy Targets to generate 500 gigawatt hours of annual power from clean and renewable sources. “Australia has a long way to go to meet its MRET target,” says Martin Thomas, chairman of Enviromission. “The solar tower will meet about 8% of the MRET target.”

EnviroMission plans to build five more towers over the next 10 years, which will meet 40% of the MRET target. Each tower will prevent the annual release of 830,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases that would be generated from an equivalent-sized coal-fired power station.

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