Scientists at the Australian National University were making big steps towards renewable energy on this day in 1979, after it was announced that a prototype solar-energy power station would be built by the team in far-western NSW. The introduction of the station would mean that after two years, the small town would derive all of its electricity from the sun's rays.
Professor Stephen Kaneff, from the ANU's Research School of Physical Sciences who would head the team, said, "It's the first time in the world this type of system has been used. It's an economic approach to using solar collectors to produce power."
The project was going to be funded by the NSW Government at a cost of $800,000.
The electricity would be generated by fourteen pairs of "tracking concentrating collectors", which would supply superheated steam to an engine driving an alternator. This alternator was capable of producing 25 kilowatts.
The electricity generated would provide energy for about 10 houses. Professor Kaneff said the electricity could used for "the desalination of water, which could be used to irrigate arid regions", and would later be able to provide hot water, space heating, and possible air conditioning.
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