The concept is to enclose the area around the base of the tower in a glass greenhouse that captures solar energy. The superheated air rises through a central chimney with turbines to generate electricity. Furthermore, by using heat retaining materials on the ground which release heat during the night, the developers believe that they will be able to generate electricity 24 hours a day.
The company has a great animated diagram that illustrates how the system works. It requires a sizable area and consistent sunshine, which is why this first installation is being set in the Australian Outback.
If you're looking for something a bit more pretty, this 3D video of the the Solar Power Tower gives you a full on walkthrough of the technological marvel, though I suggest turning the sound off to avoid the cheesy music. The tower will be over 1000 feet tall and, according to the rendering, there will be an observation deck at the top of it. Oh, and if you keep watching 'till the end, you'll see that the Australian outback may someday be dotted with these humongous installations.
The system has few of the drawbacks which some opponents of wind farms find objectionable. For example, there are no external blades which would pose a threat to birds. People may, however, consider them to be ugly. But I don't think it's uglier than a world of submerged coastal cities.
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