Locals call for solar thermal

Port Augusta residents joined an international day of action on Saturday calling for a switch from coal to clean renewable energy. 

The protesters think that Port Augusta can be at the forefront of this switch by replacing the town’s ageing coal-fired power stations with Australia’s first concentrated solar thermal plant with storage.

Repower Port Augusta’s Elizabeth Zyla said they had community support for change.

“The age of coal is coming to an end in Port Augusta and our community needs an alternative,” she said

“We need to bring on the age of solar in Port Augusta, which is the alternative our community supports”.

The Port Augusta power stations have been the subject of a community driven campaign for over a year following the release of research by energy think tank Beyond Zero Emissions.

The South Australian branch of the CFMEU have backed the campaign arguing that an investment in solar thermal would bring construction and manufacturing jobs to the region and replace the existing jobs at the coal-fired power stations.

CFMEU state secretary Aaron Cartledge said solar thermal would be a great replacement for the coal-fired power stations.

“Investment in solar thermal here in Port Augusta would be a major shot in the arm for manufacturing in this state,” he said. 

“Building this smart, clean, 21st century technology will create jobs and provide a viable replacement to the coal stations of the past”.

Repower Port Augusta are calling on the federal government to use money from the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which is set to begin funding projects from July 1.

The CEFC has come under threat recently with the Coalition saying they will disband it if elected in September.

“Port Augusta deserves a slice of the clean energy fund,” Ms Zyla said. 

“Our community has borne the cost of generating electricity from dirty coal stations for decades. 

“We want to become the centre of clean power generation in this state and we need all politicians to be supporting this investment in our future.”

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