Still fighting for solar

Repower Port Augusta Alliance has turned to the community once again to garner support for Port Augusta’s solar future.

The alliance has launched a public letter to Alinta Energy calling on it not to turn its back on the possibility of a solar thermal plant. 

The letter comes in response to the news that Alinta’s application for federal funding for a feasibility study into solar thermal was knocked back by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Repower Port Augusta member Lisa Lumsden said the group was disappointed to hear that funding for a feasibility study into developing a solar thermal facility had been knocked back.

“We were all disappointed to hear Alinta weren’t successful,” Ms Lumsden said.

“But we want to send a strong message to Alinta that the community doesn’t want them to give up on solar thermal.”

The group will be taking the letter to community members to sign in support before delivering it to Alinta in the coming week.

“Our community and the region is impacted by what happens to this power station,” Ms Lumsden said.

“So we want to give the community the opportunity to sign onto our letter and show Alinta that we want them to persevere, we want them to exhaust every possible avenue to progress a solar thermal future for Port Augusta.”

Repower Port Augusta hopes to have over 1000 people from Port Augusta sign onto the letter this week.

Repower Port Augusta campaigner Daniel Spencer said the rejection from ARENA should not mean the end for solar thermal in Port Augusta.

“We want them [Alinta Energy] to keep trying and keep pushing,” he said.

“We want to encourage Alinta not to turn around on solar thermal now that it’s been knocked back.

“With the power station coming to the end of its life they need to be looking for alternatives and solar thermal is by far the best.”

Mr Spencer said he hoped the community would get behind Repower Port Augusta’s campaign.

“I think it’s something that the public has got behind in the past and we want to demonstrate to Alinta that the community is behind them,” he said.

“The whole community is impacted by what happens at Port Augusta Power Station.

“We’re taking a two pronged path for now, trying to make sure Alinta stays interested but also that the federal government steps up and gets behind this opportunity as well.”

Member for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan said it was astounding  Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) had not approved the funding application.

“It is astounding that Alinta, the local community and the South Australian parliament all see this project as worthy of investigation but for some reason ARENA, which is in the very business of promoting such developments, does not,” he said.

“It is not very often that a company running a coal fired power station wants to investigate ways of transforming it into a renewable energy generator and yet this golden opportunity for feasibility funding has been rejected.

“While this is certainly a setback, ARENA has encouraged Alinta to re-apply and I strongly call on them to do so.”

STILL FIGHTING: Repower Port Augusta chairperson Liz Zyla and member Lisa Lumsden are urging community members to keep fighting for solar in Port Augusta, asking them to sign a letter supporting the cause.

STILL FIGHTING: Repower Port Augusta chairperson Liz Zyla and member Lisa Lumsden are urging community members to keep fighting for solar in Port Augusta, asking them to sign a letter supporting the cause.