Reopen Northern Power Station

COAL: Dan van Holst Pellekaan has been criticised for urging the state government to consider reopening the Northern Power Station. PHOTO: Lisa Causby Outback Photgraphy.
COAL: Dan van Holst Pellekaan has been criticised for urging the state government to consider reopening the Northern Power Station. PHOTO: Lisa Causby Outback Photgraphy.

Repower Port Augusta has told the state and federal Liberal parties to not waste time looking at reopening the Port Augusta coal-powered Northern Power station.

The South Australian and Federal Liberal Party should instead focus on securing investment in solar thermal in Port Augusta, according to Repower Port Augusta.

Repower Port Augusta Campaigner Dan Spencer said ‘the age of burning coal is over’.

“Let’s not waste time looking at reopening the coal station which is never going to happen and focus on securing a long term solution by building solar thermal in Port Augusta,” he said. 

“Before the 2016 election, the Coalition committed that building solar thermal in Port Augusta was the number one priority for federal clean energy funds.

“Solar thermal provides on-demand clean power delivering the network benefits of fossil fuels without the air and climate pollution that Port Augusta residents lived with for decades” 

These calls come after The Advertiser reported the state and federal liberal party is urging the Weatherill government to reopen Port Augusta’s Northern Power station.

The The Northern Power station closed in May this year, following the earlier closure of the Leigh Creek coal mine and Playford A power stations.

The last owner of the power station was Alinta Energy and Flinders Power currently own the now decommissioned site. 

State Energy Minster Tom Koutsantonis said the policy is akin to announcing the Liberals would restart the whaling industry.

“The Liberals want to return to a previous century rather than prepare our state and our economy for the future,” he said

“This is a thought bubble from Mr Pellekaan and Mr (Steven) Marshall that reveals the Liberal policy is a return to inefficient, dirty coal-fired power for South Australia.

“It is astounding that the Liberal Party is now calling for a power station, that they privatised, to be purchased by the state government and reopened.”

State Shadow Minister for Energy Dan van Holst Pellekaan said it’s unacceptable that South Australia has the most expensive and least reliable electricity in the nation.

“So all sensible options to correct this must be thoroughly investigated and if it turns out that temporarily re-starting the power station is not appropriate then so be it, but let's not rule out any possibilities,” he said.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said the time and duration of the station being opened would be determined as part of a thorough cost benefit analysis,  considering both environmental and economic implications.

He said this process leaves the option of a private or state-owned power station.

The state member for Stuart said SA must transition towards renewables.

“But until renewable energy can be stored it remains an intermittent energy source and too much intermittent supply has increased prices and reduced reliability,” he said.

“This transition can only happen in a well planned and managed way otherwise the result is the high prices and unreliability that we have now.

He said solar thermal is ‘by far the best’ renewable technology available now because it includes storage and wants it in Port Augusta ‘ASAP’.

“But we also need affordable electricity between now and then,” he said.

“I'm pleased not to have coal burning in Port Augusta, but temporarily using the existing power station may be the best way to move to a renewable solution more quickly and without electricity prices being so expensive.”