The prospects of a solar thermal power plant being built in Port Augusta are a step closer with the federal government reaffirming support for clean energy projects.

The government has ditched plans to axe the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Australian Renewable Energy Agency with the two bodies to jointly manage a new $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund.

Repower Port Augusta has been lobbying for federal support to build a solar thermal plant in the town after its old coal-fired power stations close down in May.

It says the new federal fund is great news and it will now reach out to the government for backing.


REPOWER Port Augusta has welcomed a pending statement from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of a new Clean Energy Innovation Fund contributing to the large-scale solar thermal proposal in Port Augusta.

Repower Port Augusta spokesperson Lisa Lumsden said the announcement would be a massive step forward for the Port Augusta community, with the Prime Minister specifically mentioning how the new fund could be used to fund solar thermal with storage in Port Augusta.

“With our coal station closing in May building solar thermal with Port Augusta would create badly needed new jobs for our community and on-demand clean, renewable power,” Ms Lumsden said.

“This announcement gives real hope for our community going forward.”

Ms Lumsden said the Port Augusta community has campaigned for solar thermal to happen in Port Augusta for the last five years.

She said the Prime Minister’s pending announcement has her and the rest of the city ready to get to work making solar thermal a local reality.

“We’re ready for this and we’re looking forward to getting this over the line” Ms Lumsden said.

“We have a company willing to build it, the South Australian government wants to buy clean power and now we’ve had our strongest statement of support yet from the federal government.

It really feels like we can make solar thermal happen for Port Augusta and win new jobs for our community”

Clean Energy Innovation Fund will be additional to finance provided from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency or ARENA.

Both bodies were slated for closure by Tony Abbott but it now appears his successor, Malcolm Turnbull, is set to keep them open

Repower Port Augusta plans to reach out to federal and state governments for advice on planning for the next steps towards confirming the proposed project goes ahead.

Building solar thermal in Port Augusta is expected to create 1000 jobs in construction and around 50 ongoing for maintenance.