Port Augusta’s ageing brown coal power stations should be replaced with base-load concentrating solar thermal power to improve the town’s health and create jobs, Beyond Zero Emissions says.

Renewable energy researchers, Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE), has released its Repowering Port Augusta report which it says presents compelling economic, health and environmental case for replacing the old power plants in the South Australian town.

South Australia has the opportunity to make history and consolidate its place as a world leader in renewable energy, by securing Australia’s first concentrated solar thermal power plant. BZE’s research demonstrates that Port Augusta will benefit from the transition to CST. These benefits are economic (1300 jobs during the construction phase, 250+ ongoing jobs), environmental and social (improved health for Port Augustans that will come from closing its ageing coal-fired power stations).

There is significant and growing support in Port Augusta for the replacement these power stations with solar energy. Both power stations (Playford B and Northern) have ongoing economic and health issues, and are likely to close over the next few years. The State Government currently intends replacing Playford with a gas power plant. This would result in large job losses in Port Augusta, further greenhouse gas emissions, and continuing health and environmental problems.

With the strong support of the Port Augusta Regional Council, and power station owner Alinta Energy backing solar thermal power as their preferred option for replacing the coal plants, now is the time for the community to join the call for a solar future for South Australia. Together we can ensure the best outcome for employment, health and the environment.