More than 200 people turned out on the steps of Parliament House on Sunday, with their own makeshift solar panels, urging the State Government to back a solar thermal power plant at Port Augusta.
Decked with mirror panels to mimic solar panels, the demonstrators were led by Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson and former coal power station worker Gary Rowbottom.
The Federal Government has committed $110 million in funding through a loan for the project, but the State Government is yet to commit any money.
Mr Johnson said a power purchase plan from the government would make it viable and secure jobs for the Far North city.
“Our community has pushed for solar thermal for years,” he said.
“Now, it’s time for action from the State Government. Federal funding is now locked in for solar thermal in Port Augusta so it’s time for the Premier to make solar thermal a reality.
“Building solar thermal won’t just help Port Augusta, it will create manufacturing jobs for SA, regional jobs and balance our electricity grid with big storage.”
Mr Rowbottom said the project would provide much-needed stimulus for Port Augusta.
“This is Jay Weatherill and the SA Government’s chance to support our community for the long term, helping us build a new future and becoming the clean energy powerhouse of SA now the coal station has closed,” he said.
Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said solar thermal power was “absolutely in the mix” for the State Government going forward.