Solar Thermal at Port Augusta cure for coal sickness

MEDIA RELEASE 
2 April 2015

Solar Thermal at Port Augusta cure for coal sickness

With today’s national pollution data showing that the Port Augusta power station is in the top 10 dirtiest in the country, Conservation SA has backed the Port Augusta community’s call for the Premier to support the building of Australia’s first ever solar thermal power station in the town.

Owner of Port Augusta’s ageing coal plants Alinta Energy recently completed a feasibility study into solar thermal showing the project needs a top-up of $150m to be financially viable.

Chief Executive Craig Wilkins said: “The study’s finding that some Government support is required is exactly what you would expect.  Of course the State Government needs to be a partner if Port Augusta is to be the home of Australia’s first solar thermal plant with storage.

"Just like at Port Pirie where the State Government invested in the revamp of a dirty industrial plant in order to create jobs and improve the town’s health, they now need to do the same thing for Port Augusta,” he said.

Data released today by the National Pollutant Inventory reveals that coal is Australia’s number one source of fine particle pollution, known to have a range of adverse health impacts. The Northern Power Station at Port Augusta is the 11th highest emitter of PM10 of all Australia’s power stations and the 9th highest emitter of PM2.5 (up from 12th last year).

“Data out today shows that pollutants from Leigh Creek coal have worsened.  This means health impacts at Port Augusta are also likely to worsen. The Port Augusta community has already borne the health burden of coal for decades, with higher rates of cancer and respiratory diseases.  This must stop,” Craig Wilkins said.

“Building solar thermal at Port Augusta offers us the chance to develop a whole new industry at a time we are losing manufacturing jobs.

“It would be a huge and exciting step for South Australia to lead the country in demonstrating how coal power stations can be repurposed to provide clean energy from the sun,” he said.

Release Ends

Media Contact:  Craig Wilkins 0417 879 439

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Contact Conservation SA on (08) 8223 5155, general@conservationsa.org.au, or at our offices at the Joinery at 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

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