Climate solutions think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions welcomes news that power company Alinta will pursue a solar-thermal “power tower” to replace its ageing coal power stations at Port Augusta in South Australia.
Alinta announced today that its preferred option is a 50 megawatt plant that can store enough solar energy (as heat) to run for 15 hours at night.
Beyond Zero Emissions published a high-level study in 2012 into solar-thermal options for Port Augusta and helped locals launch a campaign to replace the town's coal power stations.
BZE's CEO Stephen Bygrave said the news is a great win for solar.
“This new technology that can supply clean solar power at night will revolutionise our energy supply, and as I've said, that it's inevitable it will be built in Australia. Now the race is on to see which state, and which town, will see the first power tower built”, Mr Bygrave said.
“Port Augusta just pulled ahead in that race. I congratulate the people of Port Augusta and all the groups that have supported this campaign for sticking it out and keeping the solar-thermal with storage option on the table. ”
Image from Repower Port Augusta.
“Alinta are to be congratulated for seeing the value in expanding renewables.
“This progress has been made possible by the existence of the Federal body ARENA [Australian Renewable Energy Agency], which provides funds for these feasibility studies.
“As the residents of Port Augusta know, it's crucial that we keep such support bodies to make a smooth transition to the power of the future.
“We hope that ARENA is able to continue funding this vital work, and that the Renewable Energy Target and Clean Energy Finance Corporation can then help fund the construction of Australia's first baseload solar power station.
“These institutions have been criticised by some recently, but this shows once again that the future lies with renewable energy and we ought to support it.”
Beyond Zero Emissions’ 2012 study on Port Augusta complements the research organisation’s series of Zero Carbon Australia plans, published in conjunction with The University of Melbourne, that shows how Australia can move to 100% renewable energy in ten years with the political will to do so.