Baseload solar

Living Green: Power in Renewables

Dr. Jenny Riesz, Newcastle Herald, Sept. 8, 2013

THE Australian Energy Market Operator released a landmark study last month, showing that Australia could reliably supply 100 per cent of its power needs from renewable energy.

AEMO is the organisation responsible for "keeping the lights on" for the entire east coast of Australia, so its assessment is comprehensive and conservative. This means its determination that 100 per cent renewable energy is feasible carries a hefty credibility.

Repower Port Augusta Part 3

As the parliamentary select committee into repowering Port Augusta prepares to visit Gemasolar in Spain, we are building up community knowledge and desire to see Australia's first big solar thermal power plant in South Australia. This is part 3 of Beyond Zero's series into the Repower Port Augusta campaign.

Vivien and Beth talk to Dan van Holst Pellekaan - MP for Port Augusta, Terry Mc Bride - BZE activist in Adelaide and Dr Karl Kruzelnicki.

See BZE's and Repower Port Augusta's submissions to the SA Select Committee on the Port Augusta Power Stations here.

Don't waste solar energy on coal

Port Augusta is the ideal location in South Australia for a solar thermal power plant, due to its very good direct annual solar radiation and its proximity to a strong piece of grid infrastructure that services the old lignite burning power plants that are located there, owned by Alinta.

There has been a campaign for some time to repower Port Augusta, after the town was named as one of 12 key power generation sites in the Zero Carbon Australia stationary energy plan.

This campaign has garnered a lot of support and gained a great deal of momentum.

But now we're at a turning point where we may get a type solar thermal plant that is of little use in promoting a shift away from fossil fuels.  A plant that will not create an inspiring vision, nor support greater understanding and learning-by-doing that will shift us from a 19th century fossil fuel economy, to a 21st century renewable-powered, cleantech economy.

The plant being proposed is a cheaper option being proposed by electricity company Alinta. But buyer beware - you get what you pay for.

Coal train bound from Leigh Creek mine to Port Augusta

Port Augusta Solar Update and the Climate and Health Alliance

Dan van Holst Pelekaan is the South Australian MP who represents Port Augusta. He’s engaged with his community and talks about the long term bi- partisan policies needed to lead Australia down the path of big solar power.

His select committee will investigate BZE’s proposition of a Concentrated Solar Thermal plant at Port August to replace the coal fired plant.

Fiona Armstrong is Convenor of the Climate and Health Alliance. She is into more than urging extra emergency beds for victims of heat waves, cyclones, and floods.

Medical professionals see the value of prevention. They are trusted communicators as we reframe the climate crisis as a threat to our health and build resilience. Health must be central to discussions of preventing the worst of climate change as well as adapting to the change that’s already locked in.

Fiona reports how the health sector is urging exceptional courage from our business, political and civic leaders. We have failed to curb emissions growth and must protect the health of people in vulnerable communities.

Solar research funding is just passing the buck

December 13 2012

Martin Ferguson's announcement this morning for $83 million for solar energy research is a diversion from actually building large solar, according to Matthew Wright from the climate and energy think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions.

“While Australia is limiting its large-scale solar energy sector to research, other countries are going ahead and building it – and learning more in the process,” Wright said.

“If Martin Ferguson really supported large scale solar energy, he would have us build it now.

“China has just announced that, from almost nothing today, they will build three thousand megawatts of solar thermal capacity in the next three years. That's what we should be doing, too.” 

Beyond Zero Emissions are pushing for Australia's first large solar-thermal plants to be built at Port Augusta, to replace the two coal power stations there, in coalition with union, community and environmental groups and the Port Augusta council. 

Image: Abengoa solar thermal plant, Spain

The group has written a technical report on how it can be done, building on the 2010 Zero Carbon Australia plan which outlined a feasible plan to power all of Australia on 100% renewable energy. 

“Port Augusta would have to be one of the world's best locations for solar thermal energy: it has the grid connection, the skilled workforce, and a world-class solar resource.

“Building solar thermal plants, that store heat energy to operate at night, is the key piece of the puzzle to replace baseload coal and gas with clean and reliable renewable energy.

“24 hour solar power is what Australians want, and we've shown that it can be built.”

Alinta's next move

By Amy Moran. Source: The Transcontinental

Alinta Energy is about to embark on a conceptual study into solar thermal technology.

With a pre-feasibility study just completed, the company is ready to take the next step.

Despite a proposal by Beyond Zero Emissions for the Augusta Power Stations to be replaced with a $6 billion solar thermal plant, Alinta Energy chief executive officer Jeff Dimery says the company is looking to build something smaller.

He says replacing the power stations with reasonably new technology would be too great a risk for the company, and he would like to see solar thermal and coal working side-by-side.

“If the sun’s shining today we burn less coal today and we’ve got more coal to burn tomorrow,” he said.

Coal train from Leigh Creek to Port Augusta.

Port Augusta - Here We Come



Something thrilling is happening in South Australia. They’ve already passed the government’s targets for renewable energy through wind and NOW they are hoping to build Australia's first Solar Thermal Power Plant.

The campaign is led by Beyond Zero Emissions, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) and 100% Renewables with support from the Climate and Health Alliance and the Public Health Association of Australia, as well as local businesses and the people of Port Augusta.


Beyond Zero's Vivien, Beth and Sally talk to Dr Karl Kruszelnicki about why this community is so keen to leave behind the cancers and repiratory diseases (eg. asthma) connected to coal fired power. Dr Karl also explains why we haven’t reacted sufficiently to the melting permafrost and dire scientific predictions of climate change. He addressed the REPOWER Port Augusta rally recently.

Beyond Zero also talks to Mark Ogge, spokesperson for the REPOWER Port Augusta campaign.

Let's lead the way again in green energy, says Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young

AUSTRALIA is rich in natural energy resources that a clean and green. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young wants South Australia to lead the way.


AS we know, Australia is rich in natural resources. We've been exploiting our mineral reserves for more than a century now.

But there is a catch  these resources are both finite and dirty. The good news is that we in South Australia have a plentiful supply of alternative natural resources to call upon in the form of solar power and wind energy.

Our state is perfectly poised to make hay while the sun shines and, when it comes to renewable energy alternatives, the economic sun is certainly breaking through the clouds in SA.

While our nation as a whole has committed to reaching a target of 20 per cent baseload power generation from renewable sources by the year 2020, SA has already achieved better than that with a 21 per cent renewable power supply.

The advantages of wind power are well understood in our state where, despite our size, we produce almost half of the nation's wind power capacity.

Now SA is being presented with an opportunity to lead the way in another form of renewable energy and there's a passionate group who want to tell you about it.

Two-and-a-half weeks ago 80 people set out on a walk from Port Augusta and they won't be returning home until they've walked all the way to Adelaide. They are coming to spruik the benefits of transitioning Port Augusta's two coal-fired power stations to renewable energy alternatives.

Australian climate change think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) believes Port Augusta is perfectly positioned to lead the nation in the renewables field by building Australia's first solar thermal power plant. The Australian Greens agree.

Solar thermal power stations are able to store heat overnight, meaning the technology can deliver reliable and consistent electricity to customers around-the-clock in the same way a gas-powered station could.

BZE's research shows that transitioning to solar thermal plants in Port Augusta would also create more than 1800 jobs, protect the health of the surrounding community, save five million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year and lower the cost of electricity to all South Australians in the long term.

With this plan too there is a catch, but in the case of solar thermal plants all that is needed to overcome that hurdle is a little foresight and strong political leadership.

While it is undeniable that these power stations are expensive to build, they have a huge economic advantage over their gas-powered equivalents that makes them significantly cheaper in the long term  fuel costs.

With the price of gas set to be linked to the international price of oil, South Australians relying on gas power from Port Augusta would be hit by volatile and increasingly expensive electricity costs similar to what we already experience at the petrol pump.

The Sun's energy isn't only cleaner and safer than gas, it is also 100 per cent free and that probably won't be changing any time soon.

There is across-the-board support for transition in Port Augusta from locals, community leaders and even the company behind the old power stations. This is because solar thermal technology would be hugely beneficial to the environment, the community and the economy.

SA is already leading the way in renewable energies Australia-wide. The question we have to answer now is: Do we want to lead the world?

You can join the "Rally for Solar" in Rundle Park this Sunday at 1pm when the walkers from Port Augusta arrive in the city.

- Sarah Hanson-Young is a Greens Senator for South Australia

Aaron puts hand up and feet down

IT'S not often that a person gets the urge to walk 325 kilometres over two weeks to make a point.

But when it comes to environmental sustainability, former Broughton Anglican College student Aaron Morellini (pictured) was happy to put his hand up.

Mr Morellini, 21, will join about 100 other people when he walks from Port Augusta, South Australia, to Adelaide to boost support for the Repower Port Augusta campaign.

The movement seeks to replace two soon-to-be decommissioned coal plants with solar thermal power in an effort to keep the town's economy and workforce afloat.

Mr Morellini said the South Australian government was now considering not replacing the plants, or replacing them with a gas plant which could increase demand for coal seam gas.

Cleaning Up The Climate Debate

Dan Cass writes at Climate Spectator:

A recent poll confirms what I have come to believe after watching the global warming issue for 20 years; renewable energy is the only way to save the debate about saving the planet.

If the UN wants to make progress in the climate negotiations and closer to home, if Julia Gillard wants to win the next election, then the debate should be couched in terms of the tangible benefits of today’s solar and wind technologies.

A poll by Essential Research, conducted during Australia’s recent carbon price negotiations, shows overwhelming public support for investment in solar and wind, and that this support might just win the politics of a carbon price.

The poll shows that the public loves renewables, but that this sentiment is vulnerable to attacks from various clean energy detractors. Solar and wind have been politicised and companies need to step in and vigorously defend their interests.

Syndicate content