Media release: Doctors give Port Augusta’s solar thermal plant a big tick of approval

Doctors applaud the South Australian Government’s support of a solar thermal plant with storage in Port Augusta – the biggest of its kind in the world.

Dr David Shearman, spokesperson for Doctors for the Environment Australia, a medical group supported by a Nobel laureate and recipients of the Australia of the Year Award, says solar thermal was the logical answer for this regional town.

Says Dr Shearman, “The SA government has finally come to the party, they arrived late, after all the speeches, but who cares now?

“This is an extraordinary win for the people of Port Augusta who will as a result have cleaner air, a healthier environment and more jobs.

“The plant will not only put Port Augusta on the map as a modern town with cutting edge, sustainable technology – it will be a beacon of hope for individuals and communities throughout Australia who are working long and hard towards a transition from coal-fired power to clean forms of energy.

“Coal had to go for it was a scourge on the health of Port Augustans.

“The chimneystack was approximately 3km from the edge of the town of 15,000 people, exposing the people of Port Augusta to a cocktail of noxious gases and particulates.

“The lung cancer rate was nearly double that compared to other towns and the respiratory illness in children was amongst the highest in the state.”

Evidence shows people breathing the pollutions from power stations suffer more asthma, chronic lung disease and lung cancer, more heart disease and more strokes.

Coal-fired power stations also add greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere which contribute to climate change and its devastating impacts.

DEA was part of the campaign to close the polluting Port Augusta power station. Dr Shearman more than five years ago participated in the first community meeting organized by CLEANSA in Port Augusta attended by about 120 people, mostly from the local community.

Construction of the 150MW plant will begin in 2018, and is estimated to be completed in 2020. The project will deliver more than 700 jobs.

 

Media contact

Dr David Shearman AM, 0481 154 805
DEA Hon. Secretary and Emeritus Professor of Medicine University of Adelaide

Dr Ingo Weber
Anaesthetic staff specialist at the Lyell McEwin Hospital, South Australia.


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