Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) welcomes the announcement by Alinta to finally cease its brown coal burning industries in Port Augusta by 2018.
DEA says the closure will mean far cleaner air, less respiratory illnesses in children and a reduction in greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere, resulting in significant savings in health costs over time.
Dr Ingo Weber, spokesperson for DEA, a health advocacy organisation that raises awareness of the link between health and the environment, says: “The health impacts suffered by the communities from brown coal pollution has meant DEA has campaigned long and hard for a rapid and urgent transition from coal to renewable energy generation in Port Augusta.
”DEA is equally concerned for the well being of the workers, their families and the community, as a result of job losses and uncertainty and calls for an urgent equitable transition plan.”
DEA is appealing to the government to support Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) power generation for Port Augusta, a project DEA has been advocating for, together with the Repower Alliance, for many years.
“We’ve presented to government, talked to politicians and participated in a parliamentary enquiry resulting in two feasibility studies. Several companies are interested in building the first large scale solar thermal plant in Australia right here, right now. It is time for the government to step up to protect the future welfare of this community”, says Dr Weber.
CST has been well assessed, and its technology is commercially proven to provide cheap, reliable electricity in the long run. The technology also provides backup power when needed, not just when the sun is shining.
Dr Weber says that with the loss of car manufacturing and uncertainty in the ship building industry sector in South Australia, the opportunities for job creation are huge and are exactly what the community of Port Augusta needs and deserves.
“The closure of the coal power stations and Leigh Creek coal mine should not be viewed as an end for employment and industry in the area, but rather the beginning of a real new opportunity for SA to re-invent itself for the 21st century, and for Port Augusta to be put back on the map as a modern town with cutting edge, sustainable technology and growth.
“This technology is good for the health of the people, for Port Augusta and for SA,” says Dr Weber.
Dr Ingo Weber
Dr Doug Shaw, 0408 679 347