As the Select Committee bows out of the ‘repowering Port Augusta’ debate, the unanswered question remains: How will SA transition from brown coal to cleaner power?
Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) is pleased the Select Committee has been investigating the merits of concentrated solar thermal (CST) power generation in Port Augusta, but disappointed the committee will wind up without offering a clear way forward.
The current, brown-coal-fired power being generated by Alinta is highly polluting and has limited life. South Australia must transition to another power source and Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) proposed a high tech solution in the form of concentrated solar thermal.
DEA has been urging investment in clean power for the State’s rust belt on health grounds. Doctors see first hand the health impacts on people working and living with coal mines and power stations.
In its interim report just released, the Select Committee on the Port Augusta Power Stations said, “The Committee considers the health of the Port Augusta community to be a very significant factor in support of BZE’s Repowering Port Augusta proposal.” The report leaves open the possibility of CST but does not go so far as to recommend a speedy path to implementation.
DEA spokesperson, Dr Ingo Weber said, “The community is at higher risk of illnesses, lung diseases such as cancer, asthma and bronchitis and shortened lives for as long as the current power station keeps operating.
“The Select Committee has taken a good look at concentrated solar thermal power for this state and found merit. However, without commitment by government, South Australia’s power generation will remain in limbo.
“With car and other manufacturing in decline, the concentrated solar power proposal offers a great opportunity to create high tech jobs building a renewable energy source.
“Concentrated solar thermal power is being built overseas on commercial scale, yet in Australia, government and industry seem to lack the commitment to move away from dirty power.
“Concentrated solar thermal would result in cheaper electricity in the long run, construction and manufacturing jobs and crucially, better health outcomes for the region.
“We need political leadership and foresight for the twenty first century to ensure better health and sustainable jobs for all Australians,” said Dr Weber.
Interim report Of the Parliament of SA Select Committee on Port Augusta Power Stations here: https://www.parliament.sa.gov.au/Committees/Pages/Committees.aspx?CTId=3&CId=274
DEA submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee: http://dea.org.au/images/uploads/submissions/Solar_Thermal_Power_Generation_-_Port_August_12-12.pdf
All the medical research by DEA on Port Augusta: http://dea.org.au/news/article/illness_and_pollution_at_port_augusta_dea_speaks_at_the_parliament_of_south
Transcript of evidence presented to the Select Committee, Plaza Room, Parliament House, Adelaide Friday 22 March 2013 at 2:10pm: https://www.parliament.sa.gov.au/Committees/Pages/Committees.aspx?CTId=3&CId=274 No 4
Doctors for the Environment Australia