TUESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER, 2012 |
80 Walking 300 Kilometres For Solar In South Australia
A 300 kilometre walk is under way to raise awareness and support for the
construction of solar thermal power generation facilities in Port Augusta, South
Port Augusta is at an important crossroads. Two of its coal-fired power stations
are closing for good and the opportunity of new facilities using renewable
energy is ripe.
When households and businesses outside of Port Augusta flick on a power switch,
they likely give little thought to where that power has come from or the people
of Port Augusta. Electricity generated there is derived from burning brown coal,
the filthiest of fossil fuels, which is mined at Leigh Creek, 250 km to the north.
by Doctors for the Environment of health data for the period 1998-2007 showed the incidence of lung cancer
in Port Augusta to be 1.45 times the expected rate and for 2007-2009 twice the expected number.
While brown coal's days are numbered there, its legacy will remain - and the
spectre of more fossil fuel based electricity generation looms large in the form
of natural gas.
However, the local council, community, businesses and even the power companies all want solar
- but it will require a helping hand at the Federal Government level.
As part of the Repower Port Augusta
campaign, around 80 people are currently walking 300km from Port Augusta to
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill's door in Adelaide, in an attempt to not
only highlight the prospect as a state issue, but a national one. The group are
expected to reach their destination at the end of this month.
According to the Repowering
report released earlier this year by Beyond Zero Emissions,
establishing a solar thermal based power generation facility in Port Augusta
would create 1800 jobs, avoid millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions,
help address some health problems in the area; as well as providing the clean,
baseload power needed to fill the gap that will be left by coal.
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