80 Walking 300 Kilometres For Solar In South Australia

walkforsolar

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 Australia.
  
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.
   
Analysis 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 Port Augusta 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.