Push For Solar Farm In Port Augusta

Beyond Zero Emissions is lobbying for a solar thermal power plant to be constructed at Port Augusta in South Australia. If the initiative goes ahead, it will be the first facility of its kind in Australia.
  
While the idea goes back to last year, Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) have ramped up their efforts recently given the possibility of Port Augusta’s Playford B power station facing closure or major modifications under a carbon tax scheme. 
  
Playford B is a coal powered facility consisting of four 60 MW steam turbines. The station acquires its coal by railway from the Leigh Creek Coal Mine, situated 280 kilometers from the plant. Carbon Monitoring for Action estimates Playford B emits 1.77 million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually.
 
BZE believes converting Playford B to solar thermal is technically and economically viable as similar equipment would be used in a solar thermal plant.
  
Solar thermal power generation usually consists of a field of mirrors that focus sunlight onto an absorber or pipe containing special fluids. The heated fluid is piped through a heat exchanger to create steam that drives a steam turbine.
 
BZE believes a solar thermal plant could generate more power than the current Playford B facility, which generates 40 per cent of the state’s electricity demand. The project could create 1,300 jobs during construction and 250 ongoing positions post-construction – more jobs than would occur if the plant was converted to burn natural gas.
  
Port Augusta City Council has expressed interest in the plan and BZE will be running a presentation on the proposed project at the Cooinda Club on Saturday, October 29 beginning at 3.30pm; an event the community are encouraged to attend.
  
Beyond Zero Emissions is a non-profit, volunteer based organisation with a goal to develop blueprints for the implementation of climate change solutions that will rapidly reduce emissions. 
 
In April 2010, the group released its Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Project (ZCA2020);  a costed, detailed blueprint for a transition to 100 per cent renewable energy by the end of the decade using proven, commercialised technology. Earlier this year, BZE in partnership with Academics from the University of Melbourne, published the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan, a study that won praise from the International Energy Agency (IEA).