Speaking at the Walk For Solar rally in Adelaide on weekend, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and others voiced their support to the construction of solar thermal power stations in South Australia’s Port Augusta.
80 people who had walked 300 kilometres from Port Augusta to Adelaide were joined by around 300 other supporters at Parliament House to raise awareness of the proposed project that could replace the soon to be shuttered brown coal fired power stations in Port Augusta with solar facilities.
According to a report on AdelaideNow, Dr. Karl believes solar and other renewables are not only a cleaner energy source, but will be cheaper too.
“If we head down this path we can end up with a system where we get all of Australia’s electrical energy entirely from renewables . .. and when you average it out over 30 years it can supply Australia with electricity at one-third of the price of burning coal,” he said.
Also speaking at the rally was Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who pointed out the broad support for the building of solar thermal plants at Port Augusta and that even “the company that runs the dirty power stations at the moment wants it”.
The current coal powered facilities could be replaced by 6 concentrated solar thermal stations and 95 wind turbines. Unlike solar panels, a solar thermal power station can provide baseload generation using a molten salt “battery” system. This technology has already been proven to work and is currently in use by the world’s first baseload solar electricity plant, Gemasolar.
In addition to clean power and creating 1,800 jobs, the end of brown coal fired generation in Port Augusta will help improve the health of the local community, which has suffered for years while the rest of the state has benefited from the electricity produced.
The Repowering Port Augusta blueprint estimates the cost of the power stations would be equivalent to a 1c per kWh power price increase if the cost were levelled across South Australian electricity consumers.
While the rally in South Australia was the main event on Sunday, other “SOLARdarity” rallies were also held throughout the nation.