The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced it would partner with natural gas and electricity provider, Alinta, and the South Australian Government to undertake a $2.3 million full feasibility study into solar thermal power generation at Port Augusta.
Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the announcement of funding to undertake a comprehensive study into solar thermal power generation in Port Augusta is a real boost for the Alinta power station and will come as great relief to the hundreds of workers who either work in the unit or as contractors and suppliers.”
“The funding would enable a collaborative approach to ensure the longevity of the Alinta power station by progressing the research required to tap into our greatest natural resource, the sun”, said Mr Ramsey.
“I have always maintained Alinta is in the best position to deliver solar power to the grid in Port Augusta because they have the ability to capitalise on their existing assets”, he said. “I was disappointed last year when ARENA rejected Alinta’s bid to support just such a study, however Alinta have gone away and reworked their proposal and ultimately been successful”.
“The funding will provide the opportunity for Alinta to look at the best and most advanced technologies in the world,” he said. “At a time when some of the most advanced nations are reassessing their supporting programs for renewable energy, I believe Port Augusta has much to offer. After all, if solar energy does not make sense in Port Augusta, where is it likely to”?
At the same time Alinta has announced it is opening up a lower level in the coal mine at Leigh Creek and with the possibility of a hybrid plant this would extend the life of the power station past 2030 and bring many benefits to the region such as reduced coal dust pollution, reduced emissions, jobs and a positive impact on electricity retail competition in South Australia.
Mr Ramsey said the study is scheduled for completion by April 2016.