SA enquiry into solar thermal

The South Australian Government has supported a motion to establish a parliamentary inquiry into solar thermal energy.

A select committee will look at a proposal to replace Alinta Energy’s Northern and Playford coal-fired power stations at Port Augusta with a concentrated solar thermal plant, when the supply of coal from Leigh Creek is no longer viable.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Kousantonis said South Australia has set a target of 33 per cent by 2020.

“Already, if South Australia was a country we would be second in the world when it comes to generating power through renewable technology. To reach our 2020 targets solar, wind, geothermal and wave power all have to be considered as part of that mix,” Mr Kousantonis said.

“Advances are now being made in solar thermal technology and energy storage that might soon make it commercially feasible to harness the sun’s rays for baseload power.”

Mr Kousantonis said his position stands in stark contrast to the views held by the Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond and her Deputy Mitch Williams.

“Ms Redmond has dismissed wind power as the most inefficient power generator despite wind farms helping to drive down the wholesale price of electricity in this state,” he said.

“Mr Williams has branded household solar panels and wind farms as ‘harebrained schemes’.

”They don’t believe in the need to reduce carbon emissions to address climate change and they certainly don’t believe in a future that involves embracing renewable energy.”