MINERAL Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said today the South Australian government has supported the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry into solar thermal energy.
Mr Koutsantonis said a select committee will inquire into 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.
“This government agreed to establish this inquiry because we support the greater use of renewable technologies such as solar power to generate electricity,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“We have set an ambitious target to make renewable technology the source of 33 per cent of our energy generation by 2020.
“Already, if SA 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.
“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.
“The government today supported a motion by Member for Stuart, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, to set up a select committee to consider the latest available information about solar thermal and the practicality of building a plant near Port Augusta.
“His position stands in stark contrast to the views held by Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond and her Deputy Mitch Williams who are both openly hostile to renewables.
“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.
“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.”
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