The Repower Port Augusta local community group was formed in May 2012 following a series of approaches and public presentations from a coalition comprising a number of environmental NGO’s and organisations including, AYCC, CLEANSA, The Conservation Council of SA, Beyond Zero Emissions, 100% Renewables, Doctors for the Environment and 350.org. Beyond Zero Emissions, (a think tank comprising mostly engineers and scientists) had developed a plan titled “Repowering Port Augusta” as a development from their broader-based Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan. The fundamental basis of the “Repowering Port Augusta” report was the construction of concentrating solar thermal power stations, with molten salt storage, in the Port Augusta region. The local group was formed to spearhead a public campaign, supported by other alliance members, to take whatever actions it could to help make that happen. Our members all saw benefit in CST with storage not only to Port Augusta, but also to the wider SA electricity supply network, and to the environment. Here is what some of our long-serving members had to say about why they became involved with the group.
“Large-scale energy storage from a zero emissions electricity generation technology was badly needed, especially in South Australia. Solar thermal had that, and lots of good jobs and my hometown was the ideal place in Australia to site a solar thermal power station. I knew I needed to go all in to do the best I could to help make it happen, and the Repower Port Augusta campaign provided that opportunity.”
“I joined RPA in late 2014 after returning from volunteering in East Timor.
I had been following the RPA’s activities via their email list as I have always believed renewable energy the best option for a sustainable future for our planet. As an environmental scientist working in the areas of sustainable land use and sustainable development, mining a resource to create heat to make steam, never made economic or resource management sense to me.
The sun – that great big nuclear reactor that is the centre of our galaxy –is the source of all the energy we need. And solar PV, wind turbines, pumped storage and Concentrating Solar Thermal are all proven and improving technologies that successfully harness that energy.
I also love living in Port Augusta, and strongly believe we have the potential to be the centre of renewable energy for South Australia and perhaps south-east Australia. We have the solar resource, the power generation history, and the skilled people to make this happen.
Now that many solar energy projects are being established around Port Augusta I am proud of the small part I played in making this happen, and I believe this new industry for our city will be a sustainable industry in which our community can also be proud.
PORT AUGUSTA the SOLAR CAPITAL of AUSTRALIA!”
“I became a part of Repower Port Augusta after the overwhelming community vote in its favour. I saw the great potential of harnessing our creativity and innovation in this place of natural desert beauty to provide renewable resources and protect God’s creation for future generations.”
Alan McMahon (Deputy Chairperson)
“Efficient use of energy is a global as well as a local issue. I see the transition from fossil energy to renewable energy as an urgent need and I’m proud to be a part of a local group that has had a big role in advocating for this change.
I have to admit that I was never sure our political representatives/leaders would move away from the powerful and influential coal and gas lobby and support CST. I think a number of things came together and the time is right for change. Renewable energy is now able to deliver on its promise of Clean, Green and Economically viable.”