Solar power: Australia has an abundance of solar energy that can be safely …

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<span class=”caption-text”>Solar power: Australia has an abundance of solar energy that can be safely harnessed. Picture: Dean Martin </span>
<span class=”image-source”><em>Source:</em> The Advertiser</span>
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AUSTRALIA is rich in natural energy resources that a clean and green. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young wants South Australia to lead the way.
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<p>———-</p><p>AS we know, Australia is rich in natural resources. We’ve been exploiting our mineral reserves for more than a century now.</p><p>But there is a catch  these resources are both finite and dirty. The good news is that we in South Australia have a plentiful supply of alternative natural resources to call upon in the form of solar power and wind energy.</p><p>Our state is perfectly poised to make hay while the sun shines and, when it comes to renewable energy alternatives, the economic sun is certainly breaking through the clouds in SA.</p><p>While our nation as a whole has committed to reaching a target of 20 per cent baseload power generation from renewable sources by the year 2020, SA has already achieved better than that with a 21 per cent renewable power supply.<br /></p>
<br />The advantages of wind power are well understood in our state where, despite our size, we produce almost half of the nation’s wind power capacity.<p>Now SA is being presented with an opportunity to lead the way in another form of renewable energy and there’s a passionate group who want to tell you about it.</p><p>Two-and-a-half weeks ago 80 people set out on a walk from Port Augusta and they won’t be returning home until they’ve walked all the way to Adelaide. They are coming to spruik the benefits of transitioning Port Augusta’s two coal-fired power stations to renewable energy alternatives.</p><p>Australian climate change think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) believes Port Augusta is perfectly positioned to lead the nation in the renewables field by building Australia’s first solar thermal power plant. The Australian Greens agree.</p><p>Solar thermal power stations are able to store heat overnight, meaning the technology can deliver reliable and consistent electricity to customers around-the-clock in the same way a gas-powered station could.</p><p>BZE’s research shows that transitioning to solar thermal plants in Port Augusta would also create more than 1800 jobs, protect the health of the surrounding community, save five million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year and lower the cost of electricity to all South Australians in the long term.</p><p>With this plan too there is a catch, but in the case of solar thermal plants all that is needed to overcome that hurdle is a little foresight and strong political leadership.</p><p>While it is undeniable that these power stations are expensive to build, they have a huge economic advantage over their gas-powered equivalents that makes them significantly cheaper in the long term  fuel costs.</p><p>With the price of gas set to be linked to the international price of oil, South Australians relying on gas power from Port Augusta would be hit by volatile and increasingly expensive electricity costs similar to what we already experience at the petrol pump.</p><p>The Sun’s energy isn’t only cleaner and safer than gas, it is also 100 per cent free and that probably won’t be changing any time soon.</p><p>There is across-the-board support for transition in Port Augusta from locals, community leaders and even the company behind the old power stations. This is because solar thermal technology would be hugely beneficial to the environment, the community and the economy.</p><p>SA is already leading the way in renewable energies Australia-wide. The question we have to answer now is: Do we want to lead the world?</p><p>You can join the “Rally for Solar” in Rundle Park this Sunday at 1pm when the walkers from Port Augusta arrive in the city.</p><p>- Sarah Hanson-Young is a Greens Senator for South Australia</p><p> </p>
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