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Report sheds light on power stations' solar potential

A report is being released today on the potential of converting Port Augusta’s two ageing coal-fired power stations into solar thermal plants.

A Federal Government scheme is looking at closing the Playford B and Northern Power stations in Port Augusta because of their high carbon emissions.

The power stations provide more than a third of South Australia’s electricity.

Renewable energy think tank Beyond Zero Emissions wants them converted to solar thermal.

The group’s Mark Ooge says it has been proven in Spain as a base-load power supply.

“They’ve been dispatching base-load solar power to the Spanish grid for a number of years now,” he said.

He says replacing them with solar thermal plants would save 100 million tonnes of carbon emissions and create 1,800 jobs.

“That will include about 300 permanent, ongoing operation and maintenance jobs,” he said.

Greens’ MP Mark Parnell says solar thermal is a better option than converting the power stations to gas-fired plants.

“It will be a missed opportunity if all they do is replace one fossil fuel with another.

“Gas is still a fossil fuel; it still leads to carbon pollution.”

The future of both stations lies with owner Alinta Energy.

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