Street parade calls for a solar thermal future

Three hundred people gathered in Adelaide calling for solar power in Port Augusta, September 24. Photo: Jared Thomas

More than 300 people of all ages gathered in Adelaide on September 24 calling for concentrating solar thermal (CST) technology to replace Port Augusta’s ageing coal fired power stations.

The action was organised by several environment groups, including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Climate Emergency Action Network, the Socialist Alliance, Resistance and the Young Greens. The crowd met in Adelaide’s Rymill Park and took to the streets in a colourful, rhythmic parade, featuring a moving solar thermal tower.

The event was one of thousands of actions that took place across the globe as part of the “Moving Planet” day of action called by the climate action campaign website 350.org.

Concentrating solar thermal (CST) power plants are being built now in California and Spain. They use swivelling mirrors to focus the sun’s rays on heat-collecting “power towers”. The heat is stored in insulated tanks containing molten salts at temperatures as high as 600ºC, allowing baseload power output, 24 hours a day.

Scientists and engineers working with Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) in Melbourne say Port Augusta, with its first class solar resource, is an ideal location to trial this technology in Australia.

Speakers at the rally included Dr Jared Thomas, a former resident of Port Augusta and Nukunu Peoples Council Public Officer.

Thomas spoke of the potential for solar thermal projects to unite black and white communities in Port Augusta in positive, clean energy projects which would benefit the local economy.

“Our people are open to discussing the use of traditional lands for solar thermal power plant sites,” he said.

“This technology aligns with our worldview of sustaining the health of the environment and people while providing economic opportunities. Aboriginal people will support the education of their children toward employment in this industry.”

Dr Ingo Weber from Doctors for the Environment Australia spoke of the urgent health problems associated with coal and gas burning, but also of the wider health implications of a warming world.

Greens MP Mark Parnell discussed the problems of transitioning from coal to gas, stating gas would not provide significant employment opportunities for local people and would continue to cause carbon emissions that contribute to dangerous climate change.

The local community in Port Augusta will have an opportunity to learn more about solar thermal technology in a free public forum to be presented on October 29 at 3:30pm in the Cooinda Hall. For information email robynwaite@yahoo.com.au.

Comments

Solar thermal technology sucks. Those foolish enough to use obsolete solar technologies have all switched to PV solar, although that cannot replace a coal fired plant either. Replacement of a
controllable power source requires another controllable power source, a fact that apparently the
marching morons in this photo don't understand. They're too busy saving the planet, I guess.

Solar thermal power makes coal and gas-fired power obsolete, in the same way the advent of the internal combustion engine made the horse-drawn carriage obsolete.

See: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/48104

This is my point of view.
The dreaded CARBON TAX, or as normal people would say. PUTTING A PRICE ON CARBON will give the power companies a bit of cash to invest in clean green energy.
Solar thermal is a 24 hour a day power generation method.
We must take advantage of the Labor governments initiative and build as many solar/wind/geothermal power plants as possible.

The stone age did not end because we ran out of stones.
We must embrace the future and invest in clean green energy.
Solar Thermal /geothermal and Hydro have made fossil fuels obsolete.