One year on from the closure of the Port Augusta coal stations Repower Port Augusta and the Australian Services Union SA/NT have expressed solidarity with former power station workers and are calling on the Weatherill Government to bring a new future to Port Augusta by using its power purchase to support building a new solar thermal plant with storage.
“Working at the power station was the best job I ever had and I know many of my colleagues would say the same. It’s a year on since the coal was turned off so we think it’s about time the Premier made solar thermal happen to back a new future for our town” Gary Rowbottom, former power station worker and chairperson of Repower Port Augusta said.
“The lives of all of us changed this time last year. Now, our community is looking to the future and with the Premier’s support we can become a clean energy powerhouse for SA” Mr Rowbottom said.
The Australian Services Union says lessons need to be learnt from the closure of the Port Augusta power station and a national plan for a just transition must be put in place.
“Port Augusta and the power station workers were denied the opportunity for a just transition by private companies. Backing solar thermal is the Premier’s opportunity to correct some of this while backing on-demand clean energy and new jobs for our state” Joseph Scales, Secretary of the Australian Services Union SA/NT branch said.
“Nationally, we want to see a plan that supports workers with a just transition as Australia acts on climate change. There’s no doubt we need to act but workers deserve to be treated with respect along the way” Mr Scales said.
Companies proposing to build solar thermal in Port Augusta say 1000 jobs would be created during construction and 50 ongoing jobs. Solar thermal uses molten salt to store heat and spin a steam turbine providing solar power day and night as well as network support to the grid.
For media inquiries:
Dan Spencer, Repower Port Augusta 0423 865 632
Joseph Scales, ASU SA/NT 0429 033 210