Australia’s first solar towers are not yet built, but they have a name

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The construction of what could be Australia’s first stand alone solar thermal power station has not even been agreed, but it has been named.

The pro-renewable group Beyond Zero Emissions – which is pushing for the construction of solar towers at Port Augusta to replace the ageing and polluting brown coal generators in that town – is suggesting that the new facility be named after the town’s mayor, Joy Baluch, who died of lung cancer last week.

Baluch was one of the driving forces behind the campaign for solar thermal technology in that region, a crusade that was driven by her family’s own experiences with illnesses connected to pollution from the local coal power plant.

As we reported earlier this month, Alinta is applying to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for funds to conduct a detailed feasibility study – and to help it decide if its better going for a stand-alone CST plant with storage, or a hybrid facility. Solar tower technology is one of the options, along with parabolic troughs, or linear fresnel technology.

“We do realize that they have not actually agreed to build the plant yet,” said Matthew Grantham, from BZE. “But if they did finally replace Playford A and Playford B then we think that Baluch One and Baluch Two would be a fitting tribute to an incredible lady.”

RenewEconomy agrees. Baluch One and Baluch Two – it has a certain ring to it. We hope Alinta Energy agrees too. Perhaps it could be a condition of CEFC or ARENA financing!  

  • Names?
    The Port Augusta/Leigh Creek operation had a few names over the last
    few decades. It was ETSA, it became ETSA Corporation,SA Power and
    Water Authority, Optima Energy, Flinders Power, NRG Flinders,
    Babcock&Brown and now it is called for time being Alinta Energy.
    If there is going to be some sort of tax payer funded investment in
    solar power, it would make far more sense to have such operation in
    Leigh Creek. At the site of the Leigh Creek Coalfield, large areas of
    land could be utilised for such purposes. There is already an
    existing high voltage power line to Port Augusta and such an
    investment would be far more important for the the region if placed
    in Leigh Creek. It is very important for the Northern Flinders Ranges
    that some commercial activity remains in Leigh Creek to support the
    Area School and local medical facilities. Port Augusta is a city
    which will grow with or without an investment by the public. Leigh
    Creek should survive and remain a centre for the north-Eastern part
    of South Australia.