Not long back, Port Augusta had a thirty-one year old coal plant generating 520 MW. The Premier could have spent $30 million to keep it going through this anti-coal political era. Instead he blew it up and is spending millions to buy electricity at twice the price, under contract for 20 years.
The $650 million Aurora Solar Plant will produce 150 MW of solar power (on a good day). Per megawatt, this solar power is twice the price of coal fired power. The old Hazelwood coal plant supplied electricity at around $30 per MWh; the solar price is $72 per MWh. …
Solar power is supposed to be competitive with coal, but no private company seems to keen to do this. In this case, the company is getting a signed up buyer for around 80% of its product, and for 20 years. …
To put this in perspective $650 million dollars is around $400 per man, woman and child in SA, over the next ten or twenty years, to appease the climate Gods. The exact cost is hard to calculate at this stage. But the government of SA will be the one sole major customer, effectively paying off the solar farm, but won’t own it in the end.
The original Northern Coal Power station employed 250 people. The new solar one will give 700 people a pointless but paid position for three years, after which, only 50 people will have a job at the solar plant, and countless others will be out of work as more businesses close down in South Australia due to the price of electricity.
Praise flows in:
- The Australian Services Union hailed Mr Weatherill as “the unequivocal international leader for clean energy generation”.
- Independent SA senator Nick Xenophon and Pt. Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson said the deal will be “transformational”.
It will be “transformational” like a dose of Dengue Fever.
The solar plant is not baseload power, despite what its backers say. Yes it has an 8 hour battery — but that’s not enough.