KATOOMBA, Sat 3 Mar: While recent drizzle at Echo Point slowed production of electricity from the visitor centre’s 10kW solar PV system, a group of hardy local residents braved the weather to launch a campaign promoting large scale solar electricity generation.
Local environment groups are calling on Federal MP, Louise Markus, to get behind the Let’s Build Big Solar campaign as well as supporting the government’s proposed $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which will provide loan guarantees necessary to get large scale solar power up and running in Australia.
“Australia is the sunniest continent on earth, so it makes sense that we use this vast resource to provide us with large amounts of safe, clean, renewable electricity,” said Sue Morrison, President of Katoomba Area Climate Action Now.
“The installation of more than 1,000 megawatts of solar PV on household, school and commercial rooftops across Australia has delayed the need for new polluting power stations, but we need large scale solar electricity generation with storage if we want to avoid continuing reliance on polluting fossil fuels”.
Australia’s largest solar power facility is the 3 MW solar thermal concentrator attached to Liddell coal-fired power station near Singleton, where construction is underway to double its solar capacity, but this is tiny compared to concentrating solar power stations in Spain, Germany and California, where molten salt is used to store heat for power production throughout the night.
“We are way behind other countries in taking advantage of our abundant renewable energy sources,” said Ms Morrison.
“Spain’s 20MW Gemasolar concentrating solar power station is already generating 24 hour power for 25,000 households, with construction underway to power a further 70,000 households, creating thousands of local jobs.
“Germany installed more than 7,500MW of solar PV last year alone – equivalent to 50 Moree Solar farms, one of the large scale projects proposed for funding under the government’s Solar Flagships program.
“While the cost of polluting fossil fuels will only rise as global demand increases, renewable electricity gets cheaper as the industry expands – California is already buying solar power at prices which compare favourably with coal and wind.”
Together with similar groups across Australia, Katoomba Area Climate Action Now will be polling local residents over the next two months to gauge the level of support for big solar. Poll results will be presented to local MPs in their electorates and in Canberra.
More information is available from http://100percent.org.au/bigsolar