Australia’s First Solar Towers Are Not Yet Built, But They Have A Name

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This article first appeared on RenewEconomy.

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.

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“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!

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Giles Parkinson

is the founding editor of, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.

Giles Parkinson has 596 posts and counting. See all posts by Giles Parkinson