The Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy for the South Australian Government, Tom Koutsantonis, announced the establishment of a select committee to assess the feasibility of concentrated solar thermal power plants. The motion was originally moved by opposition member for Stuart, Dan van Holst Pellekaan the shadow minister for Regional Development.

The SA government agreed to the committee because of their support to renewable energy targets, currently set at 33% by 2020. The committee will investigate feasibility for the replacement of two coal-fired power stations in Port Augusta with concentrated solar, and whether these could supply the state’s power requirements in the future.

This committee has also been established in light of the “Repower Port Augusta” movement, which has called for replacement of the existing coal-fired power stations with solar plants.

For the next two months the committee will receive submissions from the public and research viability of solar power, reporting back to parliament with the findings. Solar thermal systems operate through generating heat which is used to drive turbines and produce electricity.