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SA govt slams calls to reopen coal plant

AAP logoAAP 14/10/2016

South Australia's energy minister has ridiculed a call from the federal government and state Liberals to reopen a coal-fired power station to improve energy security.

Tom Koutsantonis says restarting the Northern Power Station in Port Augusta, owned by Flinders Power, would be akin to resurrecting the whaling industry to light street lamps.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan and state Liberal energy Dan van Holst Pellekaan said on Friday the Weatherill government should consider reopening the plant to prevent more blackouts in the state

"To not even entertain discussions is grossly irresponsible," Mr Canavan told ABC radio on Friday.

Mr Koutsantonis said the Liberals wanted to return to a previous century.

"They are so addicted to coal they are willing to use taxpayer money to subsidise it so this industry, which is in rapid decline around the country, can continue to operate," he said in a statement.

He said the state and federal Liberals should instead focus on reforming the National Electricity Market so it better integrates renewable energy.

An alliance of community, council and business groups near the Northern Power Station, which closed May, said the area's age of coal burning was over.

The Repower Port Augusta alliance has been calling for a solar thermal plant to replace the station, which is being stripped of parts and prepared for demolition.

"Let's not waste time looking at reopening the coal station which is never going to happen and focus on securing a long-term solution by building solar thermal in Port Augusta," spokesman Dan Spencer said.

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