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Australia commits to wind energy after Paris deal

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Wind energy

Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday overturned a decision by his predecessor to ban government investment in wind power.

Earlier this year, the former prime minister announced a controversial ban on wind farm investment, in what was labelled a war on clean energy in favor of dirtier forms of power such as coal, Xinhua news agency reported.

But on Monday, a cabinet spokesperson said a decision to allow the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) the right to invest in wind power reflected the Turnbull government’s “strong support for renewable and innovation”.

“The mandate puts the CEFC’s focus on new and emerging renewable technologies, rather than supporting well-established technologies that are financially viable without government support,” the spokesperson said.

The news comes on the back of the widely successful climate talk in Paris, where Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop agreed to Australia becoming one of nearly 200 countries committed to ending the era of fossil fuels.

Last week, Turnbull also revealed his government’s commitment to encouraging innovation and small business, and according to a statement released on Monday, noting that clean energy such as the wind is crucial to the future of innovation in Australia.

Kane Thornton, chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, also praised the decision, telling The Guardian that Abbott’s “war on wind” was a step back, whereas the talks in Paris and Turnbull’s support for innovation was a giant leap forward for clean energy in Australia. (IANS)

(Photo: cleantechnica.com)

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India Plans to Invest $330 Billion to Power Renewable Energy by 2030 Without Hurting Coal

India wants to have 175 GW of renewable-based installed power capacity by 2022

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renewable energy
FILE - Workers clean photovoltaic panels at a solar power plant in Gujarat, India, July 2, 2015. VOA

India said on Thursday it needs $330 billion in investments over the next decade to power its renewable energy dream, but coal would remain central to its electricity generation.

The energy guzzling country wants to raise its renewable energy capacity to 500 Gigawatts (GW), or 40% of total capacity, by 2030. Renewables currently account for 22% of India’s total installed capacity of about 357 GW.

“Additional investments in renewable plants up to year 2022 would be about $80 billion at today’s prices and an investment of around $250 billion would be required for the period 2023-2030,” according to the government’s economic survey presented to parliament on Thursday. India wants to have 175 GW of renewable-based installed power capacity by 2022.

renewable energy
Solar-powered smart windows can help you save energy costs. Pixabay

The investment estimate reflects the magnitude of financial challenges facing one of the world’s most important growth markets for renewable energy, with government data indicating a growth slowdown in private and capital investments in the year ended March 2019.

India, which receives twice as much sunshine as European countries, wants to make solar a cornerstone of its renewable expansion, but also wants to make use of its cheap and abundant coal reserves, the fifth-largest in the world.

The annual economic survey warned India against abruptly halting coal-based utilities, citing risks to its banking sector and the stability of the electricity grid.

“It may not be advisable to effect a sudden abandonment of coal based power plants without complete utilization of their useful lifetimes as it would lead to stranding of assets that can have further adverse impact on the banking sector,” the survey said.

renewable energy
India wants to have 175 GW of renewable-based installed power capacity by 2022. VOA

Thermal power plants account for 80% of all industrial emissions of particulate matter, sulfur and nitrous oxides in India. India, one of the world’s largest coal producers and greenhouse gas emitters, estimates coal to be its energy mainstay for at least the next three decades. The country’s coal use rose 9.1% to nearly a billion tons in 2018-19.

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The survey said it would be difficult for a growing economy like India to migrate to renewable power supply unless “sufficient technological breakthrough in energy storage happens in the near future”.

Environmentalists worry that India’s rising use of coal at a time when many Western nations are rejecting the dirty fossil fuel will hamper the global fight against climate change, despite the country’s commitment to renewable energy. (VOA)