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Australia commits to wind energy after Paris deal

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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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Belgium is set to use wind energy to power trains

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Brussels: Belgium has launched an ambitious project to power 170 trains by wind energy — and the first seven of the planned 25 turbines entered service on Saturday, local media reported on Sunday.

Sudpresse newspaper group said turbines will be built along the main rail line from Leuven to Liege, generating enough power for every high-speed and local train using the line.

The number of trains to be covered by the wind energy project represents about five percent of the country’s total rail traffic, Belgian rail-track operator Infrabel said.

Belgian broadcaster RTL reported that once all 25 turbines are operating, they are expected to produce 35,000 megawatt hours — enough energy to power 10,000 homes. About two-thirds of the produced electricity is needed for the rail line and the surplus will be added to the domestic electricity supply grid.

Philippe Van Troeye, production director at Belgian energy firm Electrabel, told reporters on Saturday: “Wind energy, like solar power, is intermittent, but it will play a more and more important role in our energy provision in the future.”

(IANS)

(Photo: openrtn.wordpress.com)

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