Despite Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) claims in today’s Australian, India is not seeking to “get away from its reliance on fossil fuels.”
In fact, the best part of the ACF’s opinion piece was its reference to the IPA’s June paper which found that increasing Australian coal exports to India would allow at least 82 million extra people each year to access a safe and reliable supply of electricity.
India’s power capacity has quadrupled over the past twenty five years and is expected to more than triple again over the next fifteen as it tries to get over 300 million people on to the electricity grid. This massive increase in electricity demand and plans for India to become a manufacturing powerhouse is not going to be met by localised renewables.
While India aims to have 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity (note that this is capacity, not output) by the early 2020s, the International Energy Agency has found that India will also build an additional 342 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity capacity by 2040, and become the world’s second largest coal-fired power producer behind China.
Yes, more than 2,000 people died in this year’s tragic heatwave, but less people would have died if they had access to air conditioning, refrigerated medicines and better quality housing.
Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg’s recent comments on coal appear to have put the environmental movement into a state of shock, derailing its plans for a crescendo of one-way propaganda in the lead-up to the Paris climate change talks.
If the Indian market had no interest in Australian coal, then Indian companies wouldn’t be coming to Australia to develop mines – and environmentalists wouldn’t be so desperate to lock them out. The solutions to energy poverty are complex but are not advanced by unilaterally banning electricity from selected sources.