India, Australia agree to power energy relations to new heights
India and Australia on Wednesday agreed on enhancing cooperation in clean coal technology, renewable power and LNG in a bid to meet the burgeoning demand for cheap and environment-friendly energy in one of the fastest growing emerging economies. Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday met Minister for Resource, Energy and Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg on the last day of the India-Australia Energy Dialogue.
The Dialogue seeks to build a strong relationship as well as strengthen institutional framework between the countries across all segments of the energy value chain. Speaking to reporters, Goyal said the energy dialogue has concluded today with Frydenberg resolving to further the ties between the countries in energy, renewable energy, technology & innovation and skill development.
“Today’s meeting was very productive, very constructive and held in a very friendly manner... One of the initiatives that we agreed in today’s meeting is to make an annual dialogue and that it would rotate between our two countries. So, I look forward to visiting India to continue these discussions next year,” Frydenberg said in a joint press conference held at the Australian Parliament here.
The two countries also talked about Free Trade Area (FTA), Adani Group’s investment in Australia and the ties that the countries share at various levels, he added. Appreciating Australia’s efforts in expanding the energy dialogue to cover more issues, Goyal said: “We have also been able to focus the dialogue to outcomes”.
He said that he pushed for more active engagement in the area of skill development and bringing Australian expertise on mine safety and efficiency in mining to India. “The (Australian) Minister was the most cooperative and supportive,” Goyal said.
“Australian government’s commitment is truly exciting as I can see energy becoming probably the most important and defining part of our engagement with Australia in the years to come, particularly when they have some wonderful work on expanding LNG production in the last few years. They are also probably the first country to focus on renewable energy. About 40 years back the University of New South Wales started research in photo voltaic cells. So, clearly Australia has a leadership position in the energy space and across the entire value chain from fuels to generating capacity to improving capacity and grid management,” Goyal said.
Several decisions have been made during the course of this dialogue, one of which is to institutionalise this as an annual dialogue, Goyal said. “We have broadly agreed to have five working groups to take humongous challenge that scaling up this engagement entails. The officials will sit up and work out the miner details,” he added.
These five working groups will broadly focus on coal mining, efficient coal mining, clean coal technologies, etc. Then there is the issue of petroleum products like LNG, efficiency of re-gasification plants and associated equipment related to petroleum and natural gas, Goyal said. “Number three is renewable energy, it’s new scientific developments and large scale roll out. Then we are looking at coal gas, coal gasification, coal bed methane (CBM), all forms of providing more gas out of coal,” he added.
India is also looking at carbon capture and sequestration, carbon capture and storage so that coal is used more efficiently, either in the form of gas or by removing the carbon out of that and making it clean, the minister said. Finally the fifth group will consider smart grids, grid integration, all issues related to technology in the energy sector, he added.
On the trade agreement between India and Australia, Frydenberg said: “This is a question for our Prime Ministers... We very much want an agreement with India. We see India as not just a strategic and political partner for Australia, but a vital economic partner.
“When you see that the strength of the India economy growing at more than 7 per cent last year and continuing to grow strongly in the years ahead, Australia wants to be a part of that Indian express.”
Oz ‘fully supports’ eco-unfriendly Adani Carmichael coal project
Australia will support Adani Group’s USD 16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine and rail project in Queensland state that will provide power to 100 million Indians, Australia Resources and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said on Wednesday. Frydenberg said that even the state government and the Federal Opposition are in support of the project, which is expected to attract billions of dollars in investment. “All the commonwealth approvals have been granted. There are some state approvals, which are awaiting conclusion. The state government and the federal government as well as the federal opposition, all support the Carmichael project,” he told reporters after a meeting with Power Minister Piyush Goyal.
The Carmichael coal, railway and port project includes building Australia’s largest thermal coal mine in the north Galilee Basin approximately 160 km northwest of Clermont in Central Queensland, linked by a new 388 km standard gauge rail line to a new terminal at Abbot Point Port near Bowen. Goyal is leading a delegation to Australia for the India-Australia Energy Dialogue. He is in the capital city meeting Frydenberg and Investment and Trade Minister Andrew Robb. This is a project, which will create thousands of jobs, worth billions of dollars in investment and importantly will provide energy and electricity to 100 million Indians, Frydenberg added. “Though it’s a very important project, it’s important for the relationship we are looking forward to going with,” he noted. The group led by Gautam Adani plans to build one of the world’s largest coal mines in Australia along with a railway line and a port to shop coal to India.