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India, Australia Collaborate on Low Emission Technologies

Image credit: MinOfPower; Twitter

India and Australia have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to drive down the cost of new and renewable energy technologies and scale up the manufacturing of ultra-low-cost solar and clean hydrogen. The LoI was signed during the fourth India-Australia Energy Dialogue by the Australian Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister, Angus Taylor, and India’s Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, Raj Kumar Singh.

The LoI is part of the Australian government’s $565.8 million commitment to support new international partnerships that make low emissions technologies cheaper and drive investment in Australia-based projects to create up to 2,500 jobs. It is Australia’s sixth bilateral low emissions technology partnership, following agreements with Germany, Singapore, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Under the agreement, the two sides will work on energy efficiency technologies, grid management, and research and development collaboration on flue gas desulphurisation, biomass or hydrogen co-firing, water cycle optimisation, renewables integration, batteries, and electric mobility.

According to the Australian Minister, the partnership reflected each country’s respective strengths and the government’s commitment to working with like-minded partners on low emissions technologies. More than 90% of solar cells globally use Australian technology. Over the next ten years, India will be one of the largest adopters of solar technology in the world and Australian innovators are well-placed to tap into this market. Ultra-low-cost solar and clean hydrogen technologies are priorities under Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap. The roadmap is expected to inform around $18 billion of government investment in the decade to 2030 and produce $70 billion of new investment in low emissions technologies.

Australia said it would work with India to strengthen industry and research links between the countries and unlock new economic opportunities. At the same time, it will remain a supplier of coal and other traditional resources commodities to India. The two sides will also continue to collaborate through the Quad, G20, UNFCCC, and the International Solar Alliance on the development and deployment of low emissions technologies in our region and across the globe.

The agreement follows the meeting between Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the margins of QUAD discussions held in September 2021, where both leaders committed to progress a partnership.

During India’s Budget 2022 session, the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, announced the government would allocate ₹195 billion (US$2.5 billion) to promote the domestic manufacturing of high-efficiency solar modules and make energy audits of commercial buildings mandatory to boost energy saving company (ESCo) business. The additional PLI allocation is expected to help set up 30-35GW of solar module capacity and 25-30GW of cell capacity by 2024 as the country targets a 280GW solar capacity by 2030. The move will reduce dependence on imports, which stand at 90% for cells and 75-80% for modules currently. Further, the Budget proposal of mandatory 5-7% co-firing of biomass pellets in coal power plants will reduce emissions and could curb stubble burning, saving an estimated 38 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

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