Adani, Adani, Adani, where art thou Adani? This is the relentless love-cry of the conservatives wishing to prolong the coal extraction and export industry in Australia forever. Whilst Abbott and Turnbull may have had differences in governance, their ties to the coal industry essentially seem a united front.
Meanwhile back in Canberra the Monash Forum backbenchers are preaching the same old dogma that coal exports are an infinite resource, and that Australia’s economic prosperity is based on the commodity of coal deep into the foreseeable future.
In the long-term view, never have they been so wrong!
Renewable energy installations are flourishing at an unpredictable rate all across the globe. The world’s major developing economies such as China and India are increasing their independency by slowing their coal imports and constructing massive renewable energy production within their own countries.
Asia’s former prediction of coal energy demand targets are not being met due to environmental factors, and the cheaper alternatives of renewables.
China is currently the largest renewable energy producer in the world. India has been dragging its footsteps in the past … though now they are set to build some of the world’s largest solar installations, and are racing towards leading their country out of the dark days of coal dependency.
China still has the world’s largest, a 1547 megawatt solar park in its desert region, yet half of the world’s 10 largest solar energy parks under current construction are in India.
Also on the drawing board is a massive 5000MW solar park along the gulf of Khambat in Gujarat. Solar rooftop installations are expanding in India with a 19MW system already constructed on an educational campus in Punjab, which is world’s largest such installation.
India is targeting an operational capacity of 100,000 Megawatts of solar power by 2022. That is 5 times the current capacity, and aims at an overall energy capacity of 175,000 MW soon after.
This spike in activity has made solar energy cheaper than coal-based power so there is no incentive for India to continue to import coal.
The Adani export resource
Given the global trend to produce massive renewable energy installations based on climate-aware consciousness and basic economics, the future demand for coal exports looks bleak for investors.
Coal shipped to India is about 13% of Australia’s total coal exports, and that is likely to decline significantly in the next few years as India has made a claim that they are not intending to import any coal from Australia within a decade.
So where is the Adani anticipated coal market?
Japan has increased their coal imports since the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster, yet that may be only a tempory measure as it looks to import power west from Asia.
Coal for power generation globally may have reached its highest point, and therefore Australia’s exports are not likely to increase enough to justify more massive coal mines.
The Adani Carmichael mine is not Australia’s answer to economic growth. In fact the infrastructure subsidies and the $ billion taxpayer loan for the mine are likely to provide nothing but a financial burden to our economy, particularly if construction is completed without a binding commitment to extract the coal.
The Adani mine, come white elephant, should be considered a high financial risk to this country.
Australia’s use of coal is on the decline, and considering 65% of our power stations will be over 40 years old by 2030 and in need of decommissioning, coal mining is set to almost stand still as there is presently no new plants proposed for construction.
This was acknowledged in the Finkel Review.
Coal production & employment figures since 1984
Despite coal production being at its highest level in recent times, employment figures appear to declining.
Coal has no long-term future for Australia both in economic exports and employment.
Based on what has occurred in the coal mining industry in places like the United Kingdom and America then the future of the industry looks fickle and unreliable in the face of the renewable energy revolution.
So why can’t Australian politicians see that placing all their eggs into one basket without looking into the future is visionless?
And the alarming issues regarding climate change, and local environmental impacts from mining and burning coal hasn’t even been mentioned here!
Ted Mead is convinced that Australian politicians are some of the most insular ostriches in the world. This is the 21st century, yet the doctrine in this country is still stuck in the dig it up, chop it down, send it offshore syndrome. Jobs, jobs, jobs is their mantra, however the decimation of our manufacturing industry has just pushed our politicians heads further under the sand in the belief that the commodity market will last forever as it will keep the economy sailing into a shining prosperous future.