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Australia or Germany: two ways to develop RES

Or Germany: two ways to develop

While Australia limits the share of c sources in its market, the most powerful economics of the European Union acts in the opposite way.

Lately, Germany has increased the power of its solar wind and hydropower stations by half, thus, having created an economic power center. At the same time, Australian authorities act more cautiously.

According to the agreement, concluded by the parliamentary coalition and the Labor Party, and passed through the Senate, the share of RES electricity by 2020 is to reach 33,000 gigawatts instead of the planned 41,000 gigawatts. All this happens against the background of an increase in the share of RES in Germany.

Last year, the share of alternative sources of energy, such as: wind, solar power and small hydro power plants, accounted for 27.8% of the total energy generation. But the government plans to increase this ratio to 40% - 45% by 2020 and up to 80% by 2050.

Does this mean that Australia has decided to lose its pioneering lead in this industry or has the German government made a risky bet on new technologies, designed to increase the competitiveness of its industry and increase exports?

Australian fears are based more on the fact that the national energy market has been supplied with cheap coal for a long time, and the cost of reduction of the level of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere in a resource-dependent economy is very high.

The German policy is based on desire for a phased reduction of the operating power units during the next decade. In addition, coal reserves of the country mainly consist of brown coal and depend on imports of bituminous coals.

Energy Program Director at the Grattan Institute, Tony Wood, supposes that the cardinal differences in the policies of Australia and Germany do not indicate the correctness of one and the incorrectness of the other, equally meeting international agreements to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

The question is, which of the ways to solve the problem will be more efficient. If Australia achieves its goals, reducing the share of RES, this will be a good solution.

At the same time, Mr. Wood notes, that Germany can benefit by accelerating the development of technologies, that can simultaneously provide both the increase of electricity generation and the reduction in emissions to the atmosphere. Australia is more like a technology buyer. "When solar energy is cheap, we will take care of it," the Australian government says. But John Connor, the head of the Institute for Climate Studies, draws attention to the fact that Australia is the only country that reduces the share of RES.

The arguments of each of the parties will be considered in the most detailed way at the conference on climate change, which is to be held in December this year in Paris, but now we can say that reducing requirements can be fatal both for the Australian economy and its climate.

For this reason the Australian government is already observing strong diplomatic pressure from the governments of EU countries. For example, the French government has already claimed that Tony Abbott is making problems in the negotiations on this issue, while German officials speak of him as a "black sheep". This criticism can be both relaxed and strengthened, depending on what statement the Australian government will make next month.

Simultaneously, there is a stormy debate about the future use of coal in both countries, which is still a key source of energy in generating electricity.

In particular, the share of coal in the German energy market is 40%, and in the energy market of Australia - 70%. At the same time, the number of German coal-fired power plants has increased significantly over the past seven years. The last of them, with a capacity of 800 megawatts, was opened in March of this year near the city of Hamburg. The result was an increase in the level of carbon dioxide emissions by 7 percent between 2008 and 2013. It is noteworthy, that the ambitious plans of the German government to cut emissions by 22 million tons gave rise to criticism of trade unions concerned about the possible shortening jobs.

Another problem is  backing by the German energy sector. The support for the green tariff here takes more than 20 billion euros per year, and the instability of alternative energy sources requires additional costs for network modernization. In response, the supporters of the renewable energy are paying attention to reducing the cost of electricity. For example, one kilowatt produced on wind farms decreased in price by 3 euro cents, and solar power plants reduced prices from 56 euro cents per kilowatt / hour to 11 euro cents.

As we see, Germany and Australia proceeded from the same prerequisites, which led to different methods of solution. Both countries have tried to reduce energy costs and improve the environment. Unfortunately, such factors as the general increase of electricity in the cost, as well as the decrease of energy consumption weren’t taken into account, which led to  massive closure of aluminum plants in Australia and the spread of individual PV systems. Thus, RES has given the rise to an increase in generation in the market with excessive supply, and whereas Germany can export surplus, now Australia does not have such an opportunity.

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Australia or Germany: two ways to develop RES


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Views: 1195 Added: 15-06-2017