ASIA

Australia-China energy partnership moving ahead

AN Australian Government mission to China this week has delivered 11 new joint projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance climate change expertise and adaptation in both countries. Meanwhile, Tasmanian renewable energy company Roaring 40s and its Chinese partner opened a major wind farm in northern China on Tuesday.

Australia-China energy partnership moving ahead

Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell, in Beijing this week, said the projects, valued at more than $4 million, would be worth much more to the environment.

“Four of the projects aim to reduce the methane escaping from coal mines by capturing it and turning it into electricity,” he said.

“These projects use new technology and techniques to reduce greenhouse emissions from mining operations, while also improving coal mine safety.

“Other projects will help our agricultural industries adapt to climate change.”

Campbell said one of the projects would research the performance of important crops when there were higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, while another would look at the link between monsoon systems in rainfall and drying trends.

The 11 projects comprise:

  • Assisting the promotion and implementation of Chinese renewable energy law, supported by government investment of $240,000;
  • The exchange and cooperation on energy efficiency standards, supported by government investment of $450,000;
  • A Ventilation Air Methane Catalytic Combustion Gas Turbine (VAM-CAT) – developed by the CSIRO to safely extract and capture the methane from coal mine ventilation air and use it to generate electricity – supported by government investment of $1.04 million;
  • A study on maximisation of coal mine methane capture, supported by government investment of $780,000;
  • A study on coal mine methane resources and potential project development, supported by government investment of $570,000;
  • Exploration of options for the generation of electricity from coal methane in China, supported by government investment of $131,500;
  • A study on the responses of wheat and soybean to elevated CO2 concentrations in China, supported by government investment of $420,000;
  • Local capacity building in China to respond to climate change, supported by government investment of $220,000;
  • A modelling study on energy and emission scenarios for the Asia-Pacific region, supported by government investment of $265,000;
  • Research on rainfall and climate change in both China and Australia, supported by government investment of $590,000; and
  • Whole-of-system assessment of methane emission abatement from the beef/dairy production system and simulation modelling, supported by government investment of $280,400.
  • Campbell said the partnership was focused on practical actions that would make a real difference.

    “These projects will benefit both countries by improving our knowledge of climate change and helping us to develop and deploy new technologies to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

    Senator Campbell and China’s National Development and Reform Commission vice-chairman, Jiang Weixin, signed a statement of intent yesterday, which provides the framework for future cooperation.

    Meanwhile, Campbell also officiated at the Shuangliao wind energy installation yesterday.

    The 49-megawatt installation is expected to supply enough energy to power about 30,000 homes and save up to 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

    China’s renewable energy uptake is continuing to boom as it looks for ways to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

    Its population of 1.3 billion contributes 14.8% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, compared with Australia’s 1.46%, according to the Australian Government.

    Campbell said China was an economic powerhouse that had an enormous demand for energy.

    “By 2020, total grid-connected wind power in China is expected to be about 30GW [gigawatts], which are more than enough to power the equivalent of every household in Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

    “Climate change is a global challenge that needs countries to work together to develop and deploy low emission technologies.

    “It will require partnerships between governments and industries and I’m currently leading this renewable energy business mission to China to help forge such partnerships.”

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