Adani opens Queensland solar farm and says it’s proof it “gets climate change”

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Adani uses official opening of Queensland Rugby Run solar farm to stress that it “gets” climate change. Meanwhile, over in the Galilee Basin…

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Rugby Run solar project. Source: Adani Renewables.
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Global energy giant Adani Resources might be developing one of the world’s biggest carbon bombs next to Queensland’s critically endangered Great Barrier Reef as the world teeters on the brink of a global warming catastrophe – but don’t worry, it says it totally “gets” climate change.

That’s what the CEO of Adani Australia, Lucas Dow, assured the Queensland press on Thursday ahead of the official opening of the company’s first grid-connected large-scale solar farm in Australia, the 65MW Rugby Run project near Moranbah.

The solar farm – situated just a few hundred kilometres east of the massive Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin – started generating earlier this year, after enduring a six-month wait for grid connection.

Not such a long time considering Adani has hung in there for years navigating the environmental approvals process for its huge thermal coal mine; but long enough for the company to reportedly rethink its future solar plans in Australia.

Nevertheless, Dow said Adani was “very excited” to demonstrate that when his company was “given a clear run” and the opportunity to get on and build and deliver projects, that’s exactly what it did.

“People are often surprised when we say we’re in the renewables business but the reality is that we recognise the world needs a reliable and affordable energy mix of both coal and renewables in order to meet current and future global energy demand,” he told The Courier-Mail.

“That’s why we’re putting our money where our mouth is, and we walk the walk around this rather than just virtue-signalling or lip service.”

Rugby Run illustrated, Dow said, that Adani “understood climate change.”

“To put it in perspective,” he added, “our global [renewables] portfolio is 2,385MW… enough to power the state of South Australia.”

Cool. But  on the other hand:

– Adani’s thermal power portfolio adds up to more than five times that amount, at 12,410MW.

– According to a 2015 report from The Australia Institute, digging up and burning the 2.3 billion tonnes of coal contained in the deposit at Queensland’s Galilee Basin would effectively cancel out the pledged annual emission reductions of Australia, and for New Zealand nearly 10 times over – and that is before Australia signed up to the Paris Climate agreement.

– According to a scientific report published in Nature Communications just this month, governments will need to close most of the world’s coal-fired power stations by 2030, and place a halt on the construction of new coal generators, if there is any hope to successfully limit global warming to around 1.5°C.

As Michael Mazengarb reported, researchers found that a majority of the global coal generator fleet would need to close by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement targets, with a reduction of 60 per cent of coal emissions needed by 2030, and an almost complete phase-out of coal use by 2050.

With this perspective, it’s difficult to swallow what Adani is dishing up on renewables, coal and climate. But then what can we expect from a global energy conglomerate when Australia’s own federal government still does not “get” climate change?

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