Why man despised for his massive coal mine is now talking up green energy

Gautam Adani, the founder and chairman of the company building Queensland’s controversial Carmichael coal mine, says renewable electricity would effectively cost nothing to produce and that hydrogen energy had a momentum that was near impossible to stop.

Jun 08, 2020, updated Jun 09, 2020
Gautum Adani with former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Gautum Adani with former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Adani’s Australian company has faced eight years of protests, court action and political opposition to stop the mine going ahead because of its potential to open up a massive new coal basin in Queensland and the impact that would have on climate change. Construction is now under way and first coal is expected to be mined next year.

The project also had a major impact on politics. The Queensland Labor Government was forced to backflip on its support for the mine and federally the issue of coal mining in general – and the Carmichael mine in particular – swung seats to the Coalition at the last election.

But in a LinkedIn post, Adani said he expected renewable prices to drop by an additional 99 per cent over the next 40 years – “probably reducing the marginal cost of electricity to zero”.

“Such a reduction, in turn, will mean the coexistence of two business models – one based on fossil fuels and the other driven by renewables – both supplementing each other in the near future but the pendulum swinging decidedly in favour of renewables in the long-term”.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic presented the opportunity for a new and faster transition to a low carbon future.

“Although the impact of climate change is slower to emerge than a pandemic, its threat to humanity is more significant.,” he said.

“Therefore, the case of the transition to a cleaner energy future must be taken up not only by governments but also by industry. India is quietly and firmly leading the way. COVID-19 may be the turning point where society leverages the economic rebuilding effort to fast track the transition to a cleaner future.”

While Adani is known in Australia for the Carmichael mine, it also owns the Rugby Run solar farm, near Moranbah and is a major renewables company in its home country of India, where it is also a major producer of solar panels.

“The adage that renewables are good for the environment, but bad for business is increasingly a thing of the past,” he said.

InQueensland in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“Today, we see an accelerating trend where policies facilitated by governments, public awareness and support for action on climate change, and the economies of scale continue to create massive market demand and job creation through renewables while simultaneously addressing the energy security for countries dependent on energy imports.

“The predominant storage technology on the horizon appears to be hydrogen.

“With the prospect of the future marginal cost of renewable energy dropping precipitously, green hydrogen produced by the splitting water could be the game-changer.”

He said the fact that the energy density of a kilogram of hydrogen was almost three times that of gasoline and you have a momentum that would be near impossible to stop as hydrogen fuel cell vehicle prices come down.

The hydrogen industry has predicted that it could attract $70 billion of investment over the next decade.

“Expenditure on such a scale could disrupt as well as create several industries in ways hard to predict,” Adani said.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy