PORTUGAL, GERMANY, AUSTRALIA MOVE TO EXIT COAL, CUT EMISSIONS
Portugal, Germany, and Australia have taken measures this past week to achieve ambitious emissions reduction goals. On January 28, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced that a hydroelectric project under construction in northern Portugal will replace all power lost from the closing of the country’s final coal plants. The project, called the Tamega complex, will generate enough energy to supply 2 million homes. Portugal aims to close all coal plants by 2023 (Reuters).
On January 29, the German cabinet backed a deal worth more than $44 billion with coal-mining regions to compensate workers, companies, and governments as it shuts down coal plants (Reuters). In Germany and many other countries, eliminating coal has required huge investments to assist economies that remain heavily dependent on coal (New York Times). German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the package would ensure that “the structural changes needed succeed.” Germany previously announced a goal of eliminating coal by 2038 (Reuters).
Australia’s government recently announced a $1.4 billion joint funding agreement with the state of New South Wales to promote natural gas supply and reduce emissions. As part of the deal, Australia will upgrade parts of the east coast power grid, fund two new interstate transmission links, and support emissions reduction efforts. The New South Wales government will in turn supply more natural gas for its east coast market. The deal marks the first in a series with Australian states to achieve emission reductions and clean energy goals (The Guardian). Currently, 70% of Australia’s power sector relies on coal (Reuters).