The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is forecasting a crippling 1 gigawatt energy shortfall in 2022, as Australia’s coal power plants begin to shut down, potentially leading to electric power shortages and rising prices for consumers. In particular, the proposed closure of the Liddell coal-fired power station in 2022 will materially increase the risk of blackouts in the state of New South Wales. The agency is also concerned an unexpected outage at a major natural gas or coal plant in the states of South Australia or Victoria could plunge both states into darkness. AEMO estimates the likelihood of blackouts in South Australia this summer at between 26 and 33%. The likelihood of an electricity shortfall in Victoria is between 39% and 43%. South Australia is highly dependent on renewable energy (wind, solar) for its electricity. The agency said:

“The balance of supply and demand in Victoria and South Australia is sufficiently tight that the extended unavailability of any further capacity, delays in connection of renewable generation, or failures in fossil fuel generator fuel supplies over the peak summer months would likely lead to further supply shortfalls.”

Pakistan opened the country’s 5th nuclear power facility this week, which will generate 340 megawatts (MW) of electricity. The existing 4 plants combined generate over 1 gigawatt (GW) for the country’s electric grid. Two large-sized nuclear facilities are under construction near Karachi and are scheduled to be operational in 2020 and 2021. Together they will add 2.2 GW  to the national grid.

Researchers from the India’s Institute of Technology have found that air pollution is impacting the ability of the country to generate electricity from its solar power systems. More than 25% of the South Asian nation’s solar power is going to waste due to air pollution. The problem is so bad that billions in investments are being undermined. According to researchers, about 4 gigawatts of solar energy is being lost due to air pollution. India has become heavily invested in solar power and has plans to generate at least 40% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Air pollution could derail these plans, especially as it becomes more reliant on solar energy. The problem is particularly troublesome in North India where air pollution is particularly high.

China is working on a timetable to stop production and sales of petrol vehicles as it races to develop new-energy vehicles. This week Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said China was considering following in the footsteps of some European countries to phase out gasoline and diesel cars. The Netherlands and Norway have already set targets to ban fossil-fuel cars by 2025, with sales after that deadline limited to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. France and the UK have announced they intend to ban sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top planning agency, said it will no longer approve any new fossil-fuel car projects. Car emissions have been seen as partly to blame for China’s worsening air quality. Currently petrol engines make up 99.5% of China’s automobile fleet.

The Chinese government said earlier this year it would phase out subsidies for new energy cars by 2020, replacing them with fuel consumption credits and minimum quotas for new-energy vehicle production.

To achieve its goal of 100% electric vehicles by 2030, the government of India has called for tenders this month for up to 10,000 EVs that would be on the roads in the national capital region within the next six to eight months. Additionally, it is seeking bids for 4,000 charging stations in Delhi. According to government officials, this is part of a bigger initiative aimed at putting more than 1 million electric three-wheelers and 10,000 electrically-powered city buses on the country’s roads by mid-2019. To achieve its EV goal, the Indian government has agreed to cover 60% of the research and development costs for developing low-cost electric home grown EV technology.

Ride sharing business, Uber, said each new car it introduces in the UK will be electrified—either hybrid or purely electric—by 2020. In addition it said every one of its 40,000 drivers in the London, England area will be hybrid or pure electric in 2020. Currently just half of its fleet is electrified. Uber will ban the use of diesel by 2025. Uber is also establishing a $200 million fund to aid its drivers for the purchase of alternative vehicles.

The car sharing industry in South Korea is growing rapidly as more consumers seek the on-demand service for convenience amid increased use of mobile technology. Socar, the country’s largest car-sharing service provider, said on Thursday that the number of subscribers has reached over 3 million, marking a milestone in five years since its launch in 2012. Its industry rival GreenCar is trailing closely behind with 2.35 million subscribers. The Asian country’s largest automaker, Hyundai Motor Co., has also jumped on the bandwagon by launching its own car-sharing program as it seeks to diversify its revenue source. Last month, Hyundai invested 5 billion won in a car-pool app Luxi while it launched its own car-sharing service Deal Car. Some believe the growing popularity of car-sharing could lead to a drop in overall car ownership and, as a result, a decline in car sales. RethinkX, a U.S.-based independent think tank, has projected that sales of new cars in the US will drop from 18 million units in 2020 to 6 million in 2030 due to the widespread of self-driving and car sharing.

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