PM’s power plan can’t fix shock

In The Australian today

“Julia Gillard’s announcement yesterday that she would take action to “save families up to $250 a year on electricity bills” is readily understandable. With a long, hot summer in prospect, Australian families are in for an electric shock. “

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas is a columnist for The Australian newspaper and the inaugural Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong. The SMART Infrastructure Facility is a $61.8 million world-class research and training centre concerned with integrated infrastructure solutions for the future. Henry is also Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia. Prior to these concurrent roles Henry worked as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Henry's previous career was as an economist at the OECD in Paris, where amongst other roles he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment and was Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department.
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189 Responses to PM’s power plan can’t fix shock

  1. So to form a government they did a deal with the New Communists to tax power to discourage consumption. Now after the inevitable public backlash they’re subsidising the price of power.

  2. Fred

    What if we used the same philosophy with transport? Stop gold plating roads and suburban trains to handle peak loads. It would be so much cheaper. People could do all their travelling in off peak times.

  3. The Old and Unimproved Dave

    That’s not extra weight Jules is carrying.

    The mental asylum agreed to a day-release programme so long as she agreed to her own portable paddded cell.

  4. johno

    The Liar simply is not interested in policy. She is only interested in announcables that distract attention from her own failings. EnergyWatch is like Gonski and the NDIS. Completely hollow.

    The criminal must go.

  5. Blogstrop

    I’ve had it with the smokescreening that goes on all the time when power price increses are discussed. They’ve admitted to nine percent carbon tax, but then blame infrastructure improvements for the rest.
    Some of that may be true, but it needs to be quantified. More importantly, there needs to be honesty about how much is due to idiotic ideological green schemes, either direct subsidies for panels or other supposedly green sourced power that just costs too much. Then how much of the infrastructure is smart meters, designed to punish us for using power to cook at mealtimes.
    But the burning question is how much of the increases are for generation costs, and what proportion of this can be found to be purely punitive in order to meet greenhouse gas targets that are in turn the product of fevered ideologues and their free-world-neutering scheme?
    Australia has abundant cheap energy, but is being ruined by these destructive and foolhardy climate change alarmists. This reckless destruction and the financial madness must stop. No more kid gloves. 2013 must mark the turnaround.

  6. Rabz

    At the same time, electricity prices are now 40 to 50 per cent higher than when Labor came to power in 2007 and have increased by 10 to 20 per cent in the past year alone.

    Didn’t that fraud rudd campaign on the supposed high costs of living?

    So how’s that working out for everyone?

  7. Bruce

    Gold medal for hypocrisy with oak leaves and cluster.

    Never in my half century have I heard someone in office who lies so often and so baldly.

    Remove RET and the carbon tax. That’ll save more that $250/yr AND save a whole pile of peoples’ jobs.

  8. Splatacrobat

    PM announces the birth of another Unicorn: Electricity watch.

    “Only one who has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime. The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenceless to save yourself and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.” —Firenze to Harry Potter

  9. Entropy

    Can’t the states and territories demand that the utilities spell out on the electricity bill how much the carbon tax and RET represents on the bill?

  10. derFRED

    Watching the TV news last night (rare occurrence) I witnessed the birth of Gillard’s (erm McTernan’s) new media strategy: announce a new policy and answer questions as you walk from A to B (likely her commcar).

    Benefits:

    1. No time to be quizzed (however weakly) about your involvement in the AWU fraud. If any awkward questions are asked, race to your car.

    2. Look like you are an effective PM on the move and too busy to be a show-pony with the media.

  11. handjive

    Gillard, 16/08/2010- 2.33mins:

    “Now I want to build the transmission lines that will bring that clean, green energy into the national electricity grid.”

  12. Muphin

    No need to panic folks. Another Gillard ill considered distraction, an attempt to bribe the rusted on Laborites.

    Gillard says she will introduce in 2014, it’s VERY likely that she will not be Crime Minister in 2014.

  13. Splatacrobat

    Union watch would be more appropriate. Workers would be far better off financially if their fees were not diverted into brothels and house purchases.

  14. m0nty

    Writing an entire article about electricity industry costs in Australia in 2012 and not mentioning the phrase “gold plating” is just intellectually dishonest. We have just gone through 18 months with the lowest peak electricity demand for seven years.

  15. Rabz

    We have just gone through 18 months with the lowest peak electricity demand for seven years.

    And why might that be, genius?

    Labor – drivng up the cost of living and making people worse off.

    Anyone who votes for labor or the greenfilth are voting for a bunch of marxist morons (but I repeat myself) who are unrepentantly committed to making people worse off and to destroying our way of life.

  16. blogstrop

    Monty, for you to call Henry Ergas intellectually dishonest while not ever having a bad word to say about the dishonest labor-supporting media is not just laughable, it’s why you’re on my ban list. You are just sloganeering pond scum with that effort, of no value whatsovever. Quantify all the elements, as I ask above, or don’t bother having an opionion, since it’s worthless trolling to do what you do.

  17. Keith

    Can’t the states and territories demand that the utilities spell out on the electricity bill how much the carbon tax and RET represents on the bill?

    Newman vowed to do this during the last Qld election. Hasn’t he followed through?

  18. Keith

    Writing an entire article about electricity industry costs in Australia in 2012 and not mentioning the phrase “gold plating” is just intellectually dishonest.

    When you find some gold plating, let us know.
    I await your complaint of the next article that specifically does mention gold plating, but doesn’t give examples.
    On the same basis, you would argue against the NBN, correct?

  19. Token

    We have just gone through 18 months with the lowest peak electricity demand for seven years.

    M0nty is peddling another press release from the Liars Party.

    During the last couple of La Nina years there have not been the same number of hot days seen in the end of the El Nino cycle.

    Let’s see what that survey says after the end of a regular summer.

  20. Paul

    Remove all the political blather and you are left with the truth. Taxation disguised as a fee or charge for a commodity. There will be more of this as the Global governance project gets under way complete with treaty obligations that demand more and more wealth “transfer”. Gillard is doing as she has been instructed, and she will be well rewarded with a seat at the Globalist table for her treason, as will her enablers in the media.

  21. Alan Moran

    Part of Julia’s package is a brand new consumerist organization, staffed by those who will support her. Unfortunately Vic minister O’Brien has offered support for this, though the more politically attuned queenslanders have been quick to recognize it as the anti business leftist retirement home that it is

  22. Rococo Liberal

    This Federal Government is looking more like the Keneally Government every day. So we have: Lots of slimy corrupt unionists, femonazis poisoning the well of goodwill, idots playing university-style politics and endless announcements of things that will never be implemented (the last a specialty of Bob Carr’s).

    The difference is that the media on focuses on Stste politics when the stench becomes so strong that even the dumb journos can sniff it. However, in the federal sphere, the story is the only thing that the media has to report on every day that touches the lives of most of the citizens. SO Labor got found out much more quickly.

  23. Old Fridgie

    Writing an entire article about electricity industry costs in Australia in 2012 and not mentioning the phrase “gold plating” is just intellectually dishonest. We have just gone through 18 months with the lowest peak electricity demand for seven years.

    I just love that gold plating bullshit line and predictably m0nty trots it out like the moron he tries so hard to be.

    What point is a grid if it can’t supply power when it is needed? Forgive me if I am wrong but electricity is an essential service isn’t it?

    The electricity suppliers are actually governed by the National Electricity Code which determines how electricity is provided, costed, secured and so on.

    NEMMCO must, in cooperation with the relevant Network Service Providers, apply the power system stability guidelines to the conduct of all necessary calculations associated with the stable operation of the power system and use its reasonable endeavours to coordinate the determination of the settings of equipment used to maintain power system stability. The Network Service Provider must submit to NEMMCO for approval the settings of any transmission equipment used to maintain the stable operation of the power system

    They are governed as to what level of service must be provided. The NEC code determines the supply and service levels. The providers must comply, as you could reasonably expect a provider will only ever do what the need to to ensure they comply and not much more.

    Anyway the whole gold plated catch phrase was another of Gillard’s deflections to turn attention away from the Carbon tax. After all the carbon tax and green power subsidies are the ones driving power costs above and beyond what they should be.

  24. “We have just gone through 18 months with the lowest peak electricity demand for seven years.”

    Congratulations, Monty, you’ve finally understood Economics 101 -supply and demand. That statement is pointless because its as obvious as your rusted-on Laborness.

  25. val majkus

    informative article by Anthony Cox
    http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13995&page=3
    It’s dated August 2012 but nothing has changed with the PM’s spin since then
    there’s a link to Prof Davidson’s catallaxy post

    From this it can be seen that measures to do with either directly dealing with AGW, the “Carbon price”, or indirectly, “Retail, customer service and programs for energy efficiency and renewable” of the sort run by the CEFC and ARENA and solar feed in tariffs, as described above will cost $29 of every $100 spent on electricity.

    My view is that I’d rather have electricity supply reliability thanks PM and if anyone comes near me with a smart meter I’m going to say ‘no’

  26. Leigh Lowe

    No agreement with the states, no details but she somehow knows it will save precisely $250 per family per annum.
    Oh …. sorry …. When I say “save” I mean it won’t go up as much as it otherwise would have.

    She said unto them “make it so”.
    So they didst sendeth out a press release and it thus it didst come to pass.

  27. .

    This shows why she should stay in power for longer – more promises unfulfilled.

    Every most bills go up by more than $250 and there is “low peak electricity”, then she is stuffed – either as a liar or if her assumptions are bullshit, as a liar.

    Monty, for you to call Henry Ergas intellectually dishonest while not ever having a bad word to say about the dishonest labor-supporting media is not just laughable, it’s why you’re on my ban list. You are just sloganeering pond scum with that effort, of no value whatsovever. Quantify all the elements, as I ask above, or don’t bother having an opionion, since it’s worthless trolling to do what you do.

    Brilliantly said.

  28. OldOzzie

    val markus,

    Smart meter forced on us 8 years ago as a high electricity user

    Great move in hindsight

    Living near the ocean, 10C cooler than Labor Suburbs in the West on average, no Air Conditioning due to Sea Breeze, and run all major appliance at night after 10pm – electricity bills have been reduced – 9% Carbon Tax on last bill has upped the cost and the Solat Tarifs have caused damage to those who did not outlay the expensive capital cost for panels (or could not afford).

    Labor are so Dumb at both the State and Federal Level, that they did not understand that their green policies would hit hardest their own Voters – Go figure

  29. OFF-TOPIC ALERT!!

    Sorry, but this must be highlighted. Today’s SMH has an article debunking much of the so-called dangers of salt. Following is a quote from an anti-salt campaigner recipient of $3.4 million in govt funding…

    “”[The study] will provide a very low-cost intervention for these villages in rural China,” Neal says. “But much more broadly than that, it will provide the evidence to really drive forward efforts to take salt out of food and try to reduce salt levels in levels in Australia.”

    Sound familiar? Climate change, anyone? Claiming in advance that a study will provide evidence in support of a pre-ordained agenda is not science, yet that’s precisely what they do in Climate Change “research”. This is part of the reason why our power bills are so high, so there is a tie-in after all!

    As an aside, I had a tennis teammate years ago that used to forfeit mid-set routinely because he had eliminated salt from his diet. And the doctor prescribed for his cramps…..salt tablets!!!

    That statement stopped me in my tracks, that it was so baldly stated. Pass the salt!

  30. Rabz

    Chinese village people used as guinea pigs in salt study.

    Oh, the humanity!

  31. that they did not understand that their green policies would hit hardest their own Voters

    Their own voters? Who are you kidding? They gave up on the Australian working class as racist, homophobic, misogynistic scum a long time ago. They’re hoping the braindead middle-class vote and the latte socialist aristocracy can save them at the polls.

  32. .

    The ALP thinks of and treats it’s base the way Julia Gillard thinks that married men treat their wives – like cheap, filth ridden whores.

  33. “Chinese village people used as guinea pigs in salt study.”

    Did you notice that they have the highest salt consumption per capita in the world? Obviously to support pre-determined results in favour of his agenda – another favoured climate change “research” strategy.

  34. Obio

    AGL in Victoria includes a small pamphlet in my electricity bill which breaks down by percentage how much each component of the bill is. The bits I remember are 9 percent for carbon tax and 20 percent for renewables. So close enough to one third of my $900 spring electricity bill is because of green rubbish. My bill has also doubled since 2006 even though there are two teenagers less in the house.

    Gillard is just so full of it!

  35. Rococo Liberal

    Chinese village people

    I can just see a Chinese cod version of the Cop, the Red Indian and the rest singing “YMCA”

  36. val majkus

    copy of an e mail I received today:

    The dark horse of the New World Order is not Com¬mu¬nism, Socialism or Fas¬cism: It is Technocracy.
    The devel¬op¬ment and imple¬men¬ta¬tion of Smart Grid tech¬nology in the U.S. – reinventing the elec¬trical grid with Wifi-enabled dig¬ital power meters – is pro¬ceeding at break¬neck speed. Although Smart Grid is the result of years of gov¬ern¬ment plan¬ning, the recent kickoff was made pos¬sible through mas¬sive “green” grants that were qui¬etly included in Pres¬i¬dent Obama’s eco-nomic stim¬ulus package starting in 2009.
    These lucra¬tive grants have drawn in a host of cor¬po¬rate players, from utility com¬pa¬nies to dig¬ital meter man¬u¬fac¬turers to con¬trol soft¬ware ven¬dors. Global com¬pa¬nies like IBM, GE and Siemens are putting their full effort behind the “build-out” that will con¬sol¬i¬date all of America into a single, inte¬grated, communication-enabled elec¬tric delivery and mon¬i¬toring system, col¬lec¬tively called Smart Grid.
    Pro¬po¬nents of Smart Grid claim that it will empower the con¬sumer to better manage his or her power con¬sump¬tion and hence, costs. The utility com¬pa¬nies will there¬fore be more effi¬cient in bal¬ancing power loads and require¬ments across diverse markets.
    How¬ever, like car¬nival barkers, these Smart Grid hock¬sters never reveal where or how Smart¬Grid came into being, nor what the ulti¬mate endgame aims to achieve; per¬haps most of them have no idea either, but simply repeat the mantra as if they know what they are talking about.
    In Smart¬Grid: The Imple¬men¬ta¬tion of Tech¬noc¬racy?, I revealed the back¬ground of both Tech¬noc-racy and Smart Grid, and most impor¬tantly, the links between them. Smart Grid is born out of Tech¬noc¬racy and not the other way around.
    Tech¬noc¬racy is a total¬i¬tarian system of gov¬ern¬ment where sci¬en¬tists, engi¬neers and tech¬ni¬cians mon¬itor and con¬trol all facets of per¬sonal and civic life – eco¬nomic, social and polit¬ical. Herein lies the real danger: Who are these unelected con¬trollers and why should anyone believe that they would be benev¬o¬lent dic¬ta¬tors instead of tyrants? Amer¬i¬cans are a freedom-loving people who would cer¬tainly reject Technocracy’s stealth takeover, if only they were aware of it. Indeed, Amer¬i¬cans did point¬edly reject Tech¬noc¬racy in the 1930′s!
    Thirty years ago, a researcher’s mantra was “Follow the money, follow the power.” This must now be restated: “Follow the energy, follow the power.”
    Con¬clu¬sion
    Tech¬noc¬racy is a col¬lec¬tivist, utopian political-economic system run by engi¬neers, sci¬en¬tists and tech¬ni¬cians. It has the poten¬tial to be far more oppres¬sive and con¬trol¬ling than Com¬mu¬nism, Socialism or Fas¬cism. Without Smart Grid, we are assured that there will be no rule of Technocracy.
    Much more needs to be said, but this report seeks to high¬light the following:
    1. Tech¬noc¬racy, Inc. was the birth place of the energy-based economic-political model seen behind national, regional, con¬ti¬nental and global Smart Grid initiatives
    2. R. Buck¬min¬ster Fuller, a Tech¬no¬crat at heart, pio¬neered the design for a Global energy net¬work that is now referred to as “the new World Wide Web of Electricity”
    3. All of Tech¬noc¬racy, Inc.’s orig¬inal require¬ments for an energy-based system are process of being met
    4. Global orga¬ni¬za¬tions like the World Eco¬nomic Forum and the IEEE Stan¬dards Orga¬ni¬za-tion are fully backing and enabling the global Smart Grid
    5. The global Smart Grid and global warming move¬ments are interdependent
    It is not clear who will oversee any or all facets of the global Smart Grid. The implied sug¬ges¬tion is that it will be the same engi¬neers and global cor¬po¬ra¬tions that are cur¬rently devel¬oping it. There is no sug¬ges¬tion any¬where in lit¬er¬a¬ture that there is a plan for a hand-off of the resulting system to a polit¬ical struc¬ture that serves the people.
    The neg¬a¬tive aspects of Smart Grid are seldom men¬tioned. Take cyber-security, for instance. Pic-ture a tech-savvy crim¬inal who breaks into your energy pro¬file data by hacking the com¬puters at your local sub¬sta¬tion: Based on your power usage, he knows when you are home and when you are not home, when you are awake and when you are asleep, whether you have a secu¬rity system turned on or off, etc. Armed with such infor¬ma¬tion, your pos¬ses¬sions and per¬sonal safety would be at his disposal.
    With the global groundswell of activity to create the global Smart Grid, it is doubtful that the ini-tia¬tive can be stopped, espe¬cially since it is so closely inter¬twined with the global warming move-ment and hence, Sus¬tain¬able Devel¬op¬ment and even the United Nation’s Agenda 21 program.
    In the United States, Smart Grid is esca¬lating without any leg¬isla¬tive over¬sight or involve¬ment; in other words, it is being imple¬mented exclu¬sively by Exec¬u¬tive Branch fiat. The same is true in other countries.
    The orig¬inal Tech¬noc¬racy, Inc. was suc¬cessful for a season due in part to the bone-crushing pres-sure of the Great Depres¬sion. The Great Depres¬sion II cur¬rently underway will almost cer¬tainly sponsor renewed cat-calls that “Cap¬i¬talism is dead” and pleas for a new system to replace it. The only system waiting in the wings, so to speak, is Tech¬noc¬racy, and its enabling infra¬struc¬ture is the new World Wide Web of Energy.
    http://www.augustforecast.com/2011/06/15/technocracys-endgame-global-smart-grid/

  37. C.L.

    What are you all worried about?

    FuelWatch and GroceryWatch were triumphs.

    I expect the same from PowerWatch.

  38. Chris

    Living near the ocean, 10C cooler than Labor Suburbs in the West on average, no Air Conditioning due to Sea Breeze, and run all major appliance at night after 10pm – electricity bills have been reduced – 9% Carbon Tax on last bill has upped the cost and the Solat Tarifs have caused damage to those who did not outlay the expensive capital cost for panels (or could not afford).

    Well that’s sort of the point of smart meters. To encourage where possible to get people to shift their electricity usage to low demand times. Eg run the pool filter at night rather than during the day, set the dishwasher/washing machine to run at night or very early morning. And doing things like putting up some shadecloth over north/west facing walls and windows rather than just turning up the a/c looks a lot more financially attractive.

    As an aside, I had a tennis teammate years ago that used to forfeit mid-set routinely because he had eliminated salt from his diet. And the doctor prescribed for his cramps…..salt tablets!!!

    As usual when it comes to diet its about moderation. Too low salt intake is bad as is too high salt intake. Those in the middle end up with the best health outcomes.

  39. C.L.

    To encourage where possible to get people to shift their electricity usage to low demand times. Eg run the pool filter at night rather than during the day, set the dishwasher/washing machine to run at night or very early morning. And doing things like putting up some shadecloth over north/west facing walls and windows rather than just turning up the a/c looks a lot more financially attractive.

    Why?

    We’ve got coal for 1000 years. Who gives a shit?

  40. Val, that was pretty high on the conspiracy theory index, but it rang too true for my liking. When you consider energy is the only thing that cannot be recycled, it is the most important resource of all. Letting governments to force smart meters onto us is lunacy. Control power and you control the person. Of course, it’s nothing a diesel generator can’t fix!

    I can already see my children in a few years laughing at me for thinking smart meters are anything but totally harmless and “for our benefit”. Smart meters are satan’s spawn.

  41. Gab

    As a result, the share of domestic consumption in Australian energy production decreased, from an average of 49 per cent in the 1980s to an average of 42 per cent in the 1990s, and has continued to decrease, to an average of 33 per cent over the past decade.

    Well that’s sort of the point of smart meters.

    This is strawman argument. Residential energy use is around 7.5% of the total. It’s a pittance and yet consumers are made to feel guilty for using energy that is in abundance in Australia.

  42. Rabz

    Smart meters are satan’s spawn.

    Yes, but you’ve just gotta lerve the concept of the state being able to restrict your electricity supply if some beetle browed fascist bureaucratic nonentity deems you to be using too much.

    C’mon, people, what’s not to like?

  43. Gab

    the concept of the state being able to restrict your electricity supply

    The state could restrict electricity supply even before the introduction of smart meters.

  44. Token

    Well that’s sort of the point of smart meters. To encourage where possible to get people to shift their electricity usage to low demand times.

    “Smart” meters when set up the right way can assist people with their decision making process. Leave it to consumers to invest in the devices and make up their minds on when they use power and they will be effective.

    I’ve seen people time when they put the washing on, etc, it is technology and individual choice working well.

    The big government approach of the Vic government was the problem.

    This is no different to the disaster that is Senator Red Underpant’s big set top box handout. Remember how Senator Red Underpants found a way to make the simple devices more expensive by many multiples?

  45. Token

    This is in NSW with devices provided at a much cheaper price, not on the Vic gov devices.

  46. “C’mon, people, what’s not to like?”

    Ummm…nope, I got nothing!

  47. Entropy

    Keith

    Can’t the states and territories demand that the utilities spell out on the electricity bill how much the carbon tax and RET represents on the bill?

    Newman vowed to do this during the last Qld election. Hasn’t he followed through?

    Not on my last bill. This is different from some brochure which outlines the percentage. It should show the actual dollars in the bill that go to the tax and the RET.

  48. Chris

    Why?

    We’ve got coal for 1000 years. Who gives a shit?

    For starters during peak periods the network itself may not have sufficient capacity – wires and transformers can only handle so much power before they fail. So there is significant cost to upgrading infrastructure – especially in growth areas where demand is going to increase anyway. And coal based power plants are not able to just turn off at night. So it would be a lot cheaper for them (and in turn consumers) to be able to produce a fairly constant amount of power 24/7 than have huge peaks during the day and waste the power generated at night. That’s why we’ve had off peak hot water rates for a very long time.

  49. duncan

    Its all part of the same vote bribing merry-go-round.

    Jack up living expenses, then pay out cash to voters in compensation… the government is here to help.

  50. cohenite

    For starters during peak periods the network itself may not have sufficient capacity – wires and transformers can only handle so much power before they fail.

    That is just fucked; in fact every bit of Chris’s comment is a template of the bullshit which Gillard and the exponents of the RET are shovelling.

    I have shown these graphs before when the other fuckwit, steve, was saying the same rubbish as Chris.

    Here is the winter graph and here is the summer graph.

    Baseload is the minimum electricity demand which our society uses; peak demand is when regular spikes in demand occur such as when people get up and go in the morning and return home from work and school; the peak is part of the base which is a depiction of our lifestyle; TonyOz describes the connection thus:

    The extra power required above that Base Load is called Peaking Power (or Peak Power). Peaking Power is an everyday occurrence — other power plants are brought on line to ‘top up’ the power. Again, this power has to be on stand-by ready for consumption. If power is predicted to be consumed, then the grid controllers need that power already at the grid, ready for it to be drawn down by people in homes with plasma TV’s and ovens and toasters. Peaking Power is provided mainly from natural gas fired plants, which can come on line and spin up to speed within minutes.

    There are two distinct peaks on that winter diagram. In the morning — breakfast, showers, turns on the heaters etc – and then again in the afternoon and evening — when people come home and turn on the heaters, stoves, microwaves, washing machines and dryers.

    Without rearranging our biological clocks, or reforming our civilization, there’s no real possibility of ‘flattening out’ the two humps.

    So what are you about Chris, biological clocks or social reformation?

  51. Rabz

    The state could restrict electricity supply even before the introduction of smart meters.

    Gab, there’s something far more insidious about the state being able to target individuals “for special treatment” on the basis of their power usage.

    There’s a special corner in hell waiting for those fascist bastards.

  52. Rabz

    So what are you about Chris, biological clocks or social reformation?

    He’s a big fan of Year Zero and an idyllic agrarian peasant life for everyone bar the nomenklatura – of which he mistakenly assumes he will be a member.

  53. Old Fridgie

    For starters during peak periods the network itself may not have sufficient capacity – wires and transformers can only handle so much power before they fail.

    Bullshit, the network is designed, built, maintained and upgraded as required to handle the peak loads, and is regulated to do so as per the National Electricity Code.

    for clarity that last part again – regulated to do so as per the National Electricity Code…

    NEMMCO must, in cooperation with the relevant Network Service Providers, apply the power system stability guidelines to the conduct of all necessary calculations associated with the stable operation of the power system and use its reasonable endeavours to coordinate the determination of the settings of equipment used to maintain power system stability. The Network Service Provider must submit to NEMMCO for approval the settings of any transmission equipment used to maintain the stable operation of the power system

    There are government regulations to determine supply guidelines. If Julia really hated the falsely named “gold plating” of network infrastructure she could regulate against it FFS.

  54. Chris

    So what are you about Chris, biological clocks or social reformation?

    What about just smarter use of technology instead?

    Some examples:
    - Many washing machines and some dishwashers already have a delay setting. I use mine to do the washing overnight during low demand periods and hang it out in the morning

    - I have a very well insulated house with a decent amount of thermal mass. So during the very hot periods that you often get in Adelaide I only run the a/c system at night to cool the house. Close it up during the day and there is enough thermal mass in the house to keep it cool during the day (I work from home so its important the house is cool during the day) until the following night when I can just open all the windows for it to cool naturally or boost the cooling with the a/c.

    - Winter heating – well I live in Adelaide so its not that big a deal, but the house has good orientation, lots of north facing windows with dark tiled floors. So its not unusual in winter for it to be 25C inside and 15C outside without any artificial heating.

    - People with electric hot water heaters already often heat the water at night during periods of low demand rather than the middle of the day.

    - Freezers (and perhaps fridges) could use extra electricity during the night to cool down their contents a few degrees more than is necessary in exchange for not running so much during the day when the power is more expensive (this is already being done commercially in the US – probably makes more sense with enough scale)

  55. blogstrop

    So it would be a lot cheaper for them (and in turn consumers) to be able to produce a fairly constant amount of power 24/7 than have huge peaks during the day and waste the power generated at night. That’s why we’ve had off peak hot water rates for a very long time.

    In your dreams. I can see it now:
    “Comrades, your wake up times and shower and meal times will henceforth be aligned with your (tattoed on your arm) Personal Number. Anyone found to be heating the kettle or grilling a chop at the wrong time will be penalised automatically. Our smart meters know what device you have turned on. It reports back to us and logs your indiscretions.
    Corrective Camp awaits those who transgress. As Comrade #1 from Tasmania has told us, Wrong Thinking leads to Wrong Acting. Wrong Actors have no role to play and must learn from the new script.”

  56. cohenite

    What about just smarter use of technology instead?

    Chris this is more bullshit, fiddling at the edges; good on you for tinkering with your electricity use and saving society $2.50 per fucking annum.

    Apart from satisfying your Scottish heritage what is the point?

    Everyone hates waste and conspicuous consumption; for example when I am out power fucking walking and I see some wanker drinking Stella fucking Artois, I whip out a VB and replace the wanker’s beer; in this way I save at least as much as your frugal electric use.

  57. Gab

    Chris still fighting the pointless fight. Residential electricity users account for a very small percentage of total electricity demand.

  58. Leigh Lowe

    Allow me to explain “gold plating” to you Munty.
    It is often more about the cost of holes rather than poles. That is, new estate developers have to put cable underground which is expensive to instal and difficult to maintain.
    And who wants this?
    Greenies mostly. For aesthetics.
    Distributors are putting more and more auto-protection devices on lines and installations.
    Why are they doing this?
    To try to avoid burning another 177 people to death if there is a repeat of Black Saturday, among other things.
    Oh … and don’t forget the infrastructure they are bound to instal to accommodate the middle class greenies who want their feel-good factor by pumping two rats-farts worth of solar back into the network.

    And all this from someone who is spending $40 bil (and counting) of our money on an NBN so that teenage girls will be able to download the latest One Direction video in 2 seconds rather than having to wait, like, a whole five minutes.
    I think the Altona Droner would be well advised to avoid the term “gold plating”.

  59. BM

    Bugger gold plating, as has been mentioned above, the real problems are green plating (renewables-related infrastructure) and black plating (carbon tax).

    Maybe if we use colours, rather than big words, the likes of Monty could keep up?

    Nah, what am I saying, the only colour they can see is red.

  60. Chris

    3 Dec 12 at 11:33 am

    To encourage where possible to get force people to shift their electricity usage to low demand times…

    …and the poor to take cold showers and go to bed early.

    FIFY

  61. Leigh Lowe

    Val … It looks to me as if the biggest scourge facing us today is a surfeit of hyphens.

  62. Chris

    Chris still fighting the pointless fight. Residential electricity users account for a very small percentage of total electricity demand.

    You’re confusing energy usage with electricity usage. In NSW for example residential consumption is responsible for about 33% of the total electricity usage. And its not like businesses can’t also load shift if they have financial incentive to do so – many large businesses already would have some incentive to do so, though perhaps not SMEs.

    Chris this is more bullshit, fiddling at the edges; good on you for tinkering with your electricity use and saving society $2.50 per fucking annum.

    *shrug* if that’s all you’re going to save then your electricity bill is pretty low and you probably don’t care about electricity prices anyway.

  63. val majkus

    Leigh sorry don’t know how that happened
    it’s my smart meter coming into play

  64. Chris

    3 Dec 12 at 1:42 pm

    It’s none of your business when I hang out the washing…

    It’s none of your business what house I live in…

    It’s none of your business how cold my kids like their ice cream…

    But the real question is:

    How much will all that reduce Global Temperatures in 2100?
    (when my little one will be 99 years old and cold-fusion powered robots will be wiping her bum for her)

    Go!

  65. .

    I have a very well insulated house with a decent amount of thermal mass.

    Good for you.

    Some people cannot afford this. You want to up their power bills for your own satisfaction.

    You ghoul.

  66. Chris

    To encourage where possible to get force people to shift their electricity usage to low demand times…

    …and the poor to take cold showers and go to bed early.

    All it would allow is electricity retailers to charge what they want for electricity when they want to – ie it’ll be cheaper when they can buy electricity cheaper and more expensive when its more expensive for them. Afraid of the free market all of a sudden are you?

    Further de-regulation of residential electricity pricing to allow for less cross subsidisation between residential users would be a good thing.

  67. .

    Good. Sell off the power generators. Let’s see what bullshit chris whips out to say no.

    Don’t pull out the thing unless you’re prepared to bang, chris.

  68. Rabz

    Anyone found to be heating the kettle or grilling a chop at the wrong time will be penalised automatically.

    Blogs, there will no kettles or chops for the proles in the coming marxist brutopia.

  69. Rabz

    Further de-regulation of residential electricity pricing to allow for less cross subsidisation between residential users would be a good thing.

    Then get rid of those frigging solar panel subsidies.

  70. val majkus

    note about ‘gold plating’ by one of my favourite Aussie experts (see his profile here)
    http://papundits.wordpress.com/views-expressed-by-writers-are-their-own-and-do-not/tonyfromoz/

    I have nothing on poles and wires.

    It’s actually a furphy really.

    True, the network has been updated, but they haven’t done any major improvements on the scale claimed.

    Lumped in with the poles and wires is the extra added on for what the power distributors have to pay in the way of considerably extra costs for major scale renewables, Wind Plants and Solar Plants. While the total power from them is less than 2.5%, that is still a considerable extra added on to the retail price of electricity because for every MWH of power from those two renewables, the cost is between 7 and 10 times higher than the cost of traditional power, which was once around 3 cents per KWH and now with the addition of the CO2 tax, is around 6.5 cents per KWH. So while renewable power costs so much, that added impost is lumped in there with the poles and wires.

    Undergrounding power is also in there with poles and wires, and that is no cheap thing.

    Every new housing sub division means new power, all of that in with poles and wires.

    Every new large building means more power, also in there with poles and wires.

    Every new shopping mall is also a huge extra, also poles and wires.

    The only way to lower poles and wires costs is to not approve any more of those things and to actually close others down.

    More people means more power infrastructure needs.

    They call it gold plating of the grid system, but its actually an abject failure to construct power plants to cater for the needs of all those extra things I mentioned above.

    They’re not gold plating it at all. They are just extending an already thin supply.

    What is also added onto the poles and wires is the Feed In Tariff for Rooftop Solar, because that directly affects the poles and wires. They have to update the poles and wires to take into account even the small amounts of power being fed back to the grid. The grid was designed to send all its power in the one direction and then also cater for the return path. Now, added to that return path is the added extra of that rooftop solar power.

    Those things are added onto what they refer to as ‘poles and wires’. It has nothing to do with the ACTUAL poles and wires.

    The actual thought that Julia can divert attention away from the real cause by just blandly quoting ‘poles and wires’ is a complete and utter diversion. They cannot lower that element of the retail price of electricity without lowering those added extras of renewables and rooftop solar charges.

    To blandly say that she’s going to make it easier to shop around is rank stupidity. All retailers are currently operating on their own levels of charge. The only way that they can effectively lower retail price is for retailers to purchase the cheapest electricity they can, something they cannot do, because they are forced to buy renewable power, and rooftop solar power.

    The thought that they can legislate to regulate lower prices is about the funniest thing I’ve heard of in years. There is absolutely no way at all she can lower prices without legislating away renewables, and that FIT for rooftop solar power.

    I can say in this till I’m blue in the face, but no one from that side would believe a single word of it.

    How sensible is that?

  71. Once upon a time… cheap, reliable, plentiful electricity available on demand – even for the poor! – was seen as a good thing. A sign of progress.

    Now we have these purse-lipped conspicuously regressive misanthropic miserablists pointing their bony blue-fingered hands of neo-Puritanism at us, shouting USE LESS! USE LESS!!

    FMD.

  72. Chris

    Good. Sell off the power generators. Let’s see what bullshit chris whips out to say no.

    Don’t pull out the thing unless you’re prepared to bang, chris.

    IMO the generators should have been privatised many years ago.

  73. cohenite

    it’ll be cheaper when they can buy electricity cheaper and more expensive when its more expensive for them. Afraid of the free market all of a sudden are you?

    More bullshit from Chris; with fossils and nuclear there is no time based cost differentials; they can produce electricity all the time.

    Renewables, except for hydro, cannot produce electricity from moment to fucking moment; which is why their power generation is measured by a time average such as a quarter or year; they don’t produce power which can be converted to electricity in a continuous reliable fashion.

    Yet because of the AGW lie we are having this massive upheaval in the electricity sector where people are exhorted to save by cutting back or being time smart, as though that will allow renewables to overcome their inherent time based deficiencies.

    There is simply no need for this. Fossils and nuclear need no such time adjustment, they are good 24/7.

    Joe Punter is being sold a pup while being ripped off big-time; and salt [from China] is being rubbed in the wound by the sanctimonious bleatings of Chris and his ilk.

  74. Gab

    USE LESS! USE LESS!!

    As a result, the share of domestic consumption in Australian energy production decreased, from an average of 49 per cent in the 1980s to an average of 42 per cent in the 1990s, and has continued to decrease, to an average of 33 per cent over the past decade.

  75. Chris

    Then get rid of those frigging solar panel subsidies.

    Solar PV prices have dropped so low I don’t think they’re needed any more. At less than $5000 for a 4kW system (unsubsidised) pay off time is pretty short with no subsidies. So I’d agree with you there. And the way the governments have played around with the subsidies in the past has caused a lot of pain.

  76. Chris

    More bullshit from Chris; with fossils and nuclear there is no time based cost differentials; they can produce electricity all the time.

    Um, have you forgotten about demand? Higher demand during the day and so prices are going to be higher during the day?

  77. Rabz

    And the way the governments have played around with the subsidies in the past has caused a lot of pain.

    More specifically, to the people without solar panels.

  78. Gab

    USE LESS! USE LESS!!

    Well may gillard screech that at us however it’s pointless – as it the carbon dioxide tax as is the RET when:

    China’s carbon emissions grew 9.9 per cent in 2011 after rising 10.4 per cent in 2010, and now comprise 28 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions, compared with 16 per cent for the United States…
    “Of the growth we’ve seen specifically last year, in 2011, 80 per cent came from the growth in emissions in China and the rest [was] split among the rest of the emerging economies in the developing world,” he [Dr Canadell] said.

    and

    World Resources Institute identifies 1,200 coal plants in planning across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India

    All this pissing and moaning from gillard to appease the Greens is just a squabble over nothing in the scheme of things. It’s feel good posturing by a mendacious and innumerate government at the expense of local industry and the population.

  79. Gab

    Higher demand during the day

    Funnily enough that’s when industry usage is at it’s highest and residential usage is at the lowest.

  80. thefrollickingmole

    One small bit of “gold plating” the government gifts to electricity producers is massively less protection from lawsuits..

    Back when WA was still powered by the SEC there was effectively 0% chance of a lawsuit for negligence/damage getting up.
    In my uncles case a temporary power line was seen arcing and striking which caused a massive burn over a number of properties.

    Case dismissed, SEC said it had been put up to specifications.

  81. Brian of Moorabbin

    Wow, a whole $250 a year saving on my power bill! Thank Julia!

    That’ll nicely offset the $350 increase (compared to same time last year) on my last quarterly bill…

    Now just to see how much of a price increase I get on the next 3 bills to see just how much better off I am as one of Julia’s “working families”…

  82. Gab

    Don’t get excited, Brian. gillard said “up to $250″.

    BTW, how did she arrive at the capped figure of $250?

  83. Brian of Moorabbin

    Gab, ‘up to $250′ is even better!

    Instead of being only $100 out of pocket (on 1 single bill), it means I’ll be even further behind on cost of living increases that both she and Rudd promised that they would reduce when they were elected.

    A few more years and I’ll be raising my family in that dung-fire lit cave, eating naught but grass and boiled shoe leather. The very model of the ‘Clean Energy’ utopia that the ALP/Greens are striving for.

    Yay for ALP/Green progressive policies!

  84. Brian of Moorabbin

    For the record, my sarcasm is not directed at Gab, but at the Leftist Apologista Brigade members like m0nty, SteveC, and the Digital One who infest this blog… those that defend Gillard and the ALP/Greens no matter just how much damage is being done to real families by the failed ‘thought-bubble’ policies of this inept ALP clownocracy.

  85. Rabz

    A few more years and I’ll be raising my family in that dung-fire lit cave, eating naught but grass and boiled shoe leather.

    Brian, as we know, nothing screams “clean energy” quite like burning dung.

    :)

  86. All it would allow is electricity retailers to charge what they want for electricity when they want to – ie it’ll be cheaper when they can buy electricity cheaper and more expensive when its more expensive for them. Afraid of the free market all of a sudden are you?

    Has the Macquarie Dictionary changed the definition of ‘Free Market’?

    What’s ‘free’ about Bill Shorten turning my air-con off during a heatwave?

    Further de-regulation of residential electricity pricing to allow for less cross subsidisation between residential users would be a good thing.

    Yes, we’re all for that too.

    Again…

    By how much will the Trade Union Party tree food tax reduce Global Temperatures in 2100?

  87. JC

    You’re confusing energy usage with electricity usage. In NSW for example residential consumption is responsible for about 33% of the total electricity usage. And its not like businesses can’t also load shift if they have financial incentive to do so – many large businesses already would have some incentive to do so, though perhaps not SMEs.

    Oh good one Chris. So firms will run at peak when it’s a sunny day and or there’s lots of wind.

    Fuckng idiot.

    ” tomorrows forecast is cloudy and still day so lots of you won’t need to go to work”.

  88. brc

    I’d love to hear the mental hoops the Laborites need to jump through to say that a gold plated electricity network is bad, but a gold plated internet network is good.

    Anyone want to give it a try?

  89. Token

    By how much will the Trade Union Party tree food tax reduce Global Temperatures in 2100?

    Strange how they dodge that question.

    I have a question they dodge which asks how it can be possible that Flim-Flam can say we only have 5 years to act, yet he rejects the option of using nuclear energy.

    Its urgent to act, so urgent, my f***ing goodness urgent, urgent, urgent, but not that urgent.

  90. brc

    I’m very tired of this ‘it’s only built for peak demand’ crap.

    Everything in our life is built for peak demand. From the highways to the sewage system to the electricity network to sports stadiums, airports and office buildings.

    Sure, you could make the MCG half the size if you made the cricketers play with half a team and stretched tests out to 10 days.

    Sure, you could halve the size of highways if half the population were instructed to drive in the middle of the night.

    Sure, you could halve the size of an office building if half the workforce worked a night shift.

    Sure, you can halve the size of the electricity network by making half the people get air conditioning one day, and half the next. You could rotate which Westfield had the air on during the pre-christmas summer rush. Problem solved!

    For anyone to intimate the problem is greedy people, what with their bio-rhythms and social conventions – well, I have the lowest of low respect for anyone who tries that crap on. People are people, and the built environment is built for us. We are not supposed to adapt to a half-arsed system intentionally limited because of some greenie ideal that they are saving the planet by running their washing machine in the middle of the night, switching to low-wattage toxic lightbulbs and timing the opening and closing of their windows.

  91. Old Fridgie

    I’m very tired of this ‘it’s only built for peak demand’ crap.

    Everything in our life is built for peak demand. From the highways to the sewage system to the electricity network to sports stadiums, airports and office buildings.

    Sure, you could make the MCG half the size if you made the cricketers play with half a team and stretched tests out to 10 days.

    Sure, you could halve the size of highways if half the population were instructed to drive in the middle of the night.

    Sure, you could halve the size of an office building if half the workforce worked a night shift.

    Sure, you can halve the size of the electricity network by making half the people get air conditioning one day, and half the next. You could rotate which Westfield had the air on during the pre-christmas summer rush. Problem solved!

    For anyone to intimate the problem is greedy people, what with their bio-rhythms and social conventions – well, I have the lowest of low respect for anyone who tries that crap on. People are people, and the built environment is built for us. We are not supposed to adapt to a half-arsed system intentionally limited because of some greenie ideal that they are saving the planet by running their washing machine in the middle of the night, switching to low-wattage toxic lightbulbs and timing the opening and closing of their windows.

    +1

  92. Alice

    Save us $250 after charging us what?? an extra $550 yeah yeah sure – it doesnt matter who gets in are the energy bills going down?

    Ever get the feeling that it doesnt matter which government and that they all undergo an evil transformation as soon as their newly voted bums are on the seat? Id dont know which is worse…politicians or government oh hang on politicians are government..

  93. Skuter

    Brian, as we know, nothing screams “clean energy” quite like burning dung.

    Please lads, it is a legitimate and respectable source of energy known as biomass…millions of Africans can’t be wrong…

  94. Dr Faustus

    BTW, how did she arrive at the capped figure of $250?

    Plucked. She would have no more idea about savings to be obtained from National Consumer Advocacy Bodies and Smart Meters than she does about any of the other promises of initiatives and schemes that fall lightly from her lips.

    The ~$11 billion capital spend to preserve NSW/Qld system reliability under peak load (aka “gold plating”) has already been spent. A large part of the current spend is to manage the system instability caused by windmills – not selfish airconditioners. This will need to be serviced, even under Gillardonomics.

    If you are a parent with small kids, or a pensioner in your home with the fans/aircon on during the day because that’s when it’s hot, you certainly won’t see a $250 saving – your power bill will go up because the peak daytime power will be a whole lot more expensive. That’s what Smart Meters are supposed to do.

    If you are a small business, you will need to restructure to operate off-peak (ie at night) – or face your power going up by 50% or so. Tough shit for your workforce and customers.

  95. “He’s a big fan of Year Zero and an idyllic agrarian peasant life for everyone bar the nomenklatura – of which he mistakenly assumes he will be a member.”

    Ouch! Rabz, the deluded don’t realise that, if they’re not specifically on the inside, then they are on the outside. As such, the deluded are useful idiots. At least I know I’m on the outside and am prepared to stop the inside from insulating themselves at our expense.

  96. cohenite

    Yep, well said brc.

    Chris and his cronies can stick their electricity savings up their arses.

    At heart there is a mean, miserable sensibility behind all green and particularly AGW ideas. It is a sensibility which wants to punish and oppress humans.

    I mean, every second the amount of energy which passes the Earth is what human society would use in a century; and these miserable little pricks want us to save energy by having cold showers at 4am.

    Save energy; what the fuck are we saving it for?

  97. Brian of Moorabbin

    Echoing Old Fridgie and sdog with another +1 for brc’s post (@4.17pm)

  98. Brian of Moorabbin

    Save energy; what the fuck are we saving it for?

    Rainy days (which aren’t going to happen anymore anyway according to the Flim-Flam man)…

  99. mct

    brc
    3 Dec 12 at 4:17 pm
    +100

    ++

  100. Chris

    Funnily enough that’s when industry usage is at it’s highest and residential usage is at the lowest.

    12am-5am is probably as low if not lower for residential usage. There’s a significant number of households who have people at home during the day (retirees, families with young children etc)

    Sure, you could halve the size of highways if half the population were instructed to drive in the middle of the night.

    Or you could make public transport better to use the existing infrastructure more efficiently. For cities not totally gridlocked like Sydney that have multi-hour peak hours just relaxing the 9-5 mindset would help.

    Chris and his cronies can stick their electricity savings up their arses.

    Thanks for the suggestion, but I prefer to put mine towards paying off the mortgage faster. But those people like you who don’t care about ways to save on their energy consumption shouldn’t whine about rising electricity prices.

  101. If you are a small business, you will need to restructure to operate off-peak (ie at night) – or face your power going up by 50% or so. Tough shit for your workforce and customers.

    Wonder how many night vision robots will be members of the Australian Workers Union?

  102. Gab

    There’s a significant number of households who have people at home during the day (retirees, families with young children etc)

    And there’s a significant number of people who go to work/school/uni. So?

    What do you expect those who are at home on high temperature days to do? Not use aircons? Really this focus on the minutia is just another guilt tactic by greenies & warmies. We could turn off all electricity supply in Australia and still it would have no effect on the climate given Australia’s CO2 emission are 2/5s of stuff all globally.

  103. Chris

    What do you expect those who are at home on high temperature days to do? Not use aircons?

    No, many will be using a/c systems (often because of poor house design and/or very short term planning, but that’s another story). That’s why I don’t believe your claim of:

    Funnily enough that’s when industry usage is at it’s highest and residential usage is at the lowest.

    is true (with perhaps the exception of really hot summer nights).

  104. Gab

    If you don’t believe my “claim” then show me the numbers to disprove it. Show me that industry uses less electricity during the day than households.

  105. brc

    Or you could make public transport better to use the existing infrastructure more efficiently. For cities not totally gridlocked like Sydney that have multi-hour peak hours just relaxing the 9-5 mindset would help.

    This is a joke, right?

    Even the public transport infrastructure is built for peak demand. All those gold-plated trains running around, you know?

    Way to intentionally miss the point to clutch at a straw and wave a greenie flag, that all our problems would be solved if we just left the car at home and took a train.

    If anyone seriously thinks they can pay their mortgage off quicker by washing their clothes at 2 am, well, they’re even more disconnected from reality than I thought possible.

  106. Leigh Lowe

    I have a very well insulated house with a decent amount of thermal mass.

    But it’s bloody hard to get that thermal mass in the removals van when you move out of your rented house, eh?

  107. brc

    @gab : by far the largest user of air-con during the day on hot days is office and retail buildings. While the greens are putting the guilt-trips on Aunt Bessie for running a 3kw system in her loungeroom, your local Westfield is running the sort of power unit that takes some serious high voltage lines to run. And on busy days, the automatic doors give off a fresh blast of cool air into the carpark, while ingesting an equal amount of hot, humid air to fix up. Same as all those 30 and 40 storey glass office towers. Even the fans alone that distribute the air around the building suck up serious power.

    They are the guilty party, your honor. I’ll turn off my AC when the big boys do.

  108. cratou

    So the argument here seems to be that the system should just be built to support the peak power usage? Ok, fine. But the problem with this is that at the moment, the cost of this is passed on to everyone, so those who don’t use a lot of power during the (handful of) peak periods during the year, are subsiding those who do.

    What needs to happen (and this is part of what’s been proposed), is that the retail price for a particular interval reflects the wholesale price. This achieves two things…firstly those who use power when it’s most expensive to produce (because peaking plants have to be brought online, for example) pay more for the privilege, and by having this pricing signal, it should flatten out demand a little…and guess what that means? The overall cost is less! The free market at work, it’s wonderful, you guys should get onto this, it’s great.

    As has been pointed out already, anyone opposing these changes is basically in favour of the (current system of) government regulating power prices to protect them from the actual cost of generating and transmitting this power during peak periods.

  109. cohenite

    Chris says:

    But those people like you who don’t care about ways to save on their energy consumption shouldn’t whine about rising electricity prices.

    Don’t verbal me; I said I was against conspicuous consumption; what you don’t understand is this: there is no connection between electricity cost and electricity use.

    Baseload power is continuous power; it has to be; it’s cost is the same whether it is used at midnight or midday; as I have explained peak power is a regular part of that baseload; per unit of power it should be cheaper because of economies of scale.

    The same principle applies to use; if the creation of the product involves an economy of scale, which real electricity creation with fossils and nuclear does, then greater use of it should be rewarded with a per unit reduction.

    This market principle is distorted by renewables which have no economy of scale; if one wind tower is useless because the wind isn’t blowing then a 100 will be similarly afflicted; the same with solar; you do not get a reduction in the per unit production of the product, electricity, from these things because they confounded by their intermittancy.

    The only reason we are discussing renewables is AGW; remove that, as it should be, then renewables would revert to being the province of cranks and fuckwits.

  110. brc

    So the argument here seems to be that the system should just be built to support the peak power usage? Ok, fine. But the problem with this is that at the moment, the cost of this is passed on to everyone, so those who don’t use a lot of power during the (handful of) peak periods during the year, are subsiding those who do.

    No. The argument is that everything has to be built to peak load, electricity is no different.

    Gillard is hoisting the ‘peak load’ flag to try and cover up for renewables and subsidies, and it’s a crock. End of story.

  111. Chris

    If you don’t believe my “claim” then show me the numbers to disprove it. Show me that industry uses less electricity during the day than households.

    That’s not what you claimed. You claimed that residential usage was at its lowest during the day. I disputed that.

    But it’s bloody hard to get that thermal mass in the removals van when you move out of your rented house, eh?

    Well if you’re desperate you can use water :-) But yea renters are generally screwed. In many cases there’s no way for them to make reasonable estimations of the energy efficiency of a rental place before actually living in it. So as a result there’s little to no incentive for landlords to invest in energy efficient design/features for rental houses an get an extra return on their investment.

    And on busy days, the automatic doors give off a fresh blast of cool air into the carpark, while ingesting an equal amount of hot, humid air to fix up. Same as all those 30 and 40 storey glass office towers.

    Many of the shopping malls and a few offices I’ve visited in the US have airlock like designs (you walk through one set of automated doors followed by another) or those rotating doors to help keep the cool/warm air inside. Perhaps historically power has been so cheap it hasn’t been worthwhile to design that into Australian malls?

    What needs to happen (and this is part of what’s been proposed), is that the retail price for a particular interval reflects the wholesale price. This achieves two things…firstly those who use power when it’s most expensive to produce (because peaking plants have to be brought online, for example) pay more for the privilege, and by having this pricing signal, it should flatten out demand a little…and guess what that means? The overall cost is less! The free market at work, it’s wonderful, you guys should get onto this, it’s great.

    Yes, and a pre-requisite for retailers to be able to do this is smart meters.

    Baseload power is continuous power; it has to be; it’s cost is the same whether it is used at midnight or midday; as I have explained peak power is a regular part of that baseload; per unit of power it should be cheaper because of economies of scale.

    It costs the same to generate, but the generators certainly charge a lot more for it during high demand periods than low demand periods because they can (no I don’t see anything wrong with that).

  112. Many of the shopping malls and a few offices I’ve visited in the US have airlock like designs (you walk through one set of automated doors followed by another) or those rotating doors to help keep the cool/warm air inside. Perhaps historically power has been so cheap it hasn’t been worthwhile to design that into Australian malls?

    JFTR, residential electricity prices in the States (except California & Hawaii) at the moment are as little as half what they are in Oz, and have always for the past 20+ years been cheaper. Australia is actually a pretty expensive place to live, and y’all are DELIBERATELY raising the price of what’s considered an essential service in most of the first world even further.

    To “cool the globe” and “stop extreme weather”.

    Y’all cray.

  113. Alice

    Gab

    Of course industry uses more energy than households in the day time.

    What fool suggested otherwise?

  114. Alice

    We could go back to burning peat and coal like they did for thousands of years. Man needs heat and energy for basic survival.
    If we dont get it watch every tree get cut down to be burnt fast – any better off?

  115. cohenite

    Chris, you ignored my main point; if it wasn’t for AGW we would not be discussing renewables.

    Do you have a reason for using renewables instead of fossils and nuclear other than AGW?

  116. JC

    No, many will be using a/c systems (often because of poor house design and/or very short term planning, but that’s another story). That’s why I don’t believe your claim of:

    Oh okay Einstein so lets then demolish 70% of the Australian housing stock so people use less A/c.

    is true (with perhaps the exception of really hot summer nights).

    Horace, it was 38 degrees with a hot wind in Melbourne last week. There’s no amount of good house design that would prevent the use of a/c.

    Stop being an unfathomable tool.

    We use A/c because it’s a great thing, possibly one of the most important inventions in human history.

    Shut up and go away.

  117. Alice

    Mind you if solar is cleaner they some idiot government should invest in solar pergolas and roofs (whole roofs) and it whould go in by street and every house so a whole region benefits….time for some big plans (we did build railways and sewerage systems and kerbed and guttered whole road networks once upon a time – we have more hands on deck now so why not? i dont get it. All governments are so afraid of a big plan change)
    Tinkering round the edges with subsidies and carrots and completely dicky ideas wont get us there…

    Im sick to death of the tinkering and tweaking and we want to provide “incentives for the market to do it” and piddlingly little ideas by governments (really completely piddlingly little ideas because they are so in thrall to large industries that have the most control over governments themselves).

    No we are not free even to advance in a technological sense and our governments really let us down now. I think the reality is that the puppet governments we have are too scared to move. Too scared to do the project themselves. Too scared to hire expertise. Too scared to upset ratings agencies. Too scared of upsetting the status quo of industries that may not like it. Just plain too scared to make big decisions so none ever get made?.

    At least the government that built our railways had the balls to borrow big time from the UK.
    Do you think the population of the time in Australia was screaming “oh no government deficits! Help!! Call in Standard and Poors???”"

    I am going to get clobbered for this comment. I just know it.

  118. We use A/c because it’s a great thing, possibly one of the most important inventions in human history.

    Extreme heat and extreme cold sicken and kill.

    Which is a more efficient way to mitigate that: cheap, reliable on-demand electricity so that people can keep their homes at healthful temperatures, or depriving people (especially the less-well-off) of cheap reliable on-demand electricity and making them suffer the ill effects, in the weird and unfounded hope that we can “cool the globe” (and presumably warm it as well, in winter) through reduced man-made carbon dioxide emissions?

  119. cohenite

    I am going to get clobbered for this comment. I just know it.

    Im sick to death of the tinkering and tweaking

    Tinkering and Tweaking renewables.

    $13 billion; some tinkering and tweaking.

  120. Gab

    Coal plants are the most polluting of all power stations and the World Resources Institute (WRI) identified 1,200 coal plants in planning across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India. The capacity of the new plants add up to 1,400GW to global greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of adding another China – the world’s biggest emitter. India is planning 455 new plants compared to 363 in China, which is seeing a slowdown in its coal investments after a vast building programme in the past decade.

    But yeah lets slug the consumers in Australia with higher electricity prices so they won’t use aircons on hot days because Australia’s 1.3% of global CO2 emissions is such a massive threat to da glowbull warmening.

  121. Old Fridgie

    We use A/c because it’s a great thing, possibly one of the most important inventions in human history.

    No doubt JC the invention of refrigeration and as an extension air conditioning is one of the main corner stones of our modern society.

    Fuck me what would I do if I couldn’t keep my booze cold and drink it in the pleasant coolness of an A/C?

  122. JC

    I am going to get clobbered for this comment. I just know it.

    You should be… clubbed like a baby seal. It’s a stupid comment Alice.

    Do you think the population of the time in Australia was screaming “oh no government deficits! Help!! Call in Standard and Poors???””

    IT wasn’t easy running deficits under a gold standard, you tool. You had to have a good reason and show the worthwhile nature of the project. In a lot of cases sovereign debt financing was also non-recourse in those days.

    The NBN would be laughed out of the bankers offices.

  123. Mind you if solar is cleaner they some idiot government should invest in solar pergolas and roofs (whole roofs) and it whould go in by street and every house so a whole region benefits….time for some big plans

    You’re a chucklehead, Alice.

    IF SOLAR WERE MORE EFFICIENT AND MORE RELIABLE THAN CONVENTIONAL SOURCES PEOPLE WOULD ADOPT IT ON THEIR OWN.

    Did the government go in to whole communities, shoot all the horses and then invent, manufacture and hand out free motorcars? DID THEY?

    Little baby cheeses.

  124. JC

    Old Fridgie

    This shit ought to be celebrated. In fact there ought to be international ac and refrigeration day.

  125. JC

    IF SOLAR WERE MORE EFFICIENT AND MORE RELIABLE THAN CONVENTIONAL SOURCES PEOPLE WOULD ADOPT IT ON THEIR OWN.

    Well no shit Sherlock. But it’s not and never will be. The people pushing solar and wind ought to be up on fraud charges and their gains taken back into the public purse as fines.

  126. Gab

    But it’s not and never will be.

    You can’t say that, JC. Technological advancements and all that, I mean the solar cell has been around since 1883. You just have to give them more time. We can’t rush these things.

  127. Tal

    Here we go again,this scheme will work I know it will,this scheme just can’t go wrong.
    All you arseholes, Joe and CL I’m looking at you, are negative and well, well it’s not nice so stop it

  128. This shit ought to be celebrated. In fact there ought to be international ac and refrigeration day.

    I remember a to-do at the NC State Fair when I was younger in celebration of the 100th anniversary of their having electric light.

    Imagine that – celebrating progress. That’d probably be a hate-crime against Gaia these days.

  129. .

    I am going to get clobbered for this comment. I just know it.

    Because you’re a fucking idiot, Alice.

  130. JC

    Here we go again,this scheme will work I know it will,this scheme just can’t go wrong.
    All you arseholes, Joe and CL I’m looking at you, are negative and well, well it’s not nice so stop it

    LOl… It’s a bizarro universe, Tal. She slapper has the midas touch, but in bizarro world it turns to shit, but she thinks it’s gold.

  131. .

    You’re a chucklehead, Alice.

    IF SOLAR WERE MORE EFFICIENT AND MORE RELIABLE THAN CONVENTIONAL SOURCES PEOPLE WOULD ADOPT IT ON THEIR OWN.

    Did the government go in to whole communities, shoot all the horses and then invent, manufacture and hand out free motorcars? DID THEY?

    Little baby cheeses.

    Lulz…

  132. cohenite

    I mean the solar cell has been around since 1883. You just have to give them more time. We can’t rush these things.

    Actually the stupid things have been around since Archimedes.

  133. JC

    Cohenite

    Question:

    Can solar actually be in the deep future as large planes in stationary orbit sending down energy?

    Is it feasible to access the sun’s energy in the vacuum of space?

  134. SteveC

    Save energy; what the fuck are we saving it for?

    You really aren’t good at paying attention are you cohenite?
    Save energy, or simply move the energy use, to reduce the peak (or spread out the peak), to reduce the cost of the network required to deliver the peak.
    If we used your policy for roads we would have 16 lane freeways just to make sure there was no peak hour crush.

  135. Tal

    SteveC,do you know anything about power generation and distribution?
    I’m not taking the piss or looking for a gotta ok?

  136. blogstrop

    SteveC we covered the idiocy of spreading of people’s mealtimes earlier. You just do this to be a pest, and you are.

  137. JC

    SteveC

    Most of the world wakes up in the morning and goes to work. That’s what human’s do you arsehole. Spreading the peak would mean that regular working hours could longer operate.

    In addition we’d be out of work on cloudy still days.

    You really are a fucking moron.

    Our energy production and distribution needs to cater to our needs, not the other way around, you asshat.

    You’re such an objectionable douchebag.

  138. .

    Save energy, or simply move the energy use, to reduce the peak (or spread out the peak), to reduce the cost of the network required to deliver the peak.

    Or build more.

    If we used your policy for roads we would have 16 lane freeways just to make sure there was no peak hour crush.

    This is irrelevant.

  139. JC

    SteveC we covered the idiocy of spreading of people’s mealtimes earlier

    Lol… those with an even home address would eat dinner at 6 PM for the week. Those who are odd numbers eat at 8 Pm. This will be policed.

    These people… the steves are truly fucking evil fucks. They basically think they can organize our lives… even when we can use toilets.

  140. cohenite

    JC:

    Can solar actually be in the deep future as large planes in stationary orbit sending down energy?

    Is it feasible to access the sun’s energy in the vacuum of space?

    Geosynchronous satellites beaming collected solar energy to earth in microwave form have been mooted from the 1960′s by a guy called Peter Glaser; farsighted projects like this bit the dust when in 1998 Hansen got up and started telling lies about AGW.

    Steve says:

    You really aren’t good at paying attention are you cohenite?
    Save energy, or simply move the energy use, to reduce the peak (or spread out the peak), to reduce the cost of the network required to deliver the peak.
    If we used your policy for roads we would have 16 lane freeways just to make sure there was no peak hour crush.

    You’re a fucking troll steve; one of those dickheads who throws some bullshit, bides his time when the bullshit is revealed to be bullshit and then comes back with the same bullshit recycled.

    Your 16 lane freeway analogy is straight out of that lying Gillard’s latest distraction about “gold-plating”

    For those who are interested a rebuttal is here.

  141. Splatacrobat

    Can solar actually be in the deep future as large planes in stationary orbit sending down energy?

    Is it feasible to access the sun’s energy in the vacuum of space?

    It’s probably feasible but the problem we have now is the amount of space junk that is floating around the orbit today would more than likely destroy large solar panels.

    Picture of space junk

  142. duncanm

    I dunno why anyone here thinks they’ll seriously be on the receiving end of any $250 handout.

    You are mostly productive members of society (well, except for the obvious exceptions like SfB).. and so you will be well above the income threshold for the handout to help ‘the battlers’.

    Wealth redistribution and vote buying. That’s all it is.

  143. Gab

    it’s “up to $250″, Duncanm and I agree with the rest of your comment. Mind you, gillard has this pegged for 2014.

  144. Tracey

    “They basically think they can organize our lives… even when we can use toilets.”

    Oh FFS, you’re not still flushing are you? I thought we were all sufficiently educated about that selfish indulgence during the drought.

  145. .

    …and they wrote that “funny” educational play…paying for water is BAD. Rationing water is GOOD.

    Except for Her Majesty’s Government, the rule is, We ration, you pay.

  146. Alice

    I told you Id get clobbered JC!!

  147. We’ve got coal for 1000 years. Who gives a shit?

    CL at 11.16am (or thereabouts). Wontcha think of the children??

  148. You’re a chucklehead, Alice. That’s why.

  149. Alice

    Before I get clobbered again JC

    You said

    “IF SOLAR WERE MORE EFFICIENT AND MORE RELIABLE THAN CONVENTIONAL SOURCES PEOPLE WOULD ADOPT IT ON THEIR OWN.

    Well fuck me but there was a state in California or somewhere like that in the US before the US givernment built the grid that had a THRIVING solar energy system.
    Hey guess what? The US government built the grid and encourages everyone to connect to it no dount to hep pay for the construction costs. So for every new house that was built they could chuck in a free “electric” hot water system. So the people who bought houses realised they were getting a “free electric item” and guess what?? One free electric item was all it took to have the whole new house use everything electic therafter..

    wonder if we handed out free solar somethings to new housing developments whether we wouldnt soon get a whole district running on solar?

    Dont laugh JC or clobber me. Its not as stupid as you think.

    That one free electric hot water tank killed a busy solar system in this uS state…killed by governments wanting to build the electricity grid and wanting to hook people up to it?
    Solar was fine till the grid and the promise of a fee hot water tank signed them up to perpetual electricity use in their homes. Bit of a shame and caused by you guess it government!!!

  150. Alice

    spelling showing signs of my temper yet again
    Bugger two finger typing. Its just not fast enough is it?

  151. Alice

    LOL sdog. I am a chucklehead but I rather like your friendly little doggie persona – really! Its kinda cute.

  152. Cold-Hands

    Can solar actually be in the deep future as large planes in stationary orbit sending down energy?

    Is it feasible to access the sun’s energy in the vacuum of space?

    It’s certainly feasible but not economic. Photovoltaic cells will have to become lighter and more efficient before this approach comes within a bull’s roar of cheap fossil fuels. Setting up (automated?) construction facilities on the Moon would lower the cost somewhat, as most of the cost is in getting the payload out of Earth’s gravity well. Transmission losses would be immense and the safety hazards of tight beam microwave radiation scary. The failsafes would have to be ironclad before any such system went live, otherwise you’d face towns being broiled if a beam went off target.

  153. Alice

    ewww towns being broiled?

  154. Alice

    Oh Dotty is here and getting hot under the collar – how old are you Dotty of you wwere at the forefront of microeconomuc reform and the fall of communism. I think you are a half grumpy old dude!

  155. Solar was fine till the grid and the promise of a fee hot water tank signed them up to perpetual electricity use in their homes.

    Most homes were connected to the grid for electric light long before electric hot water systems became common. Gas is actually more commonly used in the US for hot water today than electric anyway.

    Oh well.

  156. Alice

    Listen Dot and JC

    You should all listen to Queen Gab

    “You can’t say that, JC. Technological advancements and all that, I mean the solar cell has been around since 1883. You just have to give them more time. We can’t rush these things.

    Only women have sense. Men want to argue in black and white right and wrong in the here and now. Made for arguing they are. Bloody troublemakers a lot of the time.

  157. SteveC

    Tal, what I know is the network needs to be built to be able to deliver peak load, whether the load is being delivered or not. Power generation can be brought online as required with peaking power plants. Network delivery capacity cannot be added quickly.
    cohenite dismissed this discussion earlier, as he tends to do when he doesn’t agree. After all, cohenite is clearly smarter than the rest of the world combined. You on the other hand may find these documents interesting:
    http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=electricityprices_ctte/electricityprices/report/c05.htm
    http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/electricity/draft

  158. Alice

    Look how long it took to discover the earth was round – dont give up Gab. We will get there but usually not till the mess is big enough. People still have to go to work and use energy along the way.

  159. Mundi

    Smart meters will hurt the poor the most. You can’t move the time of family dinner to an off peak period. The poorer the family the less they can move from off peak, basically because there use is already as low as possible.

    We have dams were we can get upwards of 30% efficiency pumping water to a higher dam, then gaining it back with a turbines. It’s almost at the tipping point of feasibility for qld peak vs off peak. Pump water uphill on off peak, and generate off it downhill on peak. If smart meters come in I will be able to make a fortune, as I’m told the peak:off peak price ratio could soon surpass 6:1.

  160. Alice

    Ok sdoggie

    Passive solar houses were in such demand in the US in 1947 bas result of prolonged WW2 energy shortages that someone published a book “your solar houses”

    http://www.californiasolarcenter.org/history_pv.html

    So you see we should have let Enron go on doing what it was doing stuffing up electric power and we might have more solar houses now?

    Here it is sdoggie – history of solar hot water heaters

  161. Sure, you could make the MCG half the size if you made the cricketers play with half a team and stretched tests out to 10 days.

    Sure, you could halve the size of highways if half the population were instructed to drive in the middle of the night.

    Sure, you could halve the size of an office building if half the workforce worked a night shift.

    Thanks, brc, that reminded me of something I read a few years back about how the Communists in Russia had tried to kill off the family unit. They took children from parents, scheduled their working hours so that one worked days the other nights, that sort of thing.

    Needless to say it was counter-productive and far too damaging for the workforce and was abandoned as a policy. (sorry, I couldn’t find the link)

    Anyway, I went looking for it and found this nugget:

    The family and marriage ARE changing institutions that reflect, in an overall way, the basic economic relations in society and changes in these relations. This means real things under capitalism where economic relations are capitalist relations—where there is socialized production but private appropriation. Where the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the daily necessities of life and everything else is socially produced. The production of these things requires the work of hundreds of thousands and millions of people, sometimes in different parts of the globe… BUT the fruits of all this labor are privately taken and owned by a class of capitalists who own and control the factories, capital and other means necessary for production.

    In capitalist society, there is the dominance of patriarchy, in which males control the family, as well as all other major institutions in society. And while reforms under capitalism have been fought for and achieved, this has not fundamentally changed the fact that women are systematically exploited, oppressed and subordinated. But the basis for real emancipation, for utterly abolishing this oppression, exists. The theoretical understanding of this was developed by Marx and Engels and then shown by the experience of socialist society.

    It’s absolute tosh and on the one hand nothing to do with power supplies, but when you look at it from the perspective of control, then it’s quite interesting.

    Chris is all about behaviour modification via power bills, at the expense of (potentially) people’s lives. Indeed, when I’ve asked socialists about what they would replace the power stations with, I’ve gotten waffle in reply about how we have to do something without any corresponding solutions.

    Other than “renewables”.

    It’s also deadly tosh, as the last sentence I’ve pasted shows. These people believe that marxism/socialism can work. It’s been demonstrated to work, even.

    Well, yes, when everyone is living in the same level of squalor. (Apart from the “elites” who must ensure that quotas are met, of course).

  162. cohenite

    SteveC; you have posted those bits of government bullshit before and I responded when you did with some real graphs about the relationship between baseload and peak demand

    I repeat; baseload is the minimum demand; peaks are fluctuations within that base which represent seasonal and daily recurrent variations in demand.

    A good explanation of this relationship between base and peak is here.

    The takehome point is this; from the production viewpoint using fossils there is no difference between base and peak because as TonyOz explains the fossils are kept on spinning reserve 24/7; at minimum base, some of that spinning reserve is not used; at peak or what it should really be called, maximum base, the reserve is used as needed.

    No extra cost is involved because the machinery is already running; just a switch to draw down the running reserve.

    What Gillard and the RET and the greens and the the assorted fuckwits want to do is reduce the running reserve; the result will be drastically altering lifestyle: no aircon when hot and cold; removal of the accoutrements.

    The lie is the government thinks or wants the suckers to think that demand management, smart meters etc, will enable this to happen.

    This is bullshit, as TonyOz explains, because the social infrastructure, everything from hospitals, large buildings, to transport, cannot reduce further without shutting down, not being available.

    There is no need for this to happen if you think AGW is a lie.

    Australia is an energy rich nation but we are pauperising ourselves on the alter of green ideology.

  163. wreckage

    there was a state in California or somewhere like that in the US before the US givernment built the grid that had a THRIVING solar energy system.
    Hey guess what? The US government built the grid and encourages everyone to connect to it no dount to hep pay for the construction costs. So for every new house that was built they could chuck in a free “electric” hot water system.

    Yes, and there was a car that ran on water but the Rockefellers patented it and then shut it down.

    Look, passive heating and cooling are awesome. Once a house is built right it just costs less to run, forever. But you have to choose between that kind of climate appropriate design on the one hand, and medium density housing on the other.

  164. dismissive

    It’s funny. Quite a few years ago, not really having spent much time on the AGW phenomenon, I decided, in my wisdom, that there were 2 possibilities.

    1) It was crap
    2) It was real
    (I didn’t have time for shades of grey. I was busy.)

    So I thought if this is real, then people (ubiquitous term for entities over which I have no control) would first fix electricity that was centrally generated to make it the best thing for dealing with the problem.

    So the best thing was to move my house to 100% electricity. Dumping gas heating and … you get the picture.

    If it wasn’t real, no harm but probably a small increase in costs which would be annoying but OK.

    So we did it. 100% electrical in the home. Don’t I look clever at the moment.

  165. SteveC

    The takehome point is this; from the production viewpoint using fossils there is no difference between base and peak

    Which is why I said you don’t pay attention. I said the cost of the network required to deliver the peak is reduced if you reduce the peak.
    Quote: “the network needs to be built to be able to deliver peak load,
    On both occasions I clearly stated that, but you typically choose what you want to hear and argue a point I didn’t make.
    The discussion is about reducing the cost of electricity, not CO2 emisisons. It would really help if you would pay attention.

  166. Chris

    Oh okay Einstein so lets then demolish 70% of the Australian housing stock so people use less A/c.

    I’m not advocating that. There’s often quite cheap modifications that can be done to existing houses. Higher energy prices probably will increase demand and awareness around energy efficiency for new housing stock. When I built my house a few years ago the ignorance amongst many of the bulk home builders around efficient design was surprising.

    Horace, it was 38 degrees with a hot wind in Melbourne last week. There’s no amount of good house design that would prevent the use of a/c.

    I was talking about use of a/c during the day there. 38 degrees is certainly no barrier to not using a/c during the day. It commonly gets to 40+ in Adelaide often for a week in a row and in a well designed house its simply not necessary to use a/c during the day. With sufficient insulation, thermal mass and shading of windows and walls you can just seal up the house and wait until the evening to before cooling it down again in preparation for another hot day.

    We use A/c because it’s a great thing, possibly one of the most important inventions in human history.

    I don’t know about the most important, but it is very important. Unfortunately many modern house designs have chosen to ignore design methods which passively keep the house cooler – ie the modern boxes with black roofs, minimal insulation and unshaded north facing windows. Its no surprise that the occupants discover they need large a/c systems running 24/7 during summer.

    Look, passive heating and cooling are awesome. Once a house is built right it just costs less to run, forever. But you have to choose between that kind of climate appropriate design on the one hand, and medium density housing on the other.

    Probably more difficult, but not impossible for medium density housing. See Christie’s Walk as an example:

    http://www.urbanecology.org.au/eco-cities/christie-walk/

  167. JC

    When I built my house a few years ago the ignorance amongst many of the bulk home builders around efficient design was surprising.

    That’s because home builders are meant to build. Architects (not designers) know this stuff. You’re accusing the wrong people. It’s almost like expecting a nurse to know how to treat a brain tumor.

    Look modern homes have much more glass. No matter what do around that, glass is a shockingly bad insulator. The only way around it is to use less glass , which then makes a home darker than it should be. And don’t try the opinion that there’s new types of glass as still only marginally increases improvement and it’s fucking expensive.

  168. dd

    There’s often quite cheap modifications that can be done to existing houses. Higher energy prices probably will increase demand and awareness around energy efficiency for new housing stock.

    Wouldn’t it just be easier and simpler to build a couple more power stations?
    Rather than all this fucking around with building regulations and whatnot.

  169. There’s often quite cheap modifications that can be done to existing houses.

    How much did the taxpayer-funded home insulation scheme cost again?

    Both in phase 1, to put it in, and in phase 2, to take it out again?

    And what of the opportunity costs of those billions of dollars?

    All to “cool the globe” and “stop extreme weather now!”.

  170. I would really like someone to explain to me why it’s such A Good Thing(tm) that electricity costs ordinary working families in Australia almost double what it does those in the Carolinas.

    What is the point? What were you hoping to accomplish by artificially hiking prices of an essential element of living so? Yes, yes – to make people USE LESS! USE LESS!! For some abstract benefit which is…? And how will you measure when/whether you’ve accomplished that, and what the costs & benefits of the whole scam were?

    The whole focus on putting expensive inefficient boutique “low-carbon” [sic] energy in the mix tells me that the goal is to STOP GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATECHANGE/EXTREME WEATHER NOOOOOOOOOW! But seriously, how can you all still cling to that, really? That whole dog done crawled back under the porch and went back to sleep.

    So for what benefit are you deliberately making less-well-off Australian working families and fixed-income pensioners suffer?

  171. brc

    Wouldn’t it just be easier and simpler to build a couple more power stations?
    Rather than all this fucking around with building regulations and whatnot.

    The objective, dd, is not to increase the standard of living, but to pretend to use less power and to pretend that that has no effect on living standards.

    I was at the archetypal BBQ when someone was complaining of brownouts in Melbourne during heat waves. An opinionated person opined that ‘people with air conditioners should be forced to buy solar panels’

    I informed them that it would be a hefty set of solar panels that could feed a 13kw air conditioner. In reality, what was really needed was another power station.

    Amazingly enough, it was the school age people there that agreed with me. I guess they hadn’t had their head filled with postmodern gibberish yet. As they say, the best way to test a business plan is to explain it to a 9 year old.

    All this dancing around trying to use less electricity is futile and costly. Just use more electricity. Concentrate on particle emissions and real pollution. It really is just fine. Australia is not even a rounding error on the global scale. Nobody really cares what Australia does, in the same way we don’t care what Finland or Oman do.

    The truth is that home insulation and the like are just gold plating for peak demand – for around half the year you don’t need it, and it’s only in extreme cold and extreme heat that it really makes it worthwhile.

    I agree that much house design is extremely poor-in Queensland smart, climate suited designs got pushed out by Victorian box building a long time ago. The average person just doesn’t give a toss though. They just want a lock-up place to live and are more interested in fitting in a media room than the overhang of the eaves.

  172. wreckage

    Point with the scheme was, sdog, people were getting around to it anyway. no headlines to be had in

    “People fix stuff at their own pace; free market working as expected”

    The scheme flooded the market with shysters and opportunists and killed several stable insulation businesses.

    Passive heating / cooling is great, insulation is fantastic, but most people having put up all their capital and most of their working life for home ownership are not in a position to bulldoze it and go again! When they’ve built house out to the very edges of the block because that’s the incentive, cause the land costs so much, they can’t do much about adding verandahs either. And then there’s me; perfectly aware of passive heating / cooling but simply unable to stump up the cash.

    Jacking up electricity prices is targeting people who can’t do anything about it to solve a problem that even the alarmists admit doesn’t exist; heating and cooling for Aussie houses is not even a blip on the graph of global outputs.

    Finally, the real and undeniable problem here is that raising electricity prices is government policy, and so is bringing them back down.

    Make up your fucking mind Julia.

  173. Chris

    That’s because home builders are meant to build. Architects (not designers) know this stuff. You’re accusing the wrong people. It’s almost like expecting a nurse to know how to treat a brain tumor.

    Actually building designers *are* meant to know this stuff as they have to comply with existing building standards. Many stock houses these days simply aren’t architect designed (its not required).

    And don’t try the opinion that there’s new types of glass as still only marginally increases improvement and it’s fucking expensive.

    I have a lot of north facing glass in my house so it naturally stays warm in winter. To offset the heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer through the glass I upgraded the windows to double glazed which significantly improves their thermal efficiency (as an aside you still want good window furnishings as they make a significant difference). The cost of the upgrade was less than 2% of the total cost of the house and was only a little bit more than the cost of the central heating which I didn’t need to buy. Double glazed windows are not that more expensive if you install them when you build your house and would probably be a lot cheaper if more people used them (they are much cheaper overseas because of production volumes to the point where people actually import windows from overseas). They are horrendously expensive to retrofit to a house however.

    Wouldn’t it just be easier and simpler to build a couple more power stations?
    Rather than all this fucking around with building regulations and whatnot.

    Well that’s the main strategy we’ve been taking so far. Building design based on an abundance of cheap electricity. Design standards/ratings are important for renters though who can’t currently make reasonable judgements about the energy efficiency of a house they are considering renting

    btw I do think the existing ways they’ve been trying to encourage energy efficiency in building design is flawed. I think they should concentrate on aspects which are expensive to retrofit (like double glazing, orientation, sarking (so cheap to install when you build yet so expensive to retrofit) etc) and not take into account things like solar PV or hot water which are cheap to put on later.

    How much did the taxpayer-funded home insulation scheme cost again?

    Both in phase 1, to put it in, and in phase 2, to take it out again?

    Again much cheaper just to do it right the first time, but wasn’t done for many reasonable historical reasons. Not much excuse for houses these days though. And just what percentage was actually ripped out? Anyway I’d agree there were a lot of very dodgy commercial installers out there that were not properly vetted/regulated by the government. I don’t think the scheme should ever have been a 100% rebate either as it led to home owners not really caring about quality.

  174. JC

    Actually building designers *are* meant to know this stuff as they have to comply with existing building standards.

    Not true. Most designers know the code. Most of them would not be able to explain the reasons other than made up pap or go much past that because they aren’t trained.

    I have a lot of north facing glass in my house so it naturally stays warm in winter.

    Great so you will need lots of air conditioning in the summer, or you pretend you don’t.

    To offset the heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer through the glass I upgraded the windows to double glazed which significantly improves their thermal efficiency (as an aside you still want good window furnishings as they make a significant difference).

    Makes hardly any difference in the scheme of things. Single glazed windows rate about 4 on an American insulation standard of 18. It goes to about 7 with double glazing. Big fucking deal when 18 is the top. You’re kidding yourself if you think it’s impacting much. Certainly more so than single glazing but overall glass is crap for insulation.

  175. wreckage

    Chris, if you’re saying the focus should be on incentives for builders to include / improve things that are hard to do later, I wholly agree. Also:

    I don’t think the scheme should ever have been a 100% rebate either as it led to home owners not really caring about quality.

    People were already improving their insulation, it just needed a tiny tweak like a tax write-off or somesuch to accelerate it a bit. Alternatively, go around insulating the pensioner’s houses slowly, so you don’t crap up the marketplace.

    But Headlines Kev just couldn’t stand the quiet, cautious approach.

  176. wreckage

    Great so you will need lots of air conditioning in the summer, or you pretend you don’t.

    Nah if you set the eaves up right it works surprisingly well. And it’s not so much the tops and bottoms of temp where you notice it, it’s when your house is comfy in early spring when everyone else’s is cold. I just moved out of a 50′s build cottage where the windows were set up properly and facing north. Lovely little house, and the trick with the depth of the eaves worked really well.

  177. cohenite

    Steve says:

    Which is why I said you don’t pay attention. I said the cost of the network required to deliver the peak is reduced if you reduce the peak.

    You’re a fucking idiot; it is NOT the peak which has to be reduced; as I said the peak is really base maximum which is supplied by spinning reserve; since the reserve is going all the time regardless it costs nothing when the base maximum/peak occasionally requires the spinning reserve to be utilised.

    To reduce costs you would have to reduce base demand itself; that cannot be done by the smart meter, time shifting solution because the base is the minimum demand at the current population base and SOL; to reduce base requires an overall energy reduction and a per capita reduction.

    The bottom-line is use less, much less.

    Again you ignore the basic issue:

    If AGW is not real what reason is there for doing that? You really are a troll.

  178. Chris

    Nah if you set the eaves up right it works surprisingly well. And it’s not so much the tops and bottoms of temp where you notice it, it’s when your house is comfy in early spring when everyone else’s is cold.

    Yes, the modern house trend of having no eaves causes signficant heat issues for houses in summer. People try to compensate by using tinted glass, but its much better to never have the sun hit the glass in the first place. And tinted glass really degrades the amount of heat gain you can achieve in winter – so not only do people end up having to artificially cool in summer but also then heat it in winter.

    I just moved out of a 50′s build cottage where the windows were set up properly and facing north. Lovely little house, and the trick with the depth of the eaves worked really well.

    It is really worth looking at houses that were designed prior to widespread availability of a/c systems for energy efficiency ideas. I have very small eaves on the north side, but have a pergola attached with shade cloth that runs horizontally. So in winter I can pull it right back and have a lot of sun enter the windows and in summer have 4 metre eaves which provides a shade to windows and walls and a nice sheltered area for my daughter to play under. Where spring/autumn days are unusually cold or warm I can tailor the length of the “effective eave” to what is appropriate for the day.

    With lots of the thermal mass the Spring/Autumn period is a really nice time as I can often just leave many of the windows open 24/7. The thermal mass moderates the indoor temperature and I get the benefit of fresh air running through the house.

    People were already improving their insulation, it just needed a tiny tweak like a tax write-off or somesuch to accelerate it a bit. Alternatively, go around insulating the pensioner’s houses slowly, so you don’t crap up the marketplace.

    Yea I agree. To encourage it slowly but steadily it probably would have been better to only allow the subsidy within say 3 months of purchasing a house. That avoids the boom/bust cycle that the ALP seem to like with their subsidy scheme and also hopefully people are already doing electrical checks before/after buying their house anyway. There’s too many people out there who think they know enough to do their own (illegal) electrical/data wiring and then sell their houses without warning the buyers.

  179. SteveC

    as I said the peak is really base maximum which is supplied by spinning reserve; since the reserve is going all the time regardless it costs nothing when the base maximum/peak occasionally requires the spinning reserve to be utilised.

    cohenite can you comprehend at all the difference between producing power and delivering power? spinning reserver has got nothing to do with delivery. You do know the network has a capacity limit on how much power can be delivered (not produced) at any point in time, don’t you?

  180. 3d1k

    Can only reiterate Warwick McKibbin’s warning that the full flow on costs associated with the carbon price would not be experienced until twelve months post implementation. He also maintains Treasury modelling seriously flawed – any one interested go the McKibbin’s page at Lowy Institute.

    Just had a few hours without power here in Perth – is this the electricity supplier reminding that we are most appreciative of investment in ‘poles and wires’ to carry peak loads – 38 degrees here today!

    (Probably shouldn’t say this but the outage reminds me of when I was a kid – stinking hot, running under the sprinkler in the garden and bedding down for the night on the verandah – that was summer)

  181. .

    cohenite can you comprehend at all the difference between producing power and delivering power? spinning reserver has got nothing to do with delivery. You do know the network has a capacity limit on how much power can be delivered (not produced) at any point in time, don’t you?

    So if Julia has imposed roughly an extra 16% on our power bills through the carbon tax/ETS and the RETs, and wants to force/cajole industry to charge less, how can we pay for network capacity?

    There’s too many people out there who think they know enough to do their own (illegal) electrical/data wiring and then sell their houses without warning the buyers.

    WTF Chris?

  182. .

    So if Julia has imposed roughly an extra 16% on our power bills through the carbon tax/ETS and the RETs, and wants to force/cajole industry to charge less, how can we pay for network capacity?

    Smart meters?

    Think about it, how many less well off people have efficient cooling systems or well insulated homes?

    They’re going to “just go to the beach”? I bet that commute on shitty Cityrail trains is going to be really, really comfortable…

    How about when they come home at 7 pm and it’s still 36 degress outside? Are they going to enjoy family time hosing themselves down until 11 pm?

    Don’t be so ridiculous.

  183. Chris

    WTF Chris?

    Yea there’s people out there who run their own power points, light switches and especially data/phone cables because the actual process of doing it so is easy. But without knowing a lot of the regulations about how you run them to minimise electrocution risk in the future (which is why only licensed electricians are meant to do it, or at the very least sign off on the work).

    Think about it, how many less well off people have efficient cooling systems or well insulated homes?

    That’s true, but there’s also many poorer people who can’t afford to run a/c systems (other than perhaps fans) at all. And they end up subsidising people with a/c systems. There’s a reason that that much of the solar PV installations are going into middle class suburbs rather than the wealthy or poor ones. The wealthy don’t care much about electricity prices because its a small percentage of their expenditure. And the poor can’t afford the capital cost of them – or other improvements to their homes which in the long run would save them a lot of money.

  184. .

    Yea there’s people out there who run their own power points, light switches and especially data/phone cables because the actual process of doing it so is easy

    Generally if they don’t get blown up it will work, if their home has an RCD it is of little concern.

    That’s true, but there’s also many poorer people who can’t afford to run a/c systems (other than perhaps fans) at all. And they end up subsidising people with a/c systems.

    No, they don’t. They can’t afford it and their bills remain very low.

    There’s a reason that that much of the solar PV installations are going into middle class suburbs rather than the wealthy or poor ones.

    Yet you err on the side of the PM and her absurd talk of reducing bills by $250 whilst at the same time tackling “gold plating” and implementing the ETS and the RET.

    The wealthy don’t care much about electricity prices because its a small percentage of their expenditure. And the poor can’t afford the capital cost of them – or other improvements to their homes which in the long run would save them a lot of money.

    Which would infer the wealthy subsidise the middle class, as is what happens with income taxes, despite all of the tax loopholes.

  185. Chris

    Generally if they don’t get blown up it will work, if their home has an RCD it is of little concern.

    Except there’s a lot of houses out there without RCDs or RCDs not on lighting circuits. And if you get caught between active and neutral you’re still toast, RCD or not.

    No, they don’t. They can’t afford it and their bills remain very low.

    Yes they do because their standard kwh charge they pay includes the premium required for peak demand which they contribute little to. If you don’t use much more electricity during peak periods you are going to be better off with demand based pricing.

    Which would infer the wealthy subsidise the middle class, as is what happens with income taxes, despite all of the tax loopholes.

    Well the wealthy also gain from the flat pricing. The more you use electricity during the peak periods the more you have to gain from flat pricing rather than a time-based user-pays systems.

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