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222 responses to “Quicklink: Planet Under Pressure Conference”

  1. John D

    Brian: One of the things that I have often seen in industrial relations are situations where one side has the high ground for part of the argument while the other has the high ground for another part. When this happens both sides tend to talk past each other with each side concentrating on the the part where they have the high ground.

    I see a similar sort of process going on in the climate area. You have things like the “Planet Under Pressure” where people will be talking from the high ground of a long term future. Their strategy is to hope that more graphs, statements of impending doom etc will overwhelm their opponents.

    On the other hand, we have people for whom the high ground of the alleged negative effect that climate action will have in the much shorter term. Their strategy is to talk endlessly about costs and threats to jobs while taking potshots at a science that most find difficult to understand.

    If we want to get support for climate action we need to deal with the issues that the climate action reluctants are talking about. For example, we need to recognize widespread concern re job security.

    My particular take is that it is our inability to share the available work fairly combined with the WTO rules that make it hard for countries to protect jobs when they are greener than their competitors that is behind much of the short term insecurity.

  2. George in NZ

    And of course, among the very first things the incoming government does is to cut renewable energy funding.

    I hold every single person who voted LNP responsible for the entirely predictable outcomes we’ll see this century.

  3. Fran Barlow

    In a perverse way though, Newman’s action is one in the eye for Abbott. We don’t need green schemes because of carbon pricing he asserts. Abbott says he wants an end to carbon pricing and proposes his own ‘green schemes’ in exchange.

  4. Paul Norton

    John D, I’m not Brian. :)

  5. Tim Macknay

    Given the inability of the current generation of world political leaders to deal with the problem, it’s difficult to see how the 2 degree ‘safe limit’ can be maintained.

    It looks like we’ll be gearing up for at least another 4-5 degrees of warming by the time my granchildren are middle-aged. Presumably that means the 2 degree ‘dangerous’ threshold will come and go during my lifetime.

  6. John D

    Paul: Whoops. There are worse people to be mistaken for than Brian.

  7. John D

    Climate Spectator had this to say about Newman and environmental policy:

    The Australian has reported today that the recently elected Queensland Liberal National Party will withdraw $75 million in funding for the Solar Dawn solar thermal project – the successful tenderer under the federal government’s Solar Flagships program. The Solar Dawn consortium has yet to be informed by the Queensland government of such a decision.
    In addition, the Queensland government, as outlined in its policy document last week, intends to cancel a range of other Queensland state government programs aimed at mitigating carbon emissions because it argues they are redundant under the national emissions trading scheme. It has however, committed to retaining the solar feed-in tariff, although official policy documents make no mention of the precise rate – currently 44 cents/kWh.
    While a large number of state government greenhouse reduction programs are window dressing exercises, and therefore the clean energy sector should not be too concerned, there are some issues worth highlighting:
    — The LNP’s argument that it is removing the programs because they are “redundant” under a carbon tax is not actually true and is contrary with Campbell Newman’s stated intention, repeated ad infinitum, that he will seek to have the carbon price withdrawn. During the fixed price period of 2012-13 to 2014-15, Australia’s emissions are not subject to a hard cap, and any reductions made by the Queensland government will not blunt the level of the carbon price and the incentive for others to reduce their emissions. Also, if the carbon price is rescinded, as the LNP desires and Tony Abbott intends, then won’t all these programs no longer be redundant?
    — The solar PV industry needs something in writing confirming the government will keep the feed-in tariff rate at 44 cents. The LNP could halve the rate of the feed-in tariff and still claim that they have “retained the feed-in tariff”.
    — This event just reinforces how misguided grant tendering programs are for supporting renewable energy. So much can change or go wrong between when a project submits a tender and when it eventually gets built. If the federal government had elected to implement a feed-in tariff to support solar thermal and not commit to an individual project, then a number of solar thermal projects other than Solar Dawn would have continued to progress, and would be ready to step into the breach from Solar Dawn’s exit (if it occurs).

    Newman’s track record on the environment was quite reasonable with numerous initiatives, expanded natural gas bus fleet, pure green power for council consumption.
    I am going to wait and see here.

  8. BilB

    That is my take on it too, Tim Macknay.

    I know that there are excellent solutions for most of the problems and we have one with our GenIIPV system, the problem is that BUA has so much momentum that even if all of the solutions were on the shelf today the overun will take us to 3 degrees. The wasted eleven years of Howard and Bush were the vital years in which solutions should have been readied for introduction. I have no doubt that once the real damage is under way the conservative spin doctors will attempt to rewrite history to protect the name of the environmental action detractors.

  9. Ootz

    JohnD @7 “wait & see” well yes, however this is an interesting argument he uses re federal gov receives carbon tax, thus they can fund emission reductionNewman takes legal advice over Solar Dawn funding

    “But we’re not going to put money in because they’re the ones that are going to get this carbon tax from the start of the new financial year,” Mr Newman said.
    Mr Newman is dismantling Queensland’s carbon reduction schemes to save $270 million for the state budget. He has however, pledged to keep the solar feed-in tariff.
    On Tuesday, the new premier did not go as far as saying all state carbon reduction targets would be scrapped.
    But he said the federal government’s carbon tax was supposed to be the answer to “all of these problems”.

    On the other hand for ‘Can-Do’ promiss to freeze the state’s standard domestic tariff and reducing residential power bills by $120 a year looks shonky. Interesting facts about peak demand and smart meters in that link!

  10. Doug Evans

    John D @1
    What you say makes sense in so far as the two sides of the argument focus largely on different dimensions of the problem and to some extent talk past one another. However I think the fact that the deniers focus on the short term, rather than the cause of their denial, is by and large a symptom of something more profound.

    Human action is never solely, or even primarily, motivated by rational thought and argument. Our every action and thought contains inextricably entwined rational and emotional components. The emotional component of our actions and thought is engendered by our interpretation of the world through deeply embedded (and largely unconsciously held and applied) frames of reference.

    Our experience teaches us certain things about the world that shape who we are and our thoughts and actions in response to external stimulus. If for example our life experience has taught us that authority figures are prone to let us down, we are disinclined to accept their authority over us and rational argument is unlikely to overcome this.

    Thus the perception that the suffering resulting from the most recent global financial crisis was caused by the rampant unrestrained greed of the world’s financial institutions and that governments collectively failed to bring the perpetrators to justice almost certainly contributed to the falling belief in the climate crisis. The world’s climate scientists are relentlessly portrayed (and widely seen) as just another self serving elite out to screw ‘ordinary folks’.

    Many seem to believe that if only the objective facts about climate change were laid out with sufficient clarity, objection and obfuscation would melt away and effective action would follow. I don’t. We must speak the truth as we see it and hope to be believed. But to argue that a better structured public debate will somehow resolve the differences, misrepresents the situation by ignoring the emotional basis underlying both positions. I think if this was right we wouldn’t be having this discussion now.

    The facts about climate change are increasingly complete, widely known and readily available. But still we collectively avert our gaze from the truth. Although on the side of the science we must continue to advocate for what we know to be true, we will not carry the day until fear of the consequences of a threatening future is greater than the fear of departing from the known and understood world we currently live in.
    I’m afraid I doubt that this shift in public awareness will come soon enough to give us a chance of saving our bacon.

  11. John D

    Doug: I wasn’t arguing for a “better constructed public debate.” What I was really arguing was that supporters of climate action have to address the short term issues if they are to make much progress in a world that has been spooked by the GFC and the general economic fragility post GFC.

    If we are being honest about the short term, a world wide reduction in emissions to the level the science says is required is going to create some serious losers. This level of reduction means no more coal mining, no more oil or gas and conversion of cement making to a process that doesn’t involve the decomposition of carbonate minerals. Sure, the action required to get to this point should generate a raft of jobs but there is no guarantee that coal miners, for example, will be able to make the switch or that the new jobs won’t be created in other countries that do not want economic refugees from Australia.
    An underlying problem here is that economy is quite fragile. National growth has to be kept within a narrow band to avoid unacceptable unemployment or inflation. This fragility is one reason why people are so focused on the short term.
    The campaign for climate action would be easier if our economy was more robust. For example, with our current systems a 10% cut in the GDP would be a major crisis in part because unemployment would sky rocket. On the other hand, if we had a system that insisted that the available work had to be fairly shared most of us could handle a 10% pay cut in return for more time off.
    The WTO and their rigid rules also add to the fragility. Emission reduction will dis-proportionally affect different countries. It is no wonder that fear campaigns can babble on about losing jobs to other countries.
    Supporter of climate action need to review their strategies.

  12. Ootz

    Thanks JohnD and Doug, a very important discussion to be had and some valid points both of you are making. It does appear that there is a soft underbelly to our comparatively ‘strong’ economy. There are people struggling a well as perceived insecurity. The GFC surely has left a legacy and waning fortunes in certain economic sectors do not help. Long term careers for youth without the academic talent or desire to enter professional training are limited, particularly in the regions and so forth. Thus I agree with John, we can’t just ‘push’ people constantly, there have to be ‘pull’ factors. There have to be feasible small steps available with a certain reward for the average Jill and Jack on the street and in the back blocks. Some reward that addresses the what’s in it for me . At the moment our societal response to AGW is perceived as being thrashed out by bloody minded political gladiators in the hyper surreality of parliamentary media reports, kind of like the footy report minus the hardly normal breaks. Hardly inspiring stuff to get you out of the sofa.

    I agree too there has to be structural change within multinational and governmental level, including the WTO as John mentions, and corporate sector as well as in our individual way of living and aspirations. However, to formulate and achieve these we need clear objectives as a to argue, guide and measure these changes. Ultimately, and more so as the window of opportunity dwindles, we have to as a Nation rise to the challenge and mobilise our collective wit and resources akin to a war effort.

    War effort maybe the wrong metaphor, there is no enemy only survival, survival as humanity. There has to be a strong narrative, like that of a heroic efforts or quest of humanity in ancient times. Over at the CC71 thread I provided a link where Obama mentioned Columbus. This made me realise that the effort that is required is kind of like a journey. A journey that will discover and open up new worlds and opportunities. As humanity we have caterpillar like munched and pupped through the cabbage patch, now it is time to metamorphose. We have bravely climbed the jumping tower, now we have to take the plunge and make a splash.

  13. Doug Evans

    John D @ 11
    Thanks for your thoughtful response to my comment. Over the last 5 years or so during which I have been seriously involved with the climate change issue I have seen report after report stressing the economic and jobs advantages of the shift to a clean green economy alongside the climatic necessity of taking this path. Reports from consultants and NGOs. Articles in the main stream media and on the specialist blogs that we all read like Renew Economy, Climate Spectator and I suspect Larvatus Prodeo. These are supplemented by an equal coverage of the economic and jobs disadvantages of ‘business as usual’. The proponents of change have NOT ignored the short term jobs disruption and costs involved in this shift. NOR has the media coverage of the issue concealed this – despite the not inconsiderable efforts of the Murdoch media empire.

    It is clear that this aspect of the case for change has not cut through. You suggest that it is because the proponents of change have not addressed it. I say the evidence does not support this assertion and suggest that the reason might lie with the sorts of issue I tried to outline.

    There is no doubt that we must continue to argue the realities of the situation and these include of course the jobs and economic considerations you feel have been overlooked. However I’m certain that the public cry for action (which is all that will shift our pathetic political class) will be triggered by what will primarily be an emotional response to some climatic event or other. The arguments have been made (the gun is loaded) but the trigger has not yet been pulled. My gut feeling is that the next el niño drought might just tip the scales in Australia. A really thought provoking post from someone who has a somewhat different set of reasons for why the climate crisis message has not cut through can be found here. My response to him, based largely on points he made himself about the nature of denial is similar to what I’m suggesting here.

    You write:

    If we are being honest about the short term, a world wide reduction in emissions to the level the science says is required is going to create some serious losers.

    That is for sure but there is no doubt that nationally and globally we have a choice between a more or less structured transition or an economic and environmental train wreck. A really good but sobering discussion of the scale and rate of emissions reduction necessary, both globally and nationally can be found here. A statistic that sticks in my mind is that if we are to achieve global emissions equity by 2050 (I think that was the year) at a level consistent with 2º of warming we must all converge on INDIA’s current per capita emissions level. Who wants to be the politician to explain that to an electorate hooked on 4WDs, multiple plasma TVs, globally-mobile, heavily-processed food etc etc in light of spiraling oil prices. The only informed commentator I know of who confronts the coming storm with any optimism is Paul Gilding whose excellent TED talk can be found here. I note however that he lives these days on a farm in southern Tasmania. If I was younger and healthier I’d be contemplating a similar shift. It’s going to get ugly.

  14. Doug Evans

    Hi Ootz
    I agree with everything you write in your comment. I guess the sort of incentive you have in mind would be subsidies of various sorts aimed at reducing emissions by promoting ‘green’ transitions at home and in the work place. This would make sense to me also.

    Unfortunately these are argued by economists as not cost effective and therefore seen by politicians as inappropriate. See Richard Denniss on feed-in tariffs and solar subsidy schemes for example. Also they have acquired a tarnished reputation not helped by the pink batts debacle and have become too easy a target for politicians who see every issue only in terms of its capacity to help them get/retain power.

  15. BilB


    The Paul Gilding talk is pretty well spot on. I agree with Paul when he says he has done his grieving, the situation is what it is. I am at the same point.

    “The only thing we need to change is how we think and how we feel” PG TED

    Absolute gold.

    Gilding forewarns of the war ……………….”for civilisation”,…………….. this will be a 40 year war. A war in which everyone is a winner, ………….even the 1%.

    I know as a product designer that this is entirely true. The solutions are there.

    So lets go through a set briefly, but a set that will work for Australia.

    It is important to pick off problems by degree of impact.

    Top of the list is domestic and small business energy. The set of solutions are entirely solar and include

    GenIIPV which provides all of the energy for households along with local and commuting primary travel requirements.

    Other energy (local).

    Bio Digesters convert primary sewerage into methane (natural gas) and already widely used in China.

    NASA Omega converts sewerage outfall to methane biofuels and recovered elements such as phosphorus .

    The alternative vehicle set offered by designers (but not yet in production) include

    VWL1 2 seater diesel 100klms/l A National fleet realistically be could be powered by palm oil from the Northern Territories as the consumtion is a factor of 10 lower than current vehicles.
    Tata MegaPixel hybride 4 seater 85klm range on home charge and a full 900klm range on combined fuel (current design petrol but could be biodiesel)
    VW Bulli 6 seater or pickup van 300klm range on 40kwhrs
    Coming enabling technologies.

    Pipistrel G4 4 seater electric powered aircraft. Proven range of 400 klms fully loaded, but with Envia batteries will fly Sydney to Melbourne or Brisbane on a single charge, and where fitted with replacable wingtip battery modules can immediately turn around to return. This aircraft is a special construction to win a prize and prove the point. The production plane would look more like the Pantera.

    Envia battery offering the possibility of 400watt hours per kilogramme. (currently under test).

    The balance of Energy will come from wind, hydro, and gas. The gas is fossil fuel but its component will be small and used mainly for bridging extended gaps in solar supply. There are biofuel options for the gas component but natural gas is the most cost effective solution for wide distribution.

    That draws a line under domestic energy, heating and cooling, personal transport, small business energy and heating/cooling, and service vehicle systems. All of the above is based on existing proven technologies, requiring only implementation.

    This does not include supply materials and resources processing, but at this point we have resolved up to 75% of our energy requirements and resolved 50% of our CO2 emissions. This is all achieveable on a 30 year establishment programme, and the cost is heavily negative ie less than the cost of business as usual.

    The other 50% of emissions I have not researched, but I have no doubt that there is a significant measure of ready to install terchnologies that will address much of the balance.

    For what it is worth that is my assessment of the best options available at the lowest cost, and with the best extended long term energy future, and based on current “shovel ready” knowledge.

    If anyone has a better believeable story to tell I am keen to hear it in detail.

  16. Ootz

    It’s going to get ugly.

    You can say that again. I doubt if a farm in Tassie will be the ultimate refuge as there will be an armada of ‘boats arriving’ when s hits f, says I who moved into my own ‘Doomstead’ two years ago. I do dig Paul Gilding and his optimism.

    It is important to differentiate between painting doomsday scenarios and facing the reality or facts of the present trends as well as the history of how humanity was dealing with previous “economic and environmental train wreck(s)”. I tend to agree with John that the often quoted doomsday scenarios tend to be too abstract and therefor not helpful in the debate. What would be more helpful if these scenarios would be fleshed out somewhat with the aid of identified historical ‘breaking points’ and ‘crumbling zones’ of civilisations.

    Cataclysmic breakdowns may occure on one or several levels. For example, in my trawling through the ‘denialist’ blogs in the US I have come across now comments that took pride in their gun culture should CC come true. Given the Gun culture in the States it is easy to agree with Robert May, past President of The Royal Society and Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government and Head of the UK Office of Science and Technology:

    without Climate change mitigation humans will be most likely living at worst in a Mad Max or at best a Blade Runner scenario.

    Further, I have always been amazed in the nonchalant geo-engineering has been fostered as an easy or handy techno-fix. It is obvious the easiest and fastest way to reduce carbon emission is to reduce the offending source – population. Particularly, the high emitting nations will be at risk either by terror type scenarios or by state sanctioned ‘intervention’. We are well endowed with the technology to do so. Weapons were always technology of choice for the rich and powerful to assert their privilege and indeed gain through times of change. As I said history can be a good guide of what to expect.

    In that context, the hysterical screaming of PINK BATTS and GOVERNMENT WASTE when trying to address the problem in a planned and structured fashion is just plain evil.

  17. Ootz

    BTW Doug, I do appreciate your blog, very informative, good analyses and well written, a valuable input to the discussion and great sources. I encourage anyone interested in AGW to regularly visit.

  18. Lefty E

    US introduces new restrictions on power plant emissions: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/us-epa-sets-first-cap-on-coal-plant-emissions-20120328-1vxnh.html

    Just as Victoria dumps them, and QLD dumps alternative energy.

    Way to miss the boat, ya dumbarsed Tories.

  19. Jenny

    John D @ 1

    If we want to get support for climate action we need to deal with the issues that the climate action reluctants are talking about. For example, we need to recognize widespread concern re job security.

    I feel a sense of despair when I walk through a shopping centre these days. Thousands of shops flooded with more and more ‘stuff’ at ever reducing prices; now ridiculously beyond our needs, and all of it made from the fast-thinning resources on the skin of our over-populated planet. Do we actually need more stuff? How many cars, TVs, IPODs, mobile phones, clothes, shoes, CDs, books, lollies, decorations, bathrooms, cosmetics, kitchen devices etc, etc, etc do we actually need.

    But now we can have it all, courtesy of the need of the Earth’s billions of adults to work longer, harder and more efficiently. I once thought the idea of increasing productivity was so that we could have more leisure time. Share the work around and everybody do less. But no. It turns out that we really wanted to do was to keep up with all those other stuff-acquirers. Whilst of course they tried equally hard to keep up with us.

    Verdict: climate is stuffed!

  20. Tim Macknay

    Interesting comments from Alan Kohler (couldn’t link to the original):

    Australia will have to increase its greenhouse gas reduction target from the current 5 per cent by 2020, to at least 15 per cent within two years under the policies of both the ALP and the Coalition.

    That’s because the conditions for doing that look like being met. Remember… the Government’s reduction target is 5 per cent below 2000 levels unilateral and 15 per cent if “major developing economies commit to substantially restrain emissions and advanced economies take on commitments comparable to Australia’s”.

    The Opposition has signed up to both the 5 per cent and 15 per cent targets, although it hasn’t mentioned the second one for a while.

    It’s clear that science is beginning to reassert itself on this subject after a few years on the sidelines following the debacle in Copenhagen in 2009.

    Current advanced country pledges already suggest a 10-20 per cent reduction from 1990 levels by 2020. China has imposed quotas on carbon emissions and is likely to have an emissions trading scheme in place by 2015; it already has them in nine provinces. The action being taken by other developing countries is already sufficient for a 15 per cent reduction in Australia.

    The idea that Australia is leading the world on climate change is quickly becoming untrue. Moreover the delays caused by the 2009/10 political convulsions, which saw both the opposition leader and the prime minister sacked over climate change, will mean Australia ends up paying a much higher price than it would have.

    The recommendation on Australia’s target will come from the Climate Change Authority, to be chaired by for former Reserve Bank governor and industry super champion, Bernie Fraser.

    Even the 5 per cent reduction from 2000 levels is starting to look nearly impossible given the increase in emissions since the target was set; 15 per cent would represent a crushing burden for Australia’s businesses.

    Australia’s carbon emissions are already 5 per cent above 2000 levels. At the current rate of increase, they will be 23 per cent above the 2000 level by 2020, or 690 million tones of CO2 equivalent.

    That means the 5 per cent reduction target to which both parties have committed is already a 23 per cent, or 160 million tonne reduction from business as usual. Reducing by 15 per cent from 2000 – which looks like being the target – means we would have to cut emission by one-third from BAU.

    If that were achieved by cuts in Australian emissions, it needs a carbon price in the hundreds of dollars, or direct action that bankrupt the Government.

    As things stand the tax of $23 per tonne will stand for three years to be replaced by emissions trading in 2015. Despite the obvious concerns about it from business and the community generally, the carbon tax won’t actually do much to reduce carbon emissions because of the compensation and offsets that have been promised.

    The impact of the target will only start in 2015, when it will determine the number of permits emitting businesses will have to buy.

    It’s possible that a new Coalition government will dismantle the whole thing next year, but that would be a Humphreyan courageous decision: first the rest of the world clearly is taking action to reduce emissions, so that if Australia just dropped out of the project and dropped its targets the cost would be very high; and second, if the Coalition tried to use its “direct action” plan to meet the targets, the cost to the budget would be horrendous.

    That is especially true on both counts if the target is 15 per cent by then. If the world is doing enough to justify a 15 per cent target according to Bernie Fraser’s CCA, which it almost certainly will be, then the Coalition could hardly dump Australia’s targets altogether. “Direct action” to meet even a 5 per cent target is unaffordable; 15 per cent is laughable.

    Emissions trading is the cheapest way to reduce carbon emissions because businesses can buy permits from overseas. At the moment European permits cost less than $15 per tonne and certificates from the Clean Development Mechanism, which will qualify as Australian permits, cost around $5 each.

    On that basis the cost to Australian businesses will immediately fall to the floor price of $15 a tones when emissions trading starts in 2015.

    At that price, the cost of meeting the 5 per cent reduction target would be $2.4 billion in total. A 15 per cent target would cost $3.2 billion.

    But the question is whether Australia can or should meet its emissions target simply by buying permits from overseas. It’s true that climate change is global not national, so it doesn’t really matter where a tonne of carbon is removed, but would it be acceptable politically, here and overseas, for Australia not to actually reduce its emissions and simply pay other countries to do it?

    This is a question that is exercising the minds of the policymakers in Canberra now – how to pitch Australia’s scheme so that the targets are met without crushing our industries but without, in effect, simply buying and preserving forests in Borneo while continuing to produce most electricity from coal.

    By the way, most of the increase in carbon emissions between now and 2020 will come from export energy projects, principally coal, coal seam gas and LNG, as well as some from transport and industry direct combustion – almost none of it from electricity generation.

    In effect it’s a double whammy from the resources boom: a high dollar plus a larger climate change burden.

  21. BilB


    Nothing at federal level will happen in the US until a tornado demolishes the White House. Behind the scenes there is a lot going on at State level.

    As far as Queensland is concerned I am having great pleasure in taunting my customers there with the "wisdom" of their political outcome. I am not sensing great satisfaction, though I am sure that they have the capacity to settle into their new reality.

  22. BilB


    ” I once thought the idea of increasing productivity was so that we could have more leisure time. Share the work around and everybody do less. But no”

    That is the most perceptive comment the year so far.


    And that should trigger a whole series of blog threads.

  23. Fran Barlow

    Since Climate Clippings hasn’t arrived yet …

    Monckton Takedown 1:Monckton Misleads California Lawmakers – Now It’s Personal (Part 1)

    The above details Monckton’s attempt to radically exaggerate the costs of California’s Cap & Trade program, energy efficiency etc …

    {…} in 2006 the California State Assembly passed The Global Warming Solutions Act (a.k.a. Assembly Bill [AB] 32), which required that California reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions levels to 1990 levels by 2020. In June 2005, Governor Schwarzenegger had also signed Executive Order S-3-05 ordering that California reduce GHG emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

    In 2010, a proposition (Proposition 23) which would have suspended AB 32 was placed on the ballot and was heavily financed by fossil fuel industry (primarily Valero, Tesoro, and Koch Industries), but California voters rejected it soundly by a 22% margin (61% to 39%).


    What about the costs of a California-specific cap and trade system? CARB was required to perform an economic analysis of their proposal, and found that AB 32 will result in less than a 0.2% change between 2007 and 2020 (either positive or negative) in Gross State Product, personal and per capita income, and labor demand compared to a business-as-usual scenario. While energy costs are expected to rise slightly, they are also predicted to be more than offset by decreased demand due to increased energy efficiency as a result of the legislation. CARB notes that their results are very similar to the low-gross domestic product (GDP) impact estimates of similar proposed federal cap and trade legislation.

    Monckton did not mention the CARB economic analysis in his presentation. Instead he simply asserted that according to a certain report, AB 32 would cost California $450 billion by 2020, which would represent 25% of Gross State Product (the state equivalent of Gross Domestic Product).

    The article continues debunking the report to which Monckton refers obliquely.

    In this second Piece Peter Hadfield Letter to Chris Monckton again exposes Monckrton for the posturing fraud he is.

    What is telling about both these pieces, is that in both cases, Watts of WUWT is riding shotgun for Monckton … The first piece probably won’t be published and Monckton is saying he doesn’t have to debate Hadfield as he is associated with “Greenman” (of Climate Crock fame)

    Watts says:

    While I can’t hear what Hadfield is saying (he sounds like a British mumble to me) they seem totally infatuated with their manhunt, so much for Hadfield’s repeated claims of being “dispassionate and logical”. Thanks for posting this. When he starts colluding with that hateful “greenman”, all semblance of rational debate is destroyed.

    This video then cements my decision not to provide any further space to Hadfield here.

    So Watts had already decided not to provide Hadfield space to pursue Monckton over his misuse of sources, and Hadfield’s conversation with Greenman simply “cemented” it. It’s amusing how often we hear the cry “ad hominem” from the deniers as they claim they are beiann g silenced, and here we have a genuine example of the concept being used to silence a Monckton critic by Watts himself.

    Hypocrisy is, as they say, the homage that vice pays to virtue.

  24. Tim Macknay

    Fran, there seems to be something wrong with that link. Can you re-post?

  25. Fran Barlow

    Sorry … try this Tim.

  26. Tim Macknay

    That one worked – thanks.

  27. Keithy

    Irrational Greed is the pressure and we are all responsible and we all have the power to make a change. WHAT DID MICHAEL JACKSON SAY AGAIN? MAN IN THE MIRROR WASN’T IT???,…

  28. BilB

    It’s upsetting isn’t it, Keith?

  29. John D

    Jenny @19: The real tragedy it is very difficult for most people to match what they earn with what they really want. Most employers can’t handle “I want to work 40hrs this week and 10 next week.” The other problem is that the really interesting jobs require full time plus commitment. So you earn more money than you really want and then establish spending habits to match it. Sometimes I would ask myself if I really wanted to work X extra hrs for the thing I was thinking about buying. The answer was often “no” but I sometimes bought it anways because the hours and pay were part of the package, not a controllable extra.

    You might enjoy looking at what Wikipedia has to say about The 1958 book, “The affluent sosciety”

    The Affluent Society is a 1958 book by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith. The book sought to clearly outline the manner in which the post-World War II America was becoming wealthy in the private sector but remained poor in the public sector, lacking social and physical infrastructure, and perpetuating income disparities. The book sparked much public discussion at the time, and it is widely remembered for Galbraith’s popularizing of the term “conventional wisdom”.

    Unfortunately, too much of what Galbraith wrote is still true today. For example:

    American demand for goods and services is not organic. That is, the demands are not internally created by a consumer. These such demands – food, clothes, and shelter – have been met for the vast majority of Americans. The new demands are created by advertisers and the “machinery for consumer-demand creation” that benefit from increased consumer spending. This exuberance in private production and consumption pushes out public spending and investment.[3] He called this the dependence effect, a process by which “wants are increasingly created by the process by which they are satisfied”

  30. John D

    Keithy: Insecurity is also an important part of the problem. There is the insecurity that encourages us to have as good a car/dress/house etc. as your peers. There is also the insecurity that inhibits us from asking for unpaid leave or other changes that simply mean less pay for less work.
    How many of us would like to have a week of unpaid leave each year on top of the normal paid holidays? How many of us have actually asked for it?

  31. Ootz

    Sober assessment in State of the Planet Declaration compiled by the co chairs of the conference. Sorry do not appear to be able to copy and past from that pdf format to illustrate some highlights.

    Just trawling through the Options and Opportunities session in the plenary. Hm, still more bad news and not many O&Os. …. It appears one of the discussion panelist is suggesting that we may have to assassinate the 700 CEOs of the carbon industry to decarbonise @ 01:07:30.

  32. alfred venison

    “we may have to assassinate the 700 CEOs of the carbon industry” why? ’cause hangin’s too good for ’em?

  33. Ootz

    Apologies for being a bit raw yesterday, feel better now.

    It’s really quite simple, in the end. The less we consume, the more is available for the rest of our human family, and for the incomprehensibly complex and beautiful natural world that surrounds and sustains us. How did we forget that most basic lesson of childhood – to share?

    Pamela Collins, panelist on Day 2 in the plenary discussion: Innovative solutions for a planet under pressure
    Further down, on that link, Juliet Fay makes the comment

    You say we have forgotten to share. I would add we need to recognise when we have enough. When we have sufficient for our needs and adjust our wants accordingly.

    Sufficient is not fashionable. Sufficient does not serve economic growth. Yet sufficiency is the foundation of many delicately balanced natural systems. Isn’t it time we learnt from them?

    Reminds me of a quote I came across in relation to drug addiction

    We may never know where our dysfunctions or addictions come from, but that doesn’t mean we have to continue them.

    Have a sufficient joyful day and share. Ootz

  34. akn

    let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine

    see Henry Thoreau and ‘Civil Disobedience’

  35. wilful

    Fran I found your link fascinating, for different reasons (I couldn’t give a toss about Monckton anymore). From the first graph, California has basically had stable electricity consumption since the mid-70s, despite being a major economic powerhouse in that time. Amazing! Puts Treasury modelling assumptions into some perspective doesn’t it.

  36. Fran Barlow

    Just so Wilful.

    It is amazing given both populatuion increase and the enthusiasm with which Californians took up hybrid electric vehicles. What’s perhaps also astonishing is that the state did some of its recent work on renewables and 2050 targets under Republican leadership.

  37. Joe

    Osmotics power stations are getting some press in Europe today. Potential for development is in the membrane material. Finding a good site, with access to a supply of both salty and non-salty water, is also important.

  38. Keithy

    It’s upsetting isn’t it, Keith?
    << Yes, … Psychological error increases under pressure and with democracys potential error of grouthink we really are looking down the barrel.

    Bottlenecks will occur if we all decide we need to turn to "green" energy sources at once, so, we could quickly find ourselves in a bind without even taking into account the various binds the world already finds itself in…


    The world is letting it’s body die wasting resources… even Napoloen said he could take back time NEVER!!

  39. Lefty E

    Here’s why electricity is so expensive


    we spent $11 billion installing electricity poles and wires that are only used 100 hours a year.

    The result of the 1990s experiment in creating competition in the Australian electricity industry is a complete mess. We have created incentives for all of the industry sectors to behave in ways that are inconsistent with the goals of providing low-cost energy and energy efficiency.

  40. Fran Barlow

    Some interesting news:

    GM pulls funding from Heartland

  41. BilB

    Two very interesting articles <E and Fran.

  42. Chris

    LeftyE @ 39 – that article does miss a few important points. For example, the rollout of new infrastructure is heavily regulated. The distributors do not get to install as much capacity as they want to, the government regulator decides how much capacity they are allowed to install (not sure about maintenance spending). And its no surprise that the government is extremely adverse to having power failures during peak summer demand!

    Also retailers for residential supply would not be making huge profits during peak demand. If anything they’re probably making a huge loss during those times. Residential power prices are also heavily regulated but the retailers would still have to pay the generators the going price for power (they may have some long term contracts too). The generators are making huge amounts of money, but then during off peak they make a lot less. And solar/wind during off peak would sell below the long term cost because they have zero marginal cost for supplying power. Coal fired would also probably sell at below cost during off peak because they can’t just turn off their plants unlike gas fired plants.

    We could get greatly reduce peak demand by next summer if we installed time of use meters (could have a display inside the house showing how much money you are currently spending on power at any given time) in all homes and deregulated allowing retailers to charge residential and small business users a lot more during peak demand periods. There would be an extremely strong incentive for people to leave a/c systems off and look at alternatives (better insulation, shading, better house design in the long term etc).

    But how long do you think a government who did that would last?

    Incidentally in SA retailers are allowed to charge about 10% (I think) more for power in summer than winter. Don’t know if they do that in the other states, but they should be, and probably at a much higher premium. Except for Canberra where there the peak is still in winter due to heating requirements and lower summer cooling requirements (but its getting close)

    We could have better stepped tarrifs. Eg lowish regulated price for say the first 5kWh/day of electricity. Then have it very steeply increase above that threshold. Above say 15-20kWh/day you’d hit people with extremely high prices. So everyone can afford to run the basics (eg fridge/freezer, fans, energy efficient lighting). But if you want to run your a/c system 24 hours/day you’re going to pay the real cost (including infrastructure) to do so.

  43. TerjeP

    Fran – the vast bulk of the hybrid electric car fleet in California is not yet of the plug in variety. As such we shouldn’t expect it to have any impact at all on the consumption of grid electricity.

  44. Lefty E

    We need to be investing in efficiencies (like the US is now doing) rather than building loads of new infrastructure to handle a nation of air-con on 10 days. That this is happeneing to the tune of $11b suggest very clearly that its nt regulated strongly enough.

    I agree there’s a place for time of use meters (differentai; metering rates is useless without being able to see whats happening), but You’re dancing with fire seeking to deregulate effective monopolies.

    The perverse incentives to build more rather than conserve and promote efficiencies need to be overhauled, yesterday.

    What it does show is that people claiming rooftop solar is ‘passing on costs’ to other consumers need to look at the larger problem. that cost is close to nothing compared the costs to the public of getting private aircon. Not that Im ‘against’ aircon per se – but rooftop solar is at reducing peak demand, not driving it.

  45. Fran Barlow

    Fran – the vast bulk of the hybrid electric car fleet in California is not yet of the plug in variety.

    Fair point Terje. I thought I’d read somewhere that there had been substantial take up of plug-ins including some retrofitting, but apparently this has not yet been the case.

  46. Chris

    LeftyE @ 44 –

    We need to be investing in efficiencies (like the US is now doing) rather than building loads of new infrastructure to handle a nation of air-con on 10 days. That this is happeneing to the tune of $11b suggest very clearly that its nt regulated strongly enough.

    I disagree its a problem of not strong enough regulation. The government and regulator is happy for the distributors to spend the money because they would rather that electricity prices go up than risk more blackouts in summer. And governments have been unwilling to spend a sufficient amount of money or political capital on alternatives.

    btw I agree about efficiency for residential use is the way to go. In California for example you have electricity companies subsidising energy efficient a/c system for consumers (eg evaporative rather than reverse cycle). They do this because its cheaper for them to do it than install extra capacity that would be required for the extra demand.

    What it does show is that people claiming rooftop solar is ‘passing on costs’ to other consumers need to look at the larger problem. that cost is close to nothing compared the costs to the public of getting private aircon. Not that Im ‘against’ aircon per se – but rooftop solar is at reducing peak demand, not driving it.

    There seem to be conflicting reports, but I think I’d generally agree that rooftop solar subsidies are not a significant component of the price increases. It would have some effect at the margins. Again it depends on where you live, but in Adelaide for example I believe the peak summer usage period runs from about 4pm-9pm. And unfortunately solar by 4pm is way past its peak generation and at 9pm its non existent. So its probably not the most efficient way of reducing demand.

    There is bluegen which is a home based gas powered system which can generate 2kW/h 24 hours a day plus uses the waste heat to heat hot water for the home. A system like that would for quite a few homes eliminate any draw on the grid for much of the day and remove much of the peak load on the grid during summer. Its big enough to run a small sized a/c r/c system.

    But I don’t think we can get away from the fact that electricity prices have been too low for too long. Residential users do not pay the real price of electricity, and never have. Prior to privatisation the governments were subsidising prices behind the scene. Now regretfully I’m beginning to believe that the only way we are going to successfully get ordinary people interested in energy efficiency is to make everyone pay the real cost.

    We should not be giving people compensation for the carbon tax all in cash. A significant component should only be available as a rebate for improving energy efficiency – though i’d include in that things like taking a bus or train instead of driving so even renters would be able to use it if they chose.

  47. Chris

    Fran @ 45 – looks like the Holden Volt (plugin electric with hybrid capabilities) will be coming to Australia soon:


    Seems perfect for my kind of usage – can run pure electric up to about 80km I think which would be fine for 95% of my trips. But can also run in a hybrid mode so has a range of 600km if you need.

    Its sells for about US$30k but I imagine by the time it gets to Australia it’ll be somewhere around AUS$50k :-(

    I think California have a requirement that car manufacturers sell at least X% (where X is very low number) of vehicles which are electric. Not sure if there are hybrid requirements as well. But that done here would certainly reduce the price.

  48. Fran Barlow

    though i’d include in that things like taking a bus or train instead of driving so even renters would be able to use it if they chose.

    That’s an interesting point. If public transport (not including taxis, except perhaps for those with a medical need, were tax deductible against declared income, the effective cost of using it would decline sharply. If deductions were supplemented by proportionately incremental rebates for anyone earning less than say, $50,000 per annum, then the cost would fall more sharply still for low income earners. People on concessions would continue to get their concessions so the main distribution would be above the concession threshhold.

    Ideally, a “smart-card” stored value system would simply allow them to purchase general transport credit and be billed at EOFY. It would also have the benefit of reducing the number of fines for evasion imposed on those on nil/low income.

  49. John D

    You can overcome air con related peak power problems by using PCMs (Phase Change Materials) to store heat or cold for when you need it. It allows air conditioning compressors to run on offpeak power and for energy to be reduced by doing the cooling when temperatures are lower at night.
    What what is needed is a campaign for people to move most of their power consumption from on demand to off peak.

  50. Salient Green

    The cheapest PCM is ice and there are off peak cooling systems available which produce ice during the night for cooling during the day.

    Then there is the Coolerado which works far better than a swamp type evaporative cooler but uses less than 1kw. There are also absorption chillers available sized for domestic use.

    Price is the problem ATM for these systems. Electricity not priced intelligently yet as has been mentioned before. Now that PV has come down in price subsidies should be shifted to energy efficient air conditioning.

  51. Doug Evans

    Ootz @ 16

    I tend to agree with John that the often quoted doomsday scenarios tend to be too abstract and therefor not helpful in the debate.

    Someone who definitely agrees with this is Daniel Voronoff (I linked to this post of his previously) who argues that climate change should be made more ‘real’ by presenting it as a threat to our health (which it obviously is) rather than an economic threat (too abstract and imprecise). I agree with his analysis to the point where he equates heightened awareness of the problem with people actually doing something to change our disastrous trajectory. Polls strongly suggest that most Australians know the globe is going down the toilet and that this is caused by fossil fuel combustion. We change the light bulbs, buy some solar pv and a Prius. I think people know that more is required, feel that we are out of time and know that governments must act. We blame them endlessly but sit on our hands worrying. I think people know that they will not act unless we collectively require it. Still we do not move, using government inability to communicate their plans to do something about this crisis or NGO’s inadequate framing of the message as justification for our inaction.

    The trigger has not yet been pulled, or if you prefer the (collective) penny has not yet dropped. We know in our heads but not yet in our hearts that we are on the road to nowhere. It will come. It won’t be long but it hasn’t yet happened. I remember a time when tens of thousands turned out time after time to march against our involvement in the Vietnam war. It took a little while but this pressure contributed largely to changed policy. Not so long ago thousands of people took to the streets in Melbourne in support of live music venues but your average Quit Coal Rally might attract a couple of hundred generally pretty familiar faces. The penny has not yet dropped.

    I think I’ve said before that an activist I know once commented that we start out thinking the answer is behaviour change so we change the light bulbs and put in the rain water tanks. Then we realize we need political change so we picket the local MP’s office (as we were doing at the time) and show up for the rallies. Then we realize we need cultural change………!! Massive cultural change is coming and soonish. I reckon I will see it but I’m damn sure my three grandchildren will.

    This will happen whether we wish it or decide in favour of it or not. Gilding has called this ‘The Great Disruption’. It will get ugly. See you on the barricades.

    Thanks for kind words about the blog Ootz.

  52. Fran Barlow

    I said:

    and be billed at EOFY.

    Obviously if they pay for stored credit, they won’t be billed at EOFY but receipted for tax declaration purposes, so oops

  53. Salient Green

    This forum suggests air conditioners can be wired to off peak in some states.
    You would need a well insulated house though, or some of the more technically advanced PCM’s as JohnD is refering to.

    @51, Doug, I agree that massive cultural change is coming soonish. towards the end of this decade is my prediction. From my reading of large blogs like the Drum, awareness of overpopulation, species extinction, AGW, resource depletion and the role of neoliberal policies in those problems has increased exponentially in the last few years.

    Could a major pushback by the BAU crowd slow it down or just increase the anger of those who see the need for change?

  54. Salient Green

    This off peak system cost $12,000 and saves $1,900 and 21T of GHG annually. They have gone from an 11kw peak system to a 1kw off peak ice storage system.


  55. Huggybunny

    There is one way to force the government to at on climate change and it is very simple.
    Say it is possible to get at least 1 million families to sign up to the following tactic.

    Each family searches around the home to find about 2.5 kW of discretionary load; could be a combination of clothes dryers and electric jugs for example.

    Then the Gummint is advised that unless there is a commitment to specified positive action by a specified time the lights will go out in all of Oz at a specified time for a specified duration.

    If the Gummint fails to come good, the resulting 2.5 GW of non diversified load will bring the network down at the specified time and for a specified duration.

    Only joking :)


  56. David Irving (no relation)

    Let me get this straight, Huggy: you’re suggesting a million of us turn our clothes dryers (or whatever) on for an hour in unison?

  57. zorronsky

    When all is moved to Off Peak is it then On Peak?

  58. Huggybunny

    David, yes but i am in no way suggesting that we should actually do it (get that ASIO?). This is a purely theoretical and tongue in cheek exercise.

    The (theoretical) turn on would have to be precisely timed, but a sudden increase in load of about 2 GW should be enough to cause a blackout over the entire country, the switch on time should be at about 7 PM. You see the loading on the domestic network is calculated according to a mathematical construct called After Diversity Maximum Demand (ADMD).
    It presumes a certain average load, if there is a sudden perturbation of this load you can get a blackout. (called a loss of diversity incident) This happened in the UK when millions of people got up to make a cup of tea after a much loved character on neighbours died .

  59. Huggybunny

    Not the entire country, Tassie and WA would be OK.

  60. Lefty E

    Wellm if anyone’s interested, results from our first full year of 1.5kw rooftop solar (we live in Melbourne): system produced 1732 kwh, representing 58% of total househould use. 1135kwh of that went to grid. With feed-in tarriffs, annual power bill likely to be about $200, one-quarter of previous year’s cost.

    At that rate, 5 year pay off on the system, which was $3000 after rebates.

  61. alfred venison

    venison here.
    anyone not seen this? hope its not old news to everyone:-

  62. Lefty E

    That’s big news alfred.

    Hear ye, Abbottists and assorted denial mongers: this is the future. Give it 10 years, and you’ll be considered fringe loops, with a hardcore following among wingbuts, but no mainstream credibility.

    Dont say we didnt warn you.

  63. Ootz

    leftyE, not bad that gives you a daily average of 4.74kw/h, approx what I do on a 1kw system up here in the tropics. I have roughly the same ratio (58%), including a large seasonal/weather variable, 3 phase irrigation pump, at 2.6kw/h. By my average per term (3months) return of $110 I saved myself sofar (34month) approx $1200. Considering at the moment to put more panels up to match the 1,7kw inverter.

    ‘Wanna-do’s freeze the state’s standard domestic tariff is an unsustainable promise with the expected rising power prices or gov. subsidy (WASTE!!!) due to

    Much has been made in some quarters of a trend downwards in average household power consumption on the east coast since 2009, but apart from the need to service supply to new suburbs and inner-urban higher-density housing developments as well as to replace ageing equipment, the big ongoing requirement for network capex is peak demand – which is climbing inexorably.
    On the east coast, using the Energy Supply Association load forecasts from last year (a new one will be published in mid-2012), peak demand could be close to 50,000 MW by 2019-20 on present trends. It stood at just under 40,000 MW in 2010-11.
    Peak demand nationally has grown 70 per cent in 20 years – a key element in the requirement for network capital outlays, which in NSW alone, the biggest area of expenditure, is seeing $22.4 billion being spent in total between 2005 and 2014.
    Add Queensland and the 10-year network outlay figure for these two states nears $40 billion.
    As these states are set to be the political killing grounds for the 2013 federal election, this is not irrelevant information.
    The AEMC reports that national networks now include $11 billion worth of assets that are used for only 100 hours a year.(my emphasis)

    Huggy or JohnD could you confirm these incredible figures quoted above?

  64. Huggybunny

    Yes the figures are about correct. I have seen various figures from various sources but they all seem to converge on your figures.
    I will look up my figures for peak load tomorrow.
    It is only going to get worse unless we act soon. Unfortunately PV will not help much. Energy storage will.

  65. John D

    SG @50: For for heat pump air conditioning performance is often quoted in terms of COP where COP=(heat removed)/(work required).
    For an airconditioner operating a max theoretical efficiency:
    Where TC = Cold side temp (Absolute temp)
    TH= hot side temp
    If hot side temp is 30 deg C (303 deg abs) and TC is 0 deg C (273 deg abs)
    On the other hand, if we are using a PCM that melts at 20 deg C COP rises to 27.3. This means that using this PCM to store cold reduces the energy required to a third of that required to store cold as ice.
    It is also worth noting that the energy required to produce stored cold while it is 40 deg is about 86% more than producing the cold after the temp has dropped to 30 deg C. PCM costs may be justified in terms of paying less for off-peak power combined with the energy saving of producing the cold at lower temperatures.

  66. Lefty E

    Thats a good performance off 1kw Ootz.

    We have to do something about peak load, its driving electricity prices through the roof. And nobodt realises thats the primary reason (cue blaming CO2 tax – which doesnt even exist yet). Efficiency gains and storage seem like the promising angles.

    PV is only one part of that mix, but it makes people producers. I dont think we should underestimate the value of that. Distributed networks are the future. What sort doesnt really worry me – bring it all on.

  67. Doug Evans

    [email protected]
    I’ve thought about Blue Gen also but Isn’t the Blue Gen gas fired heat and power unit still extremely expensive? Perhaps you have better data than me on this?
    Salient Green @ 53 and 54
    Ice storage A/C cheaper to run because of off peak pricing but still stops working when the power goes off.
    I’m wondering about some onsite battery storage and/or having the option to switch our 1.8 kw PV array to offgrid when power outages come. With el niño returning that might be as early as next summer’s heatwaves. Anyone got any thoughts on this?
    Salient Green @53
    We are getting a major pushback from the BAU crowd now at exactly the worst time. The country, disappointed with Labor’s cynicism, apparent lack of a clear policy agenda and political ineptitude is ignoring the same qualities on the other side and swinging hard to the right. Of course our coming and current crop of rightwing governments will do their best to keep us all nodding off in the sun while miners and power generators grab what they can while they can. To me (like you) this looks like the rest of the decade.
    So tight is the hold of global capital on our democratic process that I reckon there will be no coming to our senses until climate catastrophe causes the collapse of our coal exports to India and China. Interestingly this may not be long coming.
    See here and here and here.
    Further, as the price of pv continues to plummet, not least due to continuing technical innovation we are seeing market-driven growth in small scale solar far greater than expected.
    Too little too late? Maybe, but perhaps, even though we are apparently incapable of saving ourselves with purposeful action, we might just muddle through anyhow?

  68. Doug Evans

    Salient Green
    Apropos my reference to the market place possibilities of cheaper and cheaper small scale solar pv installations this is a really interesting development – Zero Cost Solar.

  69. Chris

    John D @ 65 – have you got any rough calculations on what sort of volume of PCM you’d need to replace an a/c system that draws say 2kW/h in a house that runs it continuously for the 4-5 hours of peak power usage?

    I’d assume that you’d want your phase change material to work at around 23-24C. 20C would be an unusually low temperature to keep a house in summer.

    I’m curious as to the volume of PCM to see how it compares with just getting/exposing more thermal mass (eg concrete/tiled floors, internal brick walls etc). Can I just get a big lump of PCM and stick some in each room?

  70. Chris

    Doug @ 67 – last time I looked it wasn’t cost competitive with solar, but then didn’t get the same subsidies either. I think they were talking about a $10,000 price point eventually? It does have a big benefit of solar in that most households with this sytem would be able to survive quite ok for extended periods (hours, days, maybe even weeks) without grid access. So grid reliability becomes much less of an issue.

    The technology was not mature enough when I built my house otherwise I would have paid a bit of a premium for it. Working from home, residential electricity reliability is important for me.

    Re: zero cost solar – they have been marketing them quite heavily to retirement village unit owners. They’re a good target because they can do a large number of installations which makes it cheaper and they’d generally use less power so the 1.5kW systems which maximise the government rebate are attractive. One company did a large rollout at the place my mum is staying out, though they went bankrupt before the first bill arrived. So quite a few owners got *very* cheap solar systems :-) I think the retirement village managers eventually bought the rights to systems at a steep discount.

  71. Salient Green

    [email protected], “It is also worth noting that the energy required to produce stored cold while it is 40 deg is about 86% more than producing the cold after the temp has dropped to 30 deg C.”
    That is an awesome example of how wrongly we are going about air conditioning. One should also be ducting the cold air behind our refrigeration.

  72. Salient Green

    [email protected], re battery backup while grid tied, I’ve thought about the same thing and had planned to ask an electrician when I get around to calling one for all the little jobs I want done. I have an old (30yrs) 1kw generator on farm for years and have had to crank it up a few times to keep the food from spoiling but one would have to weigh up the costs of a new generator vs batteries.

  73. John D

    Doug E @58: Interesting development that could expand solar PV in to poorer but less leafy parts of he city. However, it is still stuck in the old business model that sees the householder as the owner/leaser of the panels. There are also questions re what happens when an owner sells
    There are serious advantages to be had by moving to a business model where power companies lease roof space and own both the panels and power produced by the panels. (Part of the lease may come as free power.)
    One of the problems with the expansion of solar PV is that the current rooftop commercial model makes it hard to use market forces to drive down the cost of solar PV power. Competitve tendering for the supply of solar PV power becomes a lot more practical when power companies own the power output. For more on the advantages of this approach see here.

  74. John D

    Chris @69: The amount of cool that your air conditioner would produce depends on COP so it is a bit hard to relate that the amount of PCM required. This website of an Australian PCM supplierhas a sample calculation for a building requiring 130w/m2/day worth of cooling. On that basis, a 100 m2 house would require about 180 litres of the companies PCM that melts at 25 deg C to store a days worth of cool. Cost of this much encapsulated PCM would be about $1500. If you used water cycling between 14 and 20 deg C you would need about 2300 litres to achieve the same cool storage.
    Less storage would be required if all you were trying to do was provide enough storage to allow controlled power to drive the air conditioner compressor without the building becoming uncomfortable while the controlled power is off.
    You can have PCMs as wall panels etc. instead of separate from the house. For example, Dupont produces wall panels such as those specified in the link. The disadvantage of this approach is that you have to cool the whole house to freeze the PCM even though you may not want the house to be as cool as this most of the time.

  75. wilful

    Wellm if anyone’s interested, results from our first full year of 1.5kw rooftop solar (we live in Melbourne): system produced 1732 kwh, representing 58% of total househould use. 1135kwh of that went to grid. With feed-in tarriffs, annual power bill likely to be about $200, one-quarter of previous year’s cost.

    At that rate, 5 year pay off on the system, which was $3000 after rebates.

    My meter is a bit different so it’s hard to read, and we still haven’t received a bill from Origin (after TEN months, cripes they’re hopeless), but my data for a 1.5kw system that was installed at the end of May last year is 1500kwh imported (roughly 50:50 peak:off-peak), 1000kwh exported (75:25 peak:off-peak). Can’t tell what percentage of household use the panels are offsetting, since it’s net metering.

    We’re on the grandfathered rate of 66c/kwh* for exports, so overall when Origin get their shit together we’ll be receiving substantial cash. A $3400* system (paid a bit more to get genuine Sanyo gear), at 40 degrees W of N, at 38 degrees south. Pretty good I reckon.

    * glorious subsidies for a family in the top quartile of Australians, yay!

  76. Huggybunny

    Doug [email protected],

    If even 50% of the houses in Australia had PV on their rooftops, the entire network would be shut down in the middle of the day by the over-voltage created by the type of inverters they use today.
    Already some utilities are banning PV in some regions.
    Won’t work without on site energy storage and voltage controlled inverters.

  77. Chris

    Huggybunny @ 76 – I wonder if better automation and time of use charging could fix that situation. Eg the system detects the local network voltage is getting too high, drops the price of electricity in response and people’s airconditioners (or ice making machines, or PCM freezing machines) in the area turn on in response. Worst case you could have the solar systems disconnect themselves from the grid until demand rises in response.

  78. Huggybunny

    [email protected]
    All they really have to do is change the inverter topology then the problem will go away. However there are millions of the crap ones in the production pipeline and the Kodak effect has set in big time.

  79. wilful

    Strange new TV show coming up on ABC: “I can change your mind” with Nick Minchin.


    You can even take a survey. I came out as “alarmed”:

    The Alarmed are the group most convinced that global warming is happening. Global warming is very important to you and you are very worried about it. You have thought a lot about the issue, believe you are well informed about the causes, consequences, and potential solutions, and are highly unlikely to change your mind. You believe there is a scientific consensus that global warming is happening, and overwhelmingly believe that human activities are the primary cause. Compared to the other five groups, you are the most likely to view it as a threat to you personally and to future generations, and as already harming people now rather than in the distant future.

  80. David Irving (no relation)

    wilful, I can’t see how this program will change anyone’s minds. (Like you, I came out alarmed.)

    The thing is, those of us with a firm grasp of reality are going to shake our heads in disbelief at Minchin’s spittle-flecked rantings (or shout at our televisions), the disengaged probably won’t even watch it, and the ideologues who don’t believe in AGW are so immune to reason they won’t change what passes for their minds either.

  81. Fran Barlow

    I’d say that one could describe the deniers as “alarmed” as well DI(NR). After all, they are “alarmed” at action to mitigate the anthropogenic signal, asserting that this will have all manner of catastrophic consequences. They speak of proponents of action as having “an evangelical fervour” but that easily describes the enemies of action who often appeal directly to religion to ground their claims.

    The survey did seem to favour the deniers in its use of language — “dismissive” for recalcitrant naysayers. Perhaps more neutral language might have been “strongly supportive of the scientific consensus” versus “strongly opposed to the scientific consensus”.

  82. David Irving (no relation)

    Indeed, Fran. That lackwit David Murray has recently said (I paraphrase) that the carbon price will destroy civilization itself.

  83. John D

    Huggy: You keep on talking about the need to switch to constant voltage inverters. How much more do they cost, are they available in Australia and what is stopping the governments regulating to ensure that this type of inverter is used for future installations?
    By the way I would have thought that one of the attractions of rooftop solar is that it be turned on and off far more quicky than most power sources.
    Chris: You would need a control system to turn thing on and off in response to a rapidly changing price. Things turning on and off in response to prices might destabilize the system since price would rise as soon as all these extra units. It is a lot simpler to insist that things like air conditioner compressors run on controlled power.

  84. Huggybunny

    No they are voltage controlled not constant voltage, but that is a technicality.
    No they are not sold by the solar shops because they cost a little more and the solar industry would rather blame the power system rather than their crappy inverters.
    However the Australian standard (AS4777) actually prohibits voltage control – unbelievably stupid, so you cannot buy one for a PV installation and the solar shop cannot sell you one and comply with the standard.
    At present the standard works like this:
    If the grid voltage gets too high the inverter must shut down within 2 seconds. So what happens is that a bunch of inverters i aPV cluster sends the voltage too high/They all shut down, the voltage is now OK so they all start up again – and so on. The resulting “flicker” disturbance is propagated through the grid, causes appliance failure and could kill some poor bugger on a life support system – but hey who cares?
    AS4777 was established at the behest of large Overseas manufacturers because it legitimises the lowest cost shit inverters.
    The ability to turn on and off rapidly is a problem not an asset.

    It is also worth remembering that the energy supplied by the present cohort of PV installations is so small that it is of no significance whatsoever in the power generation mix. All it does is cause trouble, does nothing at all for CO2 reduction and is just a sad expensive joke.

  85. Ootz

    “By the way I would have thought that one of the attractions of rooftop solar is that it be turned on and off far more quicky than most power sources. ”

    JohnD, would ripple control do it? Why are the copper mains not used for smart grid control, metering and load switching?

  86. Salient Green

    @84, my “sad expensive joke” which “does nothing at all for CO2 reduction” will save me around $16,000.00 over it’s 25 year warranty period, without taking into account the FIT.

    Over the same period it will also save around 54 tonnes of CO2.

  87. Huggybunny

    Salient Green @86.
    No it won’t , your inverter will need replacing every 5 years (check the warranty on that) so there goes your savings. When you sell your house in 8 years time (national average) the new owner may scrap the system when the inverter fails, who knows?
    54 Tonnes CO2 avoidance? At the cost of a major upgrade to your electricity supply to avoid the voltage rid se problems you and your ilk cause ? How much CO2 do you think will go into that?
    54 Tonnes CO2 avoidance?
    (Australian) Annual emissions for the year to September 2011 are estimated to be 539.8 Mt CO2–e.
    Your heart is in the right place but the numbers do not stack up.


  88. Salient Green

    The savings are net of system cost plus replacement inverter. Most inverter manufacturers offer 10 year warranty for extra fee and most last longer anyway. Inverter costs are also coming down.

    Only an idiot would scrap a good quality PV system for the sake of a new inverter. We have been here 24 years and are not going anywhere for at another 20 by the looks of it.

    Our supply line once ran many 3 phase irrigation motors until the system was pipelined. Definitely no need for upgrade. Come to think of it, there is the opportunity for a very large array hereabouts to make use of the infrastructure.

    There are around 7million households in Australia. If they averaged savings of 54t CO2 each we are 75% of our total emissions mitigated.

    There are no problems, only challenges. 😉

  89. danny

    [email protected]

    if a PV cluster sends the voltage too high they all shut down,

    By ‘cluster’ do you mean an individual premise’s collection of panels, or when there’s a bunch of PV’d premises co-located in a power network grid segment which all add up to too much?

  90. danny

    [email protected]

    Come to think of it, there is the opportunity for a very large array hereabouts to make use of the infrastructure.

    Great…… how do I put some of my super into financing part of that array and get the $$$ from my share of the onsold green power as a dividend?

  91. Lefty E

    We’re on the grandfathered rate of 66c/kwh* for exports, so overall when Origin get their shit together we’ll be receiving substantial cash.

    So are we, but youll actually be receiving a credit on your power bill, not cash.

    And yes, the power companies cannot cope at all with the billing implications. Dont necessarily accept the first bill you see either: if it hasnt dropped at least 50% on last year (or more if its a summer billing period) then question it.

    As for PV being an expensive joke – frankly, thats mostly because of the stupid regulations on it (cant produce too much and still get a rebate, low kw systems only, generous feed-in tarrifs have been canned etc).

    I’d like to see municipal level solar, where council install larger scale unit and sibsidise the power bills of all residents in the council area.

  92. adrian

    The only joke in the whole solar equation is Australia and its pathetic politicians who couldn’t see the future if they fell over it.

    How come solar can contribute 20% to the grid in Germany and rising when in Australia it’s just all too hard?

    And people like HB remind me of all those of previous generations who bemoaned the cost and inadequacies of new technology that we now take for granted.

  93. Huggybunny

    By cluster I mean when all the people in a given locality get PV on their rooftops.
    I am 100% in support of large scale PV farms that feed directly into the High Voltage Network (11 kV will do). These are in fact why Germany is able to get 20% solar generation capacity (about 2.5% of its energy BTW). You can invest in these and receive a generous feed in tariff.
    In fact if I had my way we would install really big Solar thermal or PV with storage right across Australia from East To West just below the Tropic of Capricorn (any of you guys know why just below??) and tie them into the North South network with a HVDC link. If we could put a few out to sea on the East West axis we could get almost 100%of our energy from the sun. For the moment we are stuck with all these Mickey Mouse rooftop systems that are just middle class welfare in disguise.
    BTW Adrien, I designed and installed the very first grid connected rooftop PV systems in Australia. However I was side-tracked into doing PV systems for developing countries, where there is at least an element of social justice not just the rich ripping off the poor to make themselves feel better about their CO2 emissions.
    I currently work with three power utilities to solve the problems caused by the grotesque self indulgence.


  94. wilful

    Dont necessarily accept the first bill you see either: if it hasnt dropped at least 50% on last year (or more if its a summer billing period) then question it.

    This is our second bite at the PV rebate cherry, we’ve got panels on our old property as well, benefiting the tenants. Last time round it was hopeless as well. I would have thought that Origin, which is a major energy company and pretty into PV (we bought our system directly from them), could have managed to sort their billing system.

  95. Huggybunny

    Annual Capacity Factor (ACF) of PV
    As some of us would know the sun does not shine 24 Hours/ day. Those who think it does could publish a report from their Proctologist because that is the only way it will. The sunshine hours vary with the time of the year and the weather and the Latitude of the site. Also there is the question of local siting – valleys are not good for PV.
    A fixed non tracking PV array, receives a half sinusoid insolation profile and also the power output declines by about 0.5% for every degree (C) above a cell temperature of 45 C
    If we take all this into account the average ACF for the East Coast of Australia will come to about 12%. This means that you have to divide
    the installed capacity of rooftop PV by about 8 to get the equivalent to a to a 100% ACF for energy calculations.

    Thus in energy terms the 300 MW of rooftop PV now installed in OZ amounts to 300/8 = 37.5 MW.
    Now calculate the percentage energy when compared with the about 40 GW installed conventional generation.
    Not even a statistic, it is in the system noise.


  96. adrian

    So how do you explain Germany’s ‘grotesque self-indulgence’?

  97. Huggybunny

    Germany is a prime example of the grotesque self indulgence of the middle classes.

    This program has been implemented purely to assuage the guilt of the good burghers it is almost useless as a serious carbon mitigation scheme – despite the “big” numbers.

    A slightly more Jaundiced view:


  98. wilful

    I think we need a new climate clippings… The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal approved DualGas’ application for a 600 MW brown coal/syngas/natural gas power station. Here is their decision: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2012/308.html and here is what the Environment Defenders Office had to say about it: http://www.edovic.org.au/dual-gas-hrl-decision-what-vcat-said-and-what-we-think-about-it

  99. Huggybunny

    This is an extract from the Monbiot essay:
    “The real net cost of the solar PV installed in Germany between 2000 and 2008 was €35bn. The paper estimates a further real cost of €18bn in 2009 and 2010: a total of €53bn in ten years. These investments make wonderful sense for the lucky householders who could afford to install the panels, as lucrative returns are guaranteed by taxing the rest of Germany’s electricity users. But what has this astonishing spending achieved? By 2008 solar PV was producing a grand total of 0.6% of Germany’s electricity. 0.6% for €35bn. Hands up all those who think this is a good investment.”
    The same applies here. While the Greens in both countries prance about and bleat about saving the planet with rooftop PV. What totally dishonest bullshit.
    How can we be so stupid as to spend vast sums on programs that basically do SFA to mitigate carbon emissions? And please don’t give me the argument about peak load mitigation, the peak load in OZ occurs well after sunset.

  100. Lefty E

    While the Greens in both countries prance about and bleat about saving the planet with rooftop PV. What totally dishonest bullshit.
    How can we be so stupid as to spend vast sums on programs that basically do SFA to mitigate carbon emissions? And please don’t give me the argument about peak load mitigation, the peak load in OZ occurs well after sunset.

    A couple of problems here:
    1. The GRNs have never claimed we can ‘save the planet’ with rooftop PV alone. That’s a totally dishonest claim. Its just bullshit, Huggy!
    2. In fact there’s considerable overlap between peak load of 4pm-9pm and daylight hours. Just about everywhere in the country for the first two hours, and the whole lot of it in summer in the southern/ daylight saving states (and of course, summer is peak load season). So yes: the potential for peak load mitigation is quite clear.

    I dont really see the point of citing total production stats when current regualtion is explicitly designed to keep it as a cottage industry.

    As Ive said many times – the far, far greater waste of the public’s money is subsidising unnecessary infrastructure to support 100 hours of air con in peak periods. This is the truly grotesque self-indulgence. Money Better spent on efficiency measures. Make our solar subisidy look like peanuts. $11b dollars last year.

    That said, Id rather see baseload measures and big renewable plants. sure. Thats actually what ‘the GRNs’ say, by the way.

  101. Huggybunny

    Lefty E,
    The peak generation from PV is at solar noon, by the late afternoon there is bugger all output; by now the sun has moved to the West and the output will be less than 10% of the full sun rating. 10% of 300 MW is 30 MW spread across the entire country. Will have no efefct at all upon the peak demand.
    So peak reduction for the evening peak is total and utter bullshit.

    There is no midday peak – in fact precisely the opposite so PV does nothing but force up the voltage because there is no-one home to use the electricity and the air con is almost certainly turned off – until people arrive home in the evening.


  102. danny

    [email protected]
    This ACF factor… so, if we pulled all those panels from east-coast shady-hollow Oz-suburbia rooves, trucked ’em off, and set em up in, oh, say, super sunny Moura, just south of TropCap, we’d get 5-8 times more greenjuice bang-for-buck (before distribution losses)?

    From the Portuguese Moura reference

    …20 MW of solar panels… will occupy an area of 618 acres (250 ha), and will be capable of producing 93 GWh of electrical energy annually…equivalent to the electricity consumption of 15,000 Europeans

    If 20MW -> 93GWh pa, From [email protected]’s real (melb) world figures (1.5kW->1732kwh pa), if he had that 20MW installed on his roof, he’d produce (((20,000/1.5)x1732)/1,000,000) = 23 GWh pa.
    That 5 fold innefficiency gap between Chez Leftie and Moura, Portugal is what you’re talking about, non?

    Our trucked & optimally re-sited 300MW would -> 93×15= 1000~1300 GWh pa. Electricity consumption for alumina production is around 260kWh per tonne, ~4 tonnes per MWh. So we could refine about 4 million tonnes (about the annual production of Rio Tinto’s nearby Gladstone refinery) of “green” alumina pa.

  103. Salient Green

    danny re 90, I don’t know if I’d risk my Super on PV just yet. I’m in the business of turning solar power into fruit and that’s difficult enough to turn a profit.
    If I actually had a decent amount of Super and there was a bit of fat in my business balance sheet and the carbon price was bedded down I might see my way clear to risk some of my own money and therefore advise someone else to do likewise.

  104. Huggybunny

    Danny @ 102.
    Not exactly 5X but the annual capacity factor for PV at the site you mention would be closer to 20% than the average of 12% so you are ahead there. Also it is economically feasible and practical to introduce tracking in at least one axis when you have a large scale installation.
    So you would get at least twice the bang for your buck.
    On aluminium production ( I don’t know much about alumina production) however aluminium production takes place in large vats with carbon electrodes, the thermal time constant (very long) would suit PV as a daytime peaking energy source. Hmm Good idea.


  105. Salient Green

    Another benefit of residential solar PV is that it changes behviour. People become engaged in their energy production and so more engaged in their energy use. People become acutely aware of energy when they have ownership of means of production.

    Difficult to measure the effect of this sort of empowerment by I would suggest it is a scary thing for the big polluters. I mentioned pushback in an earlier post but I suggest the BAU crowd are gathering their resources for a big one.

  106. Lefty E

    Agree Salient. Technical expertise doesn’t mean you understand the politics of mobilizing for change.

  107. Chris

    SG – it can change behavior, but it can also lead to an excuse for inaction in the future. Eg. “I’ve got solar PV, I’ve done my bit”

    I think reducing the FiT was needed but was just done badly. Should have been reduced gradually over time, not in one big hit. For example The ACT gross FiT was so large you were a bit silly not to install a system because the return was so high. And with a gross FiT there’s no incentive to modify your own power usage.

  108. Lefty E

    “I’ve got solar PV, I’ve done my bit”

    Well, speaking only for myself (but I suspect for many PV owners): its more an example of my committment to do what I can, rather than some delusional endpoint of that quest.

    I frankly doubt there’s anyone who installs PV thinks “problem solved”. In fact, Id trade my solar PV in without a second thought if it made a large solar station more likely (…. it doesnt ).

    And, its is a good feeling to reduce our power use by 3/5th, AND to send 1135kwh of what we produced into the grid (the figure in our case) for someone else to use the excess low emission power from our roof.

    This will get cheaper, and the rate of subsidy needed will likely drop. But again, its peanuts compared to what the public pays for other people’s aircon – so get it while you can folks.

  109. Huggybunny

    “I’ve got solar PV, I’ve done my bit”
    No you have not done any-thing at all, you are on this out of control 1000 tonne train speeding down towards the abyss where the bridge has been destroyed and you have managed to push a stick of wood that you have stolen from the second class passengers against one of the wheels in an attempt to slow it down; so are a few of the other first class passengers.
    You are not making the slightest bit of difference, it is a complete waste of effort (and wood). However you could get to light your cigar on the wood as it lights up with the friction.

  110. Lefty E

    Way to miss the point Huggy. In fact, nobody thinks “Ive got solar PV, problem solved”.

    This thread is full of depressingly unintelligent stereotypes.

  111. Helen

    I don’t see what’s wrong with encouraging solar on EVERY roof that we can possibly manage as a nation. It might not replace the remaining coal / gas stations but it would allow them not to increase. We all know what happens when a technology becomes more and more widely adopted; we never knew in 1972 what we could possibly do with personal computing in 2012. To say that because distributed solar catchment can’t solve our problems yesterday is to think like an IBM exec in the 1970s. In the US they are destroying precious desert habitat (because desert = worthless, right?), to build gigantic solar farms. It seems as though in power generation big is still sexy. Tell that to Apple and Microsoft.

    As Lefty E says, what the hell is wrong with something that results in ever lower power consumption from conventional power plants? What the hell is wrong with making first steps?

  112. Huggybunny

    We are looking in the wrong place.
    Energy storage in the home will save far more energy than PV on individual rooftops. (that is the Apple dimension). This is because the requirement for costly peaking generation will go away and the network losses associated with the supply of peak load will also go away. I conservatively estimate that the energy savings due to energy storage (and associated voltage control) will be at least 12% of the total energy, it does this by efficiency gains and by the increased the penetration of existing wind power and large scale solar. It will also provide huge incentive to invest in new large scale solar and wind because they will now have a massive increase in their Annual Capacity Factor.

    Don’t agree about deserts, the space required is infinitesimal in comparison with the size of the deserts. In any event the space under the arrays is useful for certain crops.

  113. Helen

    Keithy: Insecurity is also an important part of the problem. There is the insecurity that encourages us to have as good a car/dress/house etc. as your peers. There is also the insecurity that inhibits us from asking for unpaid leave or other changes that simply mean less pay for less work.
    How many of us would like to have a week of unpaid leave each year on top of the normal paid holidays? How many of us have actually asked for it?

    *Puts up hand*

    Have negotiated a pay cut to the equivalent of 48 weeks but spread over the normal 52. This gives me a lower salary but 8 weeks leave pa.

    (If anyone wants to do some Herald Sun/Punch style frothing about how If We Don’t Feed The Maw 24/7 We Will All Be Rooned / Selfish Parentz Leaving the Childfree To Do All The Work – Yeah OK, heard it all before.)

  114. Jenny

    Huggy @ 101

    The peak generation from PV is at solar noon, by the late afternoon there is bugger all output; by now the sun has moved to the West and the output will be less than 10% of the full sun rating. 10% of 300 MW is 30 MW spread across the entire country. Will have no efefct at all upon the peak demand. So peak reduction for the evening peak is total and utter bullshit.

    There is no midday peak – in fact precisely the opposite so PV does nothing but force up the voltage because there is no-one home to use the electricity and the air con is almost certainly turned off – until people arrive home in the evening.

    Even so, extensive use of PV must lead to less revenue for power companies which will eventually motivate them to increase prices on peak power since that is the part of their supply which will not be falling. And that price signal will lead to lower use of peak power.


  115. Lefty E

    There is no midday peak

    Huggy’s formula also ignores weekends – which can occur as frequently as 2 in every 7 days.

    So peak reduction for the evening peak is total and utter bullshit.

    Sorry, but again, that’s simply not the case in Victoria, and generally in the south. Especially not in daylight savings time – when it counts. Its really hot at 530pm in summer, the sun is high, the PV is still cranking, people are arriving home, putting the aircon on. Our system slows noticeably around 7pm at those times.

    This is based on actual field observations. Im sure youre righter the further north one goes though. Another argument for daylight savings?

  116. John D

    Huggy: @101 you say:

    There is no midday peak – in fact precisely the opposite so PV does nothing but force up the voltage because there is no-one home to use the electricity and the air con is almost certainly turned off – until people arrive home in the evening.

    Funny thing is that the diesel power stations I am used to adjust to changes in power demand by easing off the fuel consumption to keep the generators running at the same speed. My understanding is that gas and coal do the same thing. The implication here is that solar PV, unlike what you say, will in fact reduce emissions even if it doesn’t do anything about the peak power problem.
    As you say, we can use energy storage to reduce peak loading. It may be that solar thermal combined with molten salt storage is the way to go. My reading is that solar PV appears to be a much better prospect for low cost power than solar thermal and it may be far more cost effective methods of storing energy than molten salts or batteries. Think the use of PCM’s in the home to store heat/cold or larger scale use of interesting options such as the use of liquid air for conversion back to electricity as required.
    The use of PCM’s in the home would be easy to justify if air conditioner owners were charged the real cost of their on demand power.

  117. John D

    Helen @113: I managed to negotiate more holidays and a shorter week towards the end of my career when I wasn’t looking for promotion and was about ready to retire anyway. At the time (1998) it was considered a radical move that created some surprise among colleagues.
    It would have been difficult, if not impossible to negotiate when I was in operations management positions or at a stage of my life when losing a job was of greater concern.
    There is of course growing acceptance of reduced working hours these days. However, it is a two edged sword that is forcing some to work less than they want to and a flexibility that is good for employers and a source of uncertainty and unpaid standby for others.

  118. BilB

    Helen 113,

    I employed people in NZ on 36 hour 4 day week total flexi time basis. It was very popular as it allowed people to adjust their week to suit their needs, particularly our part time student. I checked this out with the industry union and they were happy with it. Individual contracts can be a good thing if they are done for mutual benefit.

    Climate change is likely to require a much more flexible employment and work environment.

  119. John D

    Huggy: One of the logical places to build large solar PV power stations is on urban roof tops. Part of the support structure is there, you don’t need to send people into the bush for construction and maintenance and it is closer to the end use. Better still it offers the attraction of lower power prices from competitive tendering.
    All we have to do is accept alternatives that aren’t cottage industry based and a bit of sense re inverter standards.

  120. Huggybunny

    I keep spelling this out but it does not seem to sink in.
    The rooftop PV installed at the present time amounts to 300MW.
    Multiply by the Annual Capacity Factor and you get about 37 MW.
    This 37 MW will deliver exactly the same energy as a 37MW generator that runs 24 hours/day.

    Now the total installed conventional capacity is about 37 GW on the East Coast. So the already installed rooftop PV has the capacity to generate 1/1000th the energy of the total generation capability. This is 0.1% for a huge outlay of socially discriminatory funds.

    On the other hand very large arrays have far better economics, will feed into the HV network and are suitable for democratic investment..
    By all means put them on factory, apartment and sports facility roofs.


  121. Salient Green

    Huggy, the 300MW figure is from Sept 2010 from my research. Not that I’m picking on you because I can’t seem to find up to date data myself.

    If anyone can find up to the minute installed PV it would be greatly appreciated as I know there has been a huge squirt of installations since then.
    Here are some interesting graphs on PV output at various angles and orientations. It seems that East is better than West if you can’t do North.

  122. Keithy

    “Climate change is likely to require a much more flexible employment and work environment.”


    Um, …..what??????????????????

  123. John D

    There is no logical reason why companies cannot lease roof space and cover a roof with panels. What % of roof space is covered now?
    I agree with you that the cottage industry approach and the current subsidy system is not the way forward.
    There is no reason why the panels on many houses cannot be linked together before feeding into a centralized, grid friendly inverter.
    In many areas it will be practical to feed into the 11kV system.
    The other attraction of larger installations is that it becomes practical to use competitive tendering to drive down the cost consumers pay for solar PV. For example Calfiornia found that the price paid for solar PV was much lower when the price was set by a form of competitive tendering the price compared with cases depend on government bureaucrats calculating that cost, rather than forcing project developers to reveal it. Climate Spectator had this to say:

    Such schemes may learn from an auction approach in California that has come closest yet to revealing the cost of solar power, which turns out to be below calculated support rates.
    In one of the world’s most suitable (predictably sunny) locations for solar power, California bought power from solar power projects under a 2010 program at prices which compare favourably with US coal-fired power and onshore wind, and are cheaper than new nuclear.
    It emerged last year that all developers contracted to sell solar power at below a nominal 10.9 dollar cents per kilowatt hour from 2013, under a program to develop 250 megawatts of solar power capacity.

    So what has to happen Huggy to allow us to get on with it?

  124. Huggybunny

    Salient green the 300 MW came from a talk by an Energex dude a few weeks ago. Even if it is 1 GW by now the percentage is very small.

    Here is another problem:

    If we want say the equivalent of 1 GW continuos energy from PV we would have to install 8 GW of panels (ACF 12% remember). 8 GW from PV would force 8 GW of conventional generation off the network. At some time in the afternoon this 8 GW will have to come back again to make up the shortfall in power generation due to the half sinusoid time power curve of PV; but it takes hours to re-start a coal fired generator and they are very inefficient on part load. Very difficult to predict exactly when we would need the backup. Result -blackouts across the entire country.

    Of course if we had lots of gas (CSM) generation there would not be a problem because the CCGT’s can run happily on part load and cold start quickly.
    But guess what ? The totally stupid Greens are doing their best to destroy CSM – the only technology we have that will make the installation of large amounts of PV possible. That is really brilliant strategic thinking Batman.

  125. Lefty E

    But guess what ? The totally stupid Greens are doing their best to destroy CSM

    They are? I ask, because frankly, most of what youve said about the Greens so far is flat out wrong Huggy.

  126. Fran Barlow

    This US organisation Beyond Coal
    sounds interesting. It seems like they are trying to wreck the US coal industry. They are even being backed by Michael Bloomberg — NY Mayor.

    Apparently, John Hepburn, of Greenpeace Australia is supporting them in what Clive Palmer must surely believe is a conflict of interest … 😉

    He comments in part:

    The Greenpeace campaign aims to accelerate that awakening. And there is plenty to suggest that its campaign could be effective. Look, for instance, at the grass-roots campaign against coal seam gas; or even that against wind farms, in Australia and in other Anglo-Saxon countries. Look, also, at the success of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in the US, which last week celebrated the announced closure of the 100th coal-fired power plant since early 2010.

  127. Chris

    LeftyE @ 115 said:

    Its really hot at 530pm in summer, the sun is high, the PV is still cranking, people are arriving home, putting the aircon on. Our system slows noticeably around 7pm at those times.

    The problem with this is that the peak usage extends well beyond 7pm. Its often still stupidly hot at that time and people are still running their a/c system full blast to cool their house down. So even though you may have reduced some time period of the peak up to that point, you haven’t reduced the peak capacity required of the network during the year. So the infrastructure companies still need to spend those billions of dollars, its just used for an even smaller amount of time.

    Helen/BilB – I know of one company in Australia that allows “buying” of extra leave as part of standard policy. Very popular amongst those with kids and those who like to travel. 36 hour 4 day weeks sound great too. I work a 4 day week and now don’t know how I ever put up with working 5 day weeks :-)

  128. Salient Green

    Huggy, my 1.5kw system has a 17.5% capacity factor at Adelaide rates of 6.3kwh/day. Alice Springs it would be 20.8%. Large PV arrays would achieve higher efficiencies thoughout the system including at least one axis tracking which should bring it up to close to 30% .

    What have you got shares in Coal Seam Gas or something? This whole thread has been about other ways to cater for the peak such as PCM’s, off peak cooling and solar powered air conditioning.

    Clearly these things are a challenge but so is CSG and as it has the added threats to climate and the environment, I think it’s a challenge we can do without.

  129. Helen

    This sheds a bit of light on the opposition to PV electrical generation.

  130. Huggybunny

    Salient Green, if properly managed CSM is an ideal partner for PV and wind. It has the lowest CO2 emissions per MW of any of the fossil fuelled technologies. It is an enabling technology that can increase the safe penetration of intermittent renewable resources by a factor of at least three. Without it or a similar totally controllable resource we are already reaching the safe limits of PV and wind in some localities (latte sipping suburbs mostly).
    If those totally ignorant dumbfuck greens could do just a little math they would understand that a combination of CSM, solar and wind could reduce our CO2 emissions for electricity generation by over 50%. But no the morons will prance about the farm gates and snuffle about “fugitive emissions” and other straw men.

    BTW your numbers for PV ACF are about right , my 12% is the national average. This takes into account poor siting, geographic location and the fact that at any given time about 10% of the systems will be non functional for one reason or another. (Surveys in Germany gave this as 24% a few years ago).


  131. BilB

    [email protected]

    The Greens are attempting to stop the wholesale rape of our thin coalseams (CSM) because what is under way is mass extraction for export for every other user in the world meaning that in 30 years time when Australia might be needing a long term modest supply of natural gas the safer and more readily available seams will have been exhausted.

    I endorse the Greens strategy completely, it is a strategy with a long term perspective that will service Australia’s future expanded population needs properly. Apart from the energy aspect the future needs carbon as a building material in place of metals, so just chucking the stuff away as we are at present is fad driven brainless short sighted greed.

    And SG is right your solar capacity factor is false.

  132. Fran Barlow
  133. BilB

    By the way on Solar Capacity Factor, it is time to start registering that there is a far more relevent perspective on Solar functionality and that is Solar User Capacity Factor (SUCF). This is the degree to which a solar energy conversion system fits the needs of the user. If a solar energy conversion system completely satisfies the needs of the primary user then it will have an SUCF of 100%. If SG’s system provides 50% of his electricity needs then his system’s SUCF will be 50%. If his system is producing surplus electricity that he cannot use then the SUCF will be lower than the deliverable energy level of the system. This loss might be resolved with the installation of some storage batteries.

    Solar Water heating can also be an attributed of the SUCF . A little further down the track the charging of electric vehicles will also become an attribute of the SUCF.

  134. Fran Barlow
  135. Salient Green

    Huggy, 50% reduction in emissions for electricity production is not enough. Your Australian average ACF figures still do not stack up as even Hobart can manage 14.5%.
    It’s not just greens who are trying to minimise the damage of CSG. You seem to be making a lot of incorrect assertions.

  136. BilB


    In the future as domestic energy systems move nearer to being 100% independent then gas will be the final component to deliver total independence from the electricity grid, as HB points out. At the domestic level this will come via the piped gas system. It is possible though that the final energy balance can be supplied from sewerage methane digesters so a relatively closed system for a 100%SUCF is in fact possible even allowing for extended low solar periods.

  137. BilB

    Good article, Fran.

    The “many centuries and beyond” comment on the effects of AGW highlights the absolute indifference to future generations displayed by those who block Climate Action initiatives.

  138. Salient Green

    The energy contained in wastewater and biosolids has the potential to generate 12% of the electricity supply of the US. No reason why Australia would be much different.

    Add the full potential of landfill gas and bagasse to that which I have no figures for but one would think you could safely double it to 24% of our electricity supply.

    This site has existing biogenerating sites in Australia.

  139. BilB

    We are getting some very different discussions these days compared to 3 or 4 wasted years ago. From Robert Rapiers website (link at bottom)


    46 MW/160 acres = 71 watts/meters squared = 7.1% solar efficiency. Is this correct? That is far higher than the 3% efficiency that most thermal solar company facilities achieve. How is eSolar so high?One of my friends with eSolar has told me that eSolar’s cost per watt including the balance of system but excluding the cost of land = less than $1/watt. This is amazing. Is this what the rest of you are hearing as well?


  140. Lefty E

    More solar PV myths smashed here:

    1. “Its middle class welfare”:


    The top five Victorian solar postcodes includes other regional centres and outer suburbs: Wodonga, Emu Creek outside Bendigo, Drouin in Gippsland and Caroline Springs. But …Echuca comes in 121st – well behind top-ranked Dubbo, where more than a quarter of houses have solar panels.

    Renewable power advocates say the enthusiasm for solar power in country and lower-income areas challenges claims that government incentive schemes are ”middle-class welfare”.

    Clean Energy Council policy manager Tim Sonnreich said while early solar adopters were mainly environmentalists, many in the past five years had been ”average working families” wanting to counter the escalating cost of electricity.

    ”The people who are least sensitive to electricity bills have not been the ones that take up solar power because rising costs affect them less. That’s why you see so few solar panels in Toorak,” he said.

    2. “Its reliant on subsidies.”

    Not for long!

    They have coincided with the cost of panels falling about two-thirds within three years.

    3. Its raising eledtricity prices for everyone else:

    Actually, its the least of our problems there:

    It suggests pretty clearly that the cost of green energy incentives — the renewable energy target, feed-in tariffs, and demand management and energy efficiency schemes — in Australia is minimal. They total just 6% of the cost.The average power bill is dominated by transmission, distribution, wholesale and retail costs.

    One of the underestimated aspwct of rooftop PV is the relative liberation from heavily centralised systems of power (in both senses). Yeah itd be great if we had options x y and z, but instead we really have different colured hues of option “ripoff”: a thinly veiled, stupidly corporatised faux market monopoly thats robbing us blind.

    Spend 3 grand (which you’ll be spending anyway) and tell em to get knotted (by at least 50%). Its a great feeling. Sounds like one Peter Osmond agrees:

    Peter Osmond installed a 1.5-kilowatt system on his Echuca home in September at a cost of $3200.

    He estimates it will take four years to pay off through savings on bills. His first electricity bill was a $2 credit. ”I am not a greenie, but I see it as like banking money,” he said

  141. Chris

    BilB – I have a SUCF of 100% but without storage which is very expensive I’m nowhere near independent. It likely it doesn’t even make a difference to the peak energy requirements (both transmission and generation requirements) of my house.

  142. Lefty E

    That graph on Helen’s link is astounding. 12% of costs go to retailers. For doing what, exactly?

    Note the bulk of costs are distribution and transmission, rather than production.

  143. BilB

    Thanks for that, Chris. SUCF is a bit of a raw concept for the moment which will be improved by more input. The SUCF should take account of the useability of the solar energy produced. In other words if all of your electricity needs are at night and your capacity is during the day then your SUCF would be low. As you install appropriate energy devices to adjust the useability, ie the air much talked about ice producing air conditioners and batteries to power lights, televisions, fridges, computers, etc at night then your SUCF will go up. I don’t know if grid storage should be a component of the SUCF notion. Any thoughts?

  144. BilB

    The French tyre company, Michelin, has put out a series of discussion documents on future vehicle use. I will put them up here in a few comments. They come to use via the CAFE Foundation (Comparative Air Flight Efficiency Foundation).



  145. BilB

    It is encouraging to see businesses getting into the discussion now that the dominance of the anti change in transportation movement has lost its edge, possibly the only gain from the GFC. Michelin have nothing to loss in this discourse as their interest is vehicular running gear rather than fuels of power systems.



  146. BilB

    And this last one is a little nearer to Fran’s heart. I have not read it yet so I am only guessing. You might consider visiting the CAFE foundation blog site. It is one of the most exciting aviation technology forums that I am aware of. Link below.



  147. Huggybunny

    LeftyE Glad to see you support Private Schools, that stuff about location post codes is their favourite trick.
    Listen don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against PV on private rooftops, fine. However as I have repeatedly said the inverters in use today are crap and then you guys have the audacity to demand that the network owners reinforce the network (at a cost of $20,000/km BTW) because you have been sold a bucket of shit and are too dumb to understand why it is shit.
    Until the PV systems that are sold can cope with the network as it exists I will continue to oppose the massive subsidy that is represented by $20,000/km to fix it for the sole benefit of the latte sipping chattering classes. There is absolutely no technical reason why the inverters should send the voltage sky high at midday except for the total ignorance of basic electrical engineering that their mandated use demonstrates.
    The following equation illustrates the issue
    Z = √(x²+r²) or (Z = √(R² + (XL -XC)²)) if you include SWER lines
    Where Z = network impedance, r = resistance, x = reactance
    What it says is that in open wire networks (The type we have) you can exactly compensate for the voltage rise cause by real power injection by circulating Volt Amperes Reactive (-Q) in the lagging sense.
    Guess what ?
    The Australian standard (AS4777) to which all PV inverters must conform specifically prohibits such action. Why? Because the standard derives from 20 years ago in Germany where and when such a problem was not envisaged in the early days of solar. It is called intellectual inertia or stupidity – take your pick

  148. Chris

    LeftyE @ 140 – the assertion about solar subsidies not being middle class welfare may be correct, but I think the analysis you point to has some significant flaws. For starters as you see from postcodes being used for private school funding, it doesn’t actually show whether its your average person in a postcode using the service/subsidy or the well off people using it but the average income for the postcode is lower because of lots of low income people in the area.

    Also looking at the top 5 postcodes, I’m familiar with number 3 and 5 which are in South Australia. The reason the uptake is so high in those areas is because of the way the FiT works in SA. Its a net, not a gross FiT so the less power you use during the day the more money you make.

    Those 2 postcodes are full of holiday houses which are not used for much of the year. So people who live in Adelaide and have holiday houses have installed solar PV on the holiday houses to maximise the profit they make from the scheme – essentially they end up with a gross FiT which is much more profitable. And incomes are reported as low from those postcodes because there are a lot of retireees who actually live rather than holiday there.

  149. BilB

    Keithy @122,

    “Climate change is likely to require a much more flexible employment and work environment.”

    Yes absolutely. How do you think all of those people in flood affected areas are coping form a work and income point of view. You should have noticed this kind of living environment has become, in the tropical band, very common. The converse is the yet to arrive extreme heat end of the environmental energy spectrum where 50C days will be common. Coupled with higher populations and declining energy access (oil) there is a picture emerging that will need a far more flexible work environment than the historic 9 to 5.

  150. Chris

    BilB @ 143 – under that criteria and say solar PV generates for about 8 hours a day on average my SUCF is closer to 50%. I’m a bit unsure about what you want to use the SUCF for.

    You can for example have a very high SUCF (say 90%) but your own peak demand for the year which flows on to the infrastructure requirements as they work on peak not average may be the same if you had a SUCF of 10%.

    For example I would guess my peak energy usage is on a very hot summer evening after my PV system is no longer generating but I’m still working with a few computers on, my evaporative a/c on and a few lights as well. I would guess that although I generate about the same amount of power as I use over the year now I haven’t actually changed the maximum amount of energy I pull from the grid during the year.

    So perhaps that should be another measurement taken into account when evaluating systems? Working on the assumption that for most people in a region their time of peak usage coincides with everyone elses’s – not universally true, but generally true I’d guess.

  151. Lefty E

    Huggy and Chris – nice try, but the parallel is very weak. Average incomes are way lower in rural Australia, but that can hide a lot (parallel exists here); however, and more pertinently (and completely unlike schools funding), there’s been several subsidy schemes aimed directly at lower income and pensioner households over the years, and both state and federal levels.

    eg You couldnt get a green loan for PV if your combined household income was over $100,000. Councils in those areas have also been more active.

    I agree there’s a mixed picture here, and gross suburb analysis hides some things – but check the low rates in Toorak. And do you guys know Altona and Sunshine?

    Dubbo has the highest uptake nationally. Those middle class greenie wankers!! LOL.

    Sorry, but youre going to have to admit this demented “middle class welfare” yabber is seriously undermined by the rather more prosaic installation facts, if not (yet) completely busted.

    You want ‘middle class welfare’ – check the way houses without aircon subsise those with, through their power bills.

  152. BilB

    I’ve just come across this layout image which should cause much discussion while offering some guidence to those seeking to buy solar panels (asking the right questions).


  153. Huggybunny

    BIlb, yes that is a good chart. But you will get silicon, that’s what the corner solar shop has. Note that many of the more efficient cells contain scarce and very very toxic heavy metals. Oh goodness greens you had better start a campaign against them ; after all one needs to be consistent.
    That’s something I would like to see, Bob Brown ranting on the dangers of Gallium Arsenide PV panels.
    Staying with silicon
    Now Bob could campaign against this after all it is – GASP-nanotechnology!

  154. Huggybunny

    Here is a useful report on the latest PV technology,

    If these guys can really capture the IR energy as well as the visible it is game over for fossil fuels -and Solar Thermal.

    Other work I have seen indicates that it may be possible to capture virtually all of the radiation spectrum with nano structured stuff, they will work at night: Wow.
    Now that would be excellent

  155. Salient Green

    Huggy, gallium arsenide is a very stable crystal which can be ingested with minimal absorption. In a solar cell it is locked away safely for many years, unlike burning fossil fuels which emits carcinogens and other toxic chemicals all the time which we are ingesting with no choice in the matter.
    It would take quite some effort to be poisoned by a triple junction cell or a quantum dot cell.

    You’re not winning any love from me with your constant smearing of Greens/greens. What do you hope to gain from it, along with your constant whinging about inverters and system flutter? I thought you were being paid to solve these challenges.

    The world of electricity generation is a-changing. As an engineer you should be excited about it. Embrace it.

  156. BilB

    I was just sizing up the Sanyo silicon panels for a minimum impact solution for my house as a temporary solution until GenIIPV is working.
    It looks like for about $6000 cost I can build a system that will give me my hot water and 8Kw hours of electricity per day, and only take up a small portion of roof. And that will include a small amount of battery capacity. I’ve got to check our home electricity consumption to see how close that comes to our non airconditioner inclusive consumption. At the moment I am paying 22 cents per unit at home and that is certain to rise significantly very soon. If I take the opportunity to install gas (extra cost) then I can add an external instantaneous water heater to top up the tank hot water (pump circulated) for low solar and finally get a gas stove now that my daughters have changed my wife’s mind about gas cooking versus electric.

    I suspect that that will be able to be paid off in a few years from the electricity offsets without subsidy or feed in tarrifs. Obviously I have to very my buying prices for the components. I will let you know how that comes out. The gas will be an extra cost but it is one that I have been wanting to take on for a while as gas does not go offline in the way electricity does.

    That aside the chart shows that there is more than enough scope from proven technologies to write grid coal electricity out of the future within 20 years.

  157. Chris

    LeftyE @ 151 – well before dismissing what I said you might want to try addressing what I explained about holiday houses in 2 of those postcodes. Installation of PV on holiday houses (hardly going to be low income people) was so prevalent the state government tried to retrospectively make those installations ineligible for the FiT. This would incidentally reduce installations in wealthier suburbs because you’re not allowed to get the FiT on multiple houses.

    Btw apart from the green loans scheme which got canned I’d be interested in hearing what other subsidy schemes have been available. I’ve heard of some bulk council buys of PV to reduce prices for residents but no direct subsidy schemes.

    Btw I don’t disagree that high peak energy users are subsidized by others. I’d prefer to see much higher prices for high electricity usage and they do a bit of that in SA but it’s not exactly politically popular. I have similar issues with water usage too – residential water is in general way too cheap. Eg the per kl component of my water bill is only about 20% of my total bill. Nearly no incentive to reduce usage.

  158. Chris

    BilB @ 156 – I’d be very interested to find out what battery system you’re looking at and what capacity it has. Does it work totally isolated from the grid so you can use it during grid failures?

  159. Huggybunny

    Salent Green
    “Huggy, gallium arsenide is a very stable crystal which can be ingested with minimal absorption. In a solar cell it is locked away safely for many years, ”
    It is my understanding that Siemens abandoned the manufacture of Gallium Arsenide because the waste streams from the manufacturing process were too dangerous and difficult to deal with safely. But hey what would Siemens know ? Sure by the time the product gets to you it is safe, but it will have killed or made very sick a bunch of people on the way, but who cares so long as you get your solar panels eh?


  160. Huggybunny

    Sorry, Salient but my last post was a bit OTT.
    The point I was trying to make over forcefully was that you have to look at the entire life cycle of a product before passing on its safety.
    (This is my problem with nuclear BTW).
    Cement manufacture, aluminium manufacture and Iron smelting are just a few industrial processes that are CO2 and energy intensive although the end product is OK

    Even silicon solar panels have horrendous waste streams but I have to say that most manufacturers do their best to control them and dispose of them safely.


  161. Lefty E

    Chris @157 – the figures are from the Clean Energy Council.

    Dubbo, Deer Park, Altona, Echuca, Wodonga (!) – Im sorry, these are not big holiday destinations.

    At this point, the onus of proof has already shifted to those still wanting to call PV subsidies ‘middle class welfare’. as such, I await any evidence which might suggest it is.

  162. Huggybunny

    lefty E
    Echuca and Woodonga are chock a block full of rich retired farmers; not exactly dirt poor proletarians. Deer Park and Altona not so sure

  163. Lefty E

    If it was ‘middle class welfare’, one might expect the top uptakes suburbs in VIC to be: Toorak, Kew, Brighton etc.

    But they aren’t.

    Or we could try the vaguely left of centre wealthier suburbs: st Kilda, Fitzroy north.

    Nope : not them either.

    In fact, surprisingly, its regional centers and outer suburbs, and moreover , a swathe of lower income ones

    My conclusion: the ‘middle class welfare’ theory to explain PV uptake isn’t giving us a very good explanation. It’s not a good theory; more a baseless stereotype; we need another theory.

  164. Chris

    LeftyE – Toorak, Kew and Brighton are middle class suburbs. Really? Toorak in 2010 had the second highest income for a suburb in Australia with an average of $165,000/yr. I wonder where the wealthy people live….

  165. furious balancing

    Toorak, Kew and Brighton are middle class?

  166. furious balancing

    Oh oops. That’ll teach me for making a cup of tea before posting. Sorry Chris, If I’d refreshed I would have seen your post.

  167. Doug Evans

    haven’t followed this discussion but noticed your assertion that Wodonga and Echuca are chock full of wealthy retired farmers. I know both towns quite well and disagree. Echuca has a quota of this but plenty of proles also. Wodonga is pretty uniformly lower middle class – definitely NOT an enclave of privilege. The classy bits are over the border in Albury. Deer Park and Altona although being transformed somewhat by new housing estates are still solidly lower middle class – working class areas. Not sure how this impacts on the discussion you are having.

  168. Lefty E

    Toorak etc are very high income – yet low solar PV uptake. Why is that? Doug’s right : the profile of high PV areas completely demolishes the stereotypes . Some obviously need to rethink those assumptions.

  169. BilB

    I haven’t looked into the battery specifics yet Chris, just applied a budget for it. One of the possibilities is to use a bank of powertool batteries as an experimental application. But I will be contacting the Envia battery company in the US to see where they are with their production. Other than that the smart thing to do is to keep an eye on


    I checked the roof when I got home and it is suitable for what I have in mind. Checking the bill though I am going to have to design the system to deliver up to 16Kwhrs per day plus the hot water, and I will need about 4 kwhrs battery capacity to make it work well. But the saving to be had is over $2000 per year before the next tranch of price rises.

  170. Chris

    BilB @ 169 – thanks. Would be great if you could post an update when you get our system together, I’d be willing to pay a couple of thousand for a 4kWh battery system. Would get me through 95% of the power failures. You have very cheap electricity at the moment. It’s about 50% higher in Adelaide which is probably why 1 in 7 houses in Adelaide now have solar PV. I don’t know what the rental percentage is like in Adelaide but at a very rough estimate I’d guess it means around 1 in 3 homeowners now have solar PV.

    LeftyE @ 168 – well one explanation would be as I mentioned before is that the people in the rich suburbs have installed their PV systems on their holiday homes to get gross FiT instead of a net one. This was happening enough in SA that the government wanted to close that loophole.

    But anyway I’m not claiming that your original assertion is wrong, just that I don’t think the data you have pointed to is as convincing as you seem tro believe and there are elements which actually point to the opposite – with 2 holiday home areas ranking in the top 5. I’m also not sure what you are classifying as middle class. Indeed when people complain about middle class welfare they are probably more accurately complaining about middle income welfare. Is someone who is able to find a couple of thousand in capital to invest for a payback period of say 5-7 years poor? Perhaps, but I doubt it’s a common occurrence.

  171. Chris

    Sorry I blame autocorrect for “gross” being transformed into “across”

    And fb @ 166 – np I do it all the time myself!

    [Fixed – ed]

  172. Lefty E

    I’d say the simpler and better explanation is that a lot of people in lower to lower middle income brackets have taken up subsidised PV to reduce their bills

    By no means all – but this is the larger group.

    And that therefore calling those programs ‘middle class welfare’ is rather misleading.

  173. BilB
  174. jumpy

    Bilb, from your first link (the Christian Science Moniter), this caption next to the photo seams to contradict the article.

    Changed patterns of deep sea circulation [happened first ] resulted in less sea ice around Antarctica [second] at the end of the last ice age[therefore warming was already happening], part of a broader process that led to an influx of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere[third].

    My [bold]

  175. Fran Barlow

    Thanks for the link Bilb … I’m not sure what I was supposed to like on that page, but speaking as a teacher I did love this:

    MIT Solar Findings Mirror Those of 13 Year Old’s Tree Research

    Very impressive. Wouldn’t it be great to have classes composed largely of kids like this?

  176. BilB

    It is all just grist for the creativity mill, Fran, what you do with it is entirely circumstantial.


    When you have read all of the words, not just the ones near the pretty pictures, you will see that the study has proven based on a global study that the Antarctic ice core evidence is an anomaly of timing.

    “The results show that while temperature increases around Antarctica appear to have led increases in atmospheric CO2, the picture globally was the opposite – CO2 increases paved the way for temperature increases”

  177. jumpy

    Yes i did read the article Bilb.

    In Antartica- chicken before egg,
    Rest of planet- egg before chicken.


  178. Chris

    LeftyE @ 172 – what proportion of low to lower middle income people do you think can afford to buy a house (and it’d generally require a house or townhouse or it gets a lot harder) these days let alone have spare cash for solar PV. We’re talking about people on 30k, maybe 40k / yr right? Or are we using the government threshold of 150k for struggling middle income?

  179. Huggybunny

    My stats for class/income for PV owners come from the utilities themselves not some obfuscation from the CEC.

    If you guys are buying batteries be careful that you check out the cycle life and if you are buying Lithium check out the Battery Management System(BMS) do not install Lithium Polymer in your house as they are the most prone to catch fire. Do not cycle any battery to 100% Depth of Discharge (DOD) work on 50% DOD max for lead acid for regular cycling, with 80% for once every few months.
    Make sure that all LV terminals are inaccessible.
    Most of all understand that you will totally destroy your solar inverter if you hook it up to a battery.

  180. BilB

    Chris you are ignoring the almost universal reality that couples buy their houses when they have 2 incomes, so that is 60 to 80 thousand that you are referring to.

  181. Salient Green

    BilB, are you able to give us some idea of what GenIIPV is?

  182. Chris

    BilB @ 180 – median household income in Australia is about $67,000. What does that make low to low-middle household income? There’s some timing issues, though households commonly have two incomes when buying a house they also tend to have kids which means much higher expenses.

    I quite happily take the solar subsidies but I do wonder if it would have been better spent putting solar hot water and PV systems on public housing. Not so many votes in it though and a greater proportion of swinging voters who would get envious.

  183. Huggybunny

    Chris, You absolutely get the best bang for your unsubsidised buck with solar hot water. It is twice as efficient as PV, hence they require only a small collector.
    Even as far back as 1997 I saw them every-where in Jakarta – some were just moulded black plastic and really cheap.

    IMV they should be mandatory in all homes in OZ.


  184. BilB

    I’ve said way too much about GenIIPV over time, SG. All I will say is that it uses a mixture of technologies, everyone of which is in commercial use in Australia today, in a unique way to give an overall efficiency above 60%, other than that the clues are here


    In order to appreciate the potential remember that you have 1Kw of energy radiated at every square metre of the roof of your house while the sun is in its middle sweep. That should tell you that there is more than enough energy available to every homeowner and nearly every business to power every aspect of their lives and operations directly from the sun, and locally. The more efficiently that energy can be converted and utilised then the lower the cost of the equipment will be. At the end of the day we are talking here about lifetimes of free energy, you just have to make the right decisions with the equipment that you buy. And by that I am saying that if you buy another petrol powered car then you will still be paying someone else for the energy to power it.

    However the interim solution that I have been exploring above will be something like 40% efficient (up to), and will require nothing like the scale of manufacturing required to pull off GenIIPV.

  185. Salient Green

    BilB, thanks. My guess is that it will be some form of concentrating PV while utilising the heat generated for water and space heating and maybe even cooling, with some electrical storage all integrated as a smart system. Looking forward to the results.

  186. Huggybunny

    [email protected]

    Very seductive, however your solar utopia will depend upon really efficient energy storage as well. The best batteries will give you maybe 5000 cycles to 90% DOD. This will mean replacement batteries every 10-12 years.

    There can be no such thing as “a lifetime of free energy” PV modules wear out, inverters wear out, batteries wear out.

    Careful; you are starting to sound like one of those perpetual motion touts that I have spent so much of my life debunking for potential investors.
    The best BTW, was this snoozer who tried to explain to me that magnets must contain a huge amount of energy because you could hang a weight foreever from one that was attracted to a steel beam. “Where do think the energy comes from” he said. “No energy because it is doing no work” I replied.

  187. BilB

    Not replacement batteries, HB, reconstructed batteries. The elements do not disappear just because the compunds have become degraded.

    And if you study the technologies in the PVeff chart, you will discover something very interesting. Something which makes you second point largely irrelevent. See if you can figure out what it is.

  188. Huggybunny

    Bib, Nope You win on the PVeff chart.

    But the claim for a “lifetime of free energy” has to be total bullshit, unless you have found a way around the laws of thermodynamics.

    You have joined a noble band of “free energy” brothers:

    Nut-case heaven.


  189. Lefty E

    Chris – the sort of people who live further out from the CBD and regions where housing get more affordable , for example : well, any of the suburbs listed on the CECs list of highest PV uptake.

    By the way: ‘middle class welfare’ tends to be perk practice precisely because higher income groups benefit. This apparently isn’t the case with PV. It’s pretty clear this is lower middle class welfare at best.

    Doesn’t really make for as good a throwaway line, but there you have it.

    I’m still wondering why those holiday home owners you talk about didn’t put it on the place they live in.

    Maybe it’s actually the permanent residents.

  190. Lefty E

    Perk practice is iPhone for ‘perjorative’!

  191. BilB

    Therein is the limitation of your perception, Huggy Bunny.

    Of course any piece of equipment requires maintenance, and solar energy conversion equipment is no exception, so there is a maintenance cost which, if you are going to be pedantic, means that the energy is not “totally” free. The issue is what is that cost relative to the gains? The answer is neglible even in today’s terms let alone in ten years time when electricity hovers between 30 and 40 cents per unit and petrol is well over 2 dollars per litre. For my family that will be a cost of around $5000 for fuel and $5600 for electricity, or rather that will be a saving of $10,600, less the annual servicing cost on our solar energy system, per year in offset energy expenditure. That saving is going to well and truly justify the purchase of the EV’s, and the vehicle servicing savings will cover the cost of battery reconstructions ( and by that I mean that the lithium will not be wasted).

    Further as you are determined to hover on ridiculous assertions, solar energy is only as eternal for the life of the sun, but that is relatively eternal as far as life on Earth is concerned. But then to compare free solar energy for life, where the energy is real and supplied by nature, with supposed perpetual motion machines….this is indeed an absurd departure from reality.

    The issue of battery life is a problem for today’s batteries, but if you werefollowing up thread ther is a link to a Nissan PR in which they are seeing domestic use for auto battery packs once they have lost the top 20% as being an important secondary market that will improve the economics of EV’s. A 27 kwhr battery that has lost 20% is still a 21kwhr battery set and a very useful capacity for a house. FePO4 packs can be in outside housings just as gas water heaters are required to be for safety. No problem.

    The future, the near future, is all Solar Electric and renewable fuels. Unfortunately getting to that point nationally or more ambitiously globally is a bit iffy, mainly because it is doubtful if affordable oil availability will hold out long enough for the 20 to 50 year transition to take place.

    Howard and Bush will be only remembered as the idiots who wasted the most important decade for Global Action on Climate Change, as will Abbott just for frustrating and doing everything possible for reducing the effectiveness of Australia’s first real Climate Action initiatives.

    So HuggyBunny, you can pretend for all that you are worth that the cost of solar energy systems is way too expensive and not worth the effort. The fact is that the cost of not going solar will, in a few years be huge, and those who do not make the change will struggle to make ends meet.

  192. Lefty E

    Our electricity system exposed as flawed. Great to see this being discussed :http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-04-08/calls-to-overhaul-electricity-sector/3936958

    He says three-quarters of everyone’s electricity bills are swallowed by what is now Australia’s biggest infrastructure project.

    “People focus on the National Broadband Network but that is only about $36 billion over an eight-year period,” he said.

    “So the electricity network infrastructure spending is much greater and over a short period of time than the NBN.”

  193. Chris

    LeftyE @ 189 –

    I’m still wondering why those holiday home owners you talk about didn’t put it on the place they live in.

    Maybe it’s actually the permanent residents.

    You can only get the FiT for one house so you have to choose between the ones you own. Most states have a net, not gross FiT so you only get paid for the electricity you export. Now say that in your normal residence you use the average consumption of about 20kWh/day and you have a 1.5kWh solar system.

    Over the hours that you’re producing electricity you’ll generate on average about 6kWh and use about 7kWh. So you won’t actually export any energy. But there will still be some value since you don’t import as much – so you “make” say $1.80/day.

    If you instead install it on your holiday home, it costs the same but most of the time since it is unoccupied you are not consuming any power at that holiday home, so it is all exported and you’ll be making about $3.20/day. Eg you make about 70% more out of the FiT than someone who doesn’t have a holiday home for exactly the same initial outlay.

    Obviously this quite significantly changes the payback time for systems too. Also since the larger the system you install, and I know people who have installed systems bigger than 10kW, the larger the benefit you get it goes disproportionally to people who can afford the very large capital outlay. Incidentally it’s not because they have high consumption that they installed large systems, it’s because the solar prices with subsidies got so low that with FiT values that were not adjusted for decreased capital costs it made clear economic sense to install as large a system as possible, especially in places that had a gross FiT or where you could have a virtual gross FiT such as on a holiday home.

  194. Lefty E

    It goes on. Here’s the money quote:

    Jon Jutsen, who heads an energy consultancy called Energetics, calls it is a ridiculous situation.

    “Electricity consumption (for) maybe 40 hours in the year is driving a whole investment program to supply that need,” he said.

    Our faux market power distribution and retail system is a complete joke . Yet another spivs paradise, full of useless rent seekers, fleecing the public. Thanks once again to the failed privatization / corporatisation fetishes of the 90s.

  195. Lefty E

    Except that they’re credit against bill systems, not cash earners Chris; making it rather pointless to put it on an unoccupied holiday home.

  196. Chris

    LeftyE @195 – thats how the retailers do it because they’re sneaky bastards and they know some people will leave money with them. But you can ask for any credit You have in your account over about $100 to be sent to you at anytime. Just ring/write them. It’s your money – don’t let them keep it!

  197. Huggybunny

    I actually design and build all the stuff you have been going on about:
    EV to grid – yes
    Distributed energy storage (both import and export) using lithium based batteries – yes
    Technology to fix the voltage rise caused by PV export – yes
    PV to grid – yes
    Self sustaining mini grids – almost – working on that.

    You are locked into the greens model of look after No1; that sees PV as a consumer technology (subsidised). You are really into the I am all right Jack philosophy – Quote
    ” The fact is that the cost of not going solar will, in a few years be huge, and those who do not make the change will struggle to make ends meet.”

    What exactly do you mean by:
    “those who do not make the change will struggle to make ends meet.”
    Sounds very Victorian to me, tough titty if you are too poor to buy solar panels you are going to get even poorer.
    How about viewing it from a social justice perspective instead of crude Social Darwinism. There are better options than the private ownership of the means of production


  198. John D

    Lefty E @192: The ABC article misses the key point. The problem is peak power while energy efficiency is a nice to have. More to the point, the key problem is the growth in air conditioning.
    Markets are not the solution here. My current power bill is less than $3/day so you would have to boost on demand power costs enormously before people who can afford ducted air conditioning would take much notice.
    What we need to do is follow Malcolm Turnbull’s approach to driving the change to energy efficient light bulbs and use regulations that dojnh’t give people choices. In the case of air conditioners we could use regulation to insist that the compressors of all new air conditioners are connected to controlled power instead of on demand power. Buyers could decide whether they were willing to put up with air conditioners that stopped running for most of peak power demand periods or spent the money to avoid this problem by installing thermal inertia based systems of the sort mentioned @45 and 65.
    You could also insist that all existing air conditioner compressors have to be connected to controlled power over the next 3 years.
    In both cases it would help if a form of controlled power was available that was more air conditioner friendly (had limits on the time the air conditioner can be turned off.) It would also help if the switching on and off of controlled power could be done at a plug rather than at the power box.
    What I am talking about here wont affect radiators but it will affect house heating related peak power for houses that use reverse cycle air conditioners. People who use radiators because they can’t afford reverse cycle air conditioning should be attracted to the idea of running their radiators on lower cost power.

  199. BilB

    Frankly, HuggyBunny to my thinking the grid is irrelevent in the energy model, and a design should have its access as optional. Obviously smaller systems need grid connection until either the consumers adapts their energy useage to match the energy available from the immediate system or they upgrade the system to be robustly above their average needs. Grid…optional.

    Locked in? Crap.

    I do not propose subsidies or feed in tarrifs at all. You are really not following this at all, are you.

    A properly designed system should be able to be paid for with the offset energy costs. ie the money previously paid to energy suppliers when a solar package is installed goes from the point of installation to the package finance company until the system is paid off. Optimally it costs the users no more than they were paying previously, and the package should be paid out in 5 years or less.

    On the last point, you again are not following what is going on. There are 2 crisis that we are heading into. One is Global Warming, the other is Energy Resource Depletion. Within the next 10 years the rising global population along with increase expectation for a better life will push the price of oil ever higher. Global base demand for oil and global oil production are at the crossover point right now with the supply staying static while the demand is climbing at an ever greater rate.

    As petrol prices rise above the $2 per litre point, the cost of energy will cut heavily into family budgets significantly reducing the ability to take on property improvements. of course this means that the pressure to utilise solar energy becomes huge, but those people without property to attach solar collectors will be at a major disadvantage, and this means the younger section of the community. Rental accomodation and energy will become a confused mess where greed will prevail. I have absolutely no idea as to how that will play out.

    We are not talking about decades into the future,we are talking about the very near future.

    Now if you are going to start talking about the US’s huge shaol oil deposits, I think that you should read up a little more on that. It is not what the Republican politicians have been saying about it, and that is coming from oil industry commentators.

    If you are going to talk about endless supplies of coal then you really need to read up on that too. I remember the claims of just 40 years ago where we were told that there were hundreds of years of oil supply, we would never run out.

    Greens?? Its just common sense!

  200. Salient Green

    [email protected], there’s a good chance that electrification of transport will require much of that new infrastructure capacity at other than current peak times.

    However, I’ve just spent 30mins wading through some of the fluff, circular and dead ended links from Mark Dreyfuss’s site and clearly no-one knows.

    If large solar arrays become ubiquitous on rooves then much increased infrastructure still will be unnecessary despite the massive needs of electrified transport.

    I think the article makes a very good point about savings but it’s the tip of the iceberg. The government needs to get with the program quick smart.

  201. BilB

    Here is a link to an article by Robert Rapier, posted at The Oil Drum on the subject of US Shale Oil (correct spelling this time), and what the resource really represents.


    Robert Rapier is a regular oil industry insider commentator, with a recent book release.

  202. Chris

    LeftyE @ 195 – the other thing I forgot to mention is that the income from the FiT is tax free. So you get a return of say 7-10% on capital with a gross FiT after tax. If you’re on the the top marginal tax rate that’s a pretax return of say 15% or more with a very low level of risk. Pretty sweet! Lots of people were starting to realize how good the financial returns were which is why the FiT was cut, though I think the government over compensated and should have just reduced it so people got about a 10 year payback which is where it was originally set in many places.

  203. Fran Barlow

    the other thing I forgot to mention is that the income from the FiT is tax free.

    Personally, I see no problem in principle with FiTs provided the market on both sides has integrity*. I do think though that any income generated for any party ought to be taxable (less legitimate expenses).

    That might make little difference to net revenue, since you don’t get to claim the sunk costs or other expenses back, but it just seems tidier to me.

    * given monopsony, that might require some state intervention.

  204. Huggybunny

    BilB I agree that we must stop using fossil fuels of all types specially coal and oil, this is an urgent imperative for the planet.

    My problem with you is that you actually know fuck all about stand alone PV systems.
    I do, I have designed and installed hundreds across the globe.
    No amount of energy storage or fancy PV will enable a PV system to supply energy during a 4 week spell of totally black weather. Systems with huge energy storage have been tried, they failed. The output of all types of PV is proportional to the insolation (sunlight incident on the array to you) no sun no power.

    I had the most success with massively overpowered systems that can generate in any weather but they are only economic when the system is small and critical. However you are talking at least a fourfold increase in PV modules here. Put that into your model

  205. Lefty E

    Agree that regulation is better than markets John D.

  206. Huggybunny

    Actually most sites require even more than 4X PV.
    The best were when I could combine wind with solar. I had one site that delivered 20 kWh/day 365 days/year until a massive storm blew the wind turbine clean off the hill.
    This is why I have been advocating very large geographically dispersed solar power stations that will supply power 24 hours/day. To do this you need international co-operation and a HVDC link for them all.

  207. Chris

    Fran @ 203 – I still support FiTs and they are better than the federal lump sum subsidy, they just need to be set appropriately and importantly reviewed regularly to adjust for the drop in capital costs. I suspect at the time of their introduction no one really thought about the tax implications much or thought them fairly minor. that people would really install 20-30kW systems where the scale pays off well probably didnt occur to them

    I believe there are still some decent FiTs available for mid size installations (over about 30kW). Don’t know what the tax treatment is like but possibly is an option for non profits to allow people who can’t raise a lot of capital to invest small amounts in a group. Presumably the larger scale ones are more efficient too.

  208. BilB

    I come from a yachting background, [email protected], which is as stand alone as you can get, and my masts don’t fall down.

    The extended dark sky period is a problem. GenIIPV copes with that problem, but my interim solution will not. This is an anomaly, and a technical challenge for some other designer. We don’t have to have every solution immediately available, day one of this new energy era.

    Jumpy highlighted an excellent windmill style some time ago and since then I have seen several of them. Grey skies usually mean windy conditions as you point out, so that form of mixed system makes sense. It is also the most common system installed on cruising boats. As also does the BlueGen which consumes gas and is a Local Network Solution. The homesize Blue Gen is also a suitable solution that is similar to the WhisperTech for size and function.

    I am predicting backfence local grids in the medium term and the Larger BlueGen fits that concept well.

    You really do have to get over this “I’ve had solar panels on my roof for twenty years so I, and only I, know everything there is to know about solar energy” thing that you have going there, HuggyBunny. It only gave you a head start, but your attitude gives you a shallow focus, so there so much that you have missed.

  209. jumpy

    “Fukushima to be new geothermal site?”

    Can’t see this being a good idea.
    Position,position, position.

  210. Huggybunny

    Bluegen runs on natural gas – a fossil fuel.
    So much for your rant about the end of fossil fuels
    Composition of Natural gas
    Methane CH4 70-90%
    Ethane C2H6 0-20%
    Propane C3H8
    Butane C4H10
    Carbon Dioxide CO2 0-8%
    Oxygen O2 0-0.2%
    Nitrogen N2 0-5%
    Hydrogen sulphide H2S 0-5%
    Rare gases A, He, Ne, Xe trace

  211. BilB

    You don’t read the comments do you, Huggy Bunny.

    BilB 208 quote: “As also does the BlueGen which consumes gas..”

    BilB 131 quote:”when Australia might be needing a long term modest supply of natural gas”

    BilB 136 quote:”At the domestic level this will come via the piped gas system”

    BilB 156 quote:”and finally get a gas stove now that my daughters have changed my wife’s mind about gas cooking versus electric”

    Huggy Bunny, I think that I am clearly on the record for being in favour of modest consumption of natural gas for ancillary energy needs and balancing energy management. I have also pointed out that much of this gas can in future be provided from sewerage digesters either at domestic level or utility scale, ie see NASA Omega.

    Now you are getting just plain silly with this nitpicky “I know everything, you know nothing” obsession of yours. Give it a rest.

  212. Huggybunny

    I think that we part company on a philosophical basis. You seem to think that you can solve the worlds energy problem by some sort of noble technologist approach. (Reflect on this next time you chug out of the marina in your yacht, driven by a fossil fuelled auxiliary engine)

  213. BilB

    Funny you should say that, Huggy Bunny, because I have been seriously considering connecting an electric motor/generator directly to the propellor shaft end. And when I was checking some facts yesterday I cam across this


    Remember that this is a yacht and its main propusion is wind and sale. Its main electricity supply is wind mill and solar panels. If the motor/generator is fitted then that can be generating electricity while the yacht is under sail.

    Save the world? My point is that there are robust solutions already available, sufficient to make that possible. But I am going to have to eat my words when I say that it will be the market that decides if the world will in fact be saved from us.

  214. Huggybunny

    Yep but go to
    Better hurry up eh?

  215. Huggybunny

    Just a test.

  216. Huggybunny

    My calendar says 11th April “As of April 10th, 2012 LP has ceased to publish new posts”
    No it has not :)

  217. tigtog

    “Posts” =/= “Comments”, Huggybunny.

  218. Doug Evans

    How will you cope when LP goes off line?

  219. Fran Barlow

    BTW Doug Evans, can I say, before LP vanishes into a wormhole, that I ma yet to read a substantive post by you that didn’t contain several things that were either novel to me or at worst, worth bearing in mind.

    Best regards …

    Twitter: @fran_b__

  220. Huggybunny

    Doug, really well. I will need something else for light entertainment but who knows ?
    Maybe a pole dancing dog ? That would be funny.

  221. Doug Evans

    Thank you Fran
    Don’t be a stranger. Although much of the material I post is cross posted – original stuff takes me an eternity to produce – but I really welcome serious comments. I get occasional visits from Roger Jones and Alfred Venison has dropped by once recently. So any time you feel inclined to have a word – feel free.

  222. alfred venison

    hi Doug Evans
    you’ve had a few more visits from me; don’t always leave a comment, but. i like your tone there, realist skeptical, but not cynical.
    alfred venison