Thursday, January 14, 2021

What's your energy like?

Personally, pretty lousy and thanks for asking...oh, you didn't.

But I am talking about how your electricity is generated. Australia has a mix of generation and fortunately we have never had a Chernobyl, Three Mine Island or Fukushima as we don't generate electricity by nuclear reactors. Long has our general population been against nuclear, in spite of such being pushed by vested interests. The Nuclear Disarmament Party was very active in Australia and took no prisoners of either the Labor Party or the Liberal (conservative) Party.

Our electricity is predominately generated by black coal, while my state of Victoria's electricity is mostly generated by burning dirty damp and polluting brown coal. But we do have hydro electricity in two eastern states and the island state, Tasmania. Tasmania's electricity is dominantly by hydro, but some environment was destroyed in the process to build retaining dams. 

Generally our power generating assets were sold by governments to overseas investors who are not there to provide a service but to make profits. Who knows who owns the poles and wires. Who knows who your wholesale power company is which is different to your retail power company. But the system is actually quite strictly controlled by authorities, especially the NEM and in my opinion it works reasonably well. 

The problem for these overseas investors with our coal power plants is their age and their polluting factor. Our conservative Federal government, wanting to protect investors in the dinosaur generation business, is encouraging them to invest in new 'clean and green' coal and gas power plants. They don't pollute too much, just a bit.

But our pro capitalist conservative government has been overtaken by capitalism. 

Solar panels on rooves, wind farms, solar generation are all generating so much power they are making our power system unstable. Capitalism again kicks into action, starting with Elon Musk's big battery in South Australia to store renewable power. There are plans for storage batteries in every state. 

Our dinosaur Liberal Party needs to get into step. Coal and gas power generation will soon be history. There won't be anymore wilderness areas flooded to make hydro dams. In the longer term oil powered cars will be history, so a wise investor would steer clear of oil. 

You can add to this that our home appliances and no doubt industry machines have become much more energy efficient. All those LED lamps replacing incandescent, fluoro and 250 halogen bulbs per two storey McMansion must make a difference.

My generation may have screwed up many things but we have at least left this still up in the air but very foreseeable environmental result of renewable power at a very cheap price.

20 comments:

  1. We have oil here and a huge dam in Labrador that is about 5 years too late in coming on line. Still. Just about bankrupted the province, well it has actually. Long story with aboriginal protests and much skulduggery with dodgy friends of the pols acting as thick as doorstop contractors.

    I had solar power in my cabin up the hill from my house. It was perfect. But regs have been put in place to stop independent power.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. All very interesting WWW, especially regs in place to stop independent power.

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  2. We have all the ways to "get" electricity here. Our electricity was cheapest when we lived in Florida. A combination of solar and nuclear gave us a small bill. Here in New Hampshire our will is about $125.00 a month. And we are careful users.
    I wish I was smarter and could develop a safer way to generate electricity for the world.
    But at 62, those days have passed me by. I am interested to see what the "Wonder-kids" will come up with.

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    1. Maribeth, just sit back and wait for the Wonder Kids. They are smart. Aside from different currency values, your electricity costs are similar to ours.

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  3. My personal energy is also non-existent these days. my household energy is okay. I recently switched companies after much phone badgering by someone from a wholesale company explaining all the wonderful differences which I only half listened to, usually I just say no and hang up on them but for some reason I didn't and in the end got so fed up I just said yes to everything and then I cried which is a silly reaction, but I hate change and really dislike being bullied into it.anyway, two days ago I got my quarterly bill and checked back with last year's for the same period and the new one is a fraction over $100 cheaper. It's possible I used less electricity, we'll see what the difference is when the winter power bill arrives sometime in October. There'll be another bill in between, but the winter bill is the one I'm concerned about. I know I should be caring HOW the electricity is generated, but I can't find the energy for that, I'm just glad to have it.

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    1. River, not everyone can focus on how your power arrives. It looks like you did the right thing by changing your power company. $100 is significant. I'll be interested to know about how this works out over a year.

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  4. Anonymous2:05 pm

    It's all nuclear up here! I've never understand why Japan went down that road when the country suffers devastating earthquakes regularly. The country is awash in hot springs, why not use geo-thermal power? Bunyip

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    1. Bunyip, after Fukishima, weren't nuclear power supposed to be reduced? I really don't know much about geo-thermal beyond it is talked about.

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  5. Hopefully coal generation will soon be history, but I suspect that if the two conservative parties stay in power, that change might not happen quickly. I also agree that in the longer term, oil powered cars will become very unpopular and expensive.

    But half the two Conservative Parties are still denying 1. climate change and 2. destruction of the physical environment.

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    1. Hels, I don't know that Labor will be much better on that front.
      We all know conservative parties about the maximum extraction from the environment for maximum profit and bugger the environment. Ok, a generalisation. Fraser Island was saved by the Liberal Party.

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  6. No doubt the day will come when a small unit will create all the electricity a home requires. I'd had great hopes for solar panels, but the cheaper ones are disappointing. They're OK for hot water, but that's about it.

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    1. Cro, I think that could indeed happen, and I don't like it. Centralisation of power supply and water supply happened for good reasons. As and aside, my ABI Brother has two solar systems on his rooves. He must pay nothing aside from supply charge for electricity, yet he is mean with his consumption. Why when he pays nothing? I recently worked it out. He is making money by pumping electricity back into the system.

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  7. Yes, times are a changing, and governments better step up and embrace the new. So many places here have solar, even in rainy Oregon. I was up trapping in Sweet Home, strange older lady, but very self reliant. She took me to the far side of the barn, where I saw what looked like a satelite installation. Nope, just one huge solar panel, with cement stand, that extends four feet down. She pays only pennies to the power company a month in the winter now and gets money back other months for generating more power than she uses, and they pay her for it. She's too old to ever recuperate the cost of that installation on power saving, but she is full of pride for being part of a longer lasting solution.

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    1. A really good story Strayer. Your country is very mixed on renewable power. Some states are doing it really well and to my surprise, Texas is near the top.

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  8. Expect I live in a good State with hydro power and we also have solar.

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    1. Margaret, thanks for your power when we are a bit short here.

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  9. Solar and Wind are the immediate future of electric generating. Some day I will tell the story of making money on Three Mile Island

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    1. That sounds intriguing Travel.

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  10. Coal and gas here Andrew, but as you say so many people now use solar and a lot of incentives are given by the government to do so.

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    1. Grace, here the incentives are rapidly disappearing.

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Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.