AER, ACCC and the ABC join the fray on Qld electricity prices

In last Tuesday’s post It’s gas, not renewables, pushing up electricity prices the federal Minister Josh Frydenberg attacked the Queensland government through it’s state-owned generators for “gaming the system”, which, he said gave Queensland the nation’s most expensive electricity, costing jobs. In that post Queensland’s electricity was shown to be low compared to those of the other eastern mainland states, in recent years and in recent months the lowest.

The state has now been attacked by the AER (Australian Energy Regulator) and by the ACCC. At the end of it all, Steve Austin, the host of Mornings on Brisbane’s local ABC, sank the boot in. So what to make of it all? Continue reading AER, ACCC and the ABC join the fray on Qld electricity prices

Saturday salon 22/7

1. Turnbull’s Kim Jong-un moment

One of two big stories this week, from the SMH, Peter Dutton to head merged ASIO, AFP and Border Force super security department. However, Paula Matthewson at The New Daily captured the spirit of the thing by focussing on the optics in Hilarious and menacing at the same time: Turnbull’s Kim Jong-un moment. When Abbott made a national security announcement, this is what we got:

Continue reading Saturday salon 22/7

It’s gas, not renewables, pushing up electricity prices

There has been a war about electricity prices reflected in front page headlines. For example:

Continue reading It’s gas, not renewables, pushing up electricity prices

Power cripples your brain

The old saying that power corrupts has been verified by science. Not only that, it does your head in, as it were, cripples your brain and cuts you off from reality. Jerry Useem tells the story in Power Causes Brain Damage.

Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, conducted years of lab and field experiments.

    Subjects under the influence of power, he found in studies spanning two decades, acted as if they had suffered a traumatic brain injury—becoming more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view.

Continue reading Power cripples your brain

Saturday salon 15/7

1. Electric shock

The big story in Australian politics this week was the shocking state of the political debate on electricity. Giles Parkinson says, when you thought it couldn’t get any dumber, it did.

‘People will die due to renewables’, said Turnbull government MP Craig Kelly.

Commentators who don’t understand the grid should butt out of the battery debate, said Ketan Joshi, a communications consultant for the renewable energy industry. Continue reading Saturday salon 15/7

The behemoth is coming

It’s official, Amazon is coming to Australia, promising cheaper prices, faster delivery times, and access to a greater range of products, including groceries.

Amazon books no profit, pays no dividends and puts everything it earns back into growth. Starting 20 years ago with a share price of $US16. In April the AFR reported the price as over $US900 with a market capitalisation around $US440 billion. Gerry Harvey warned:

    “They are the animal that went right across America devouring all before it, sending everyone broke.”

Continue reading The behemoth is coming

Saturday salon 8/7

1. Bullying bosses behaving badly, and it’s not cricket

The New Daily sport editor James Willoughby’s article Cricket tour of South Africa cancelled over pay dispute is typical of the coverage. The players want everyone to be treated fairly, and want the grass roots to be looked after. Seems Cricket Australia wants the same, but with a different way of carving the pie. The chasm is so wide people are talking about an Ashes tour being junked, and worry about the future of the game.

Yet most of the reporting and commentary misses the main point – Cricket Australia refuses to attend mediation or offer any genuine flexibility in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) negotiations. They simply will not deal with the Australian Cricketers Association. Continue reading Saturday salon 8/7

Australia puts the brakes on wind

Wind power, seen as inherently evil by our national government, was in danger of taking over in South Australia. So something had to be done to slow it down, right?

How about if the wind blows strong providing cheap power we mandate that the gas must be turned up as well, so the wholesale price goes up instead of down?

It seems absurd, but that is what has been done. Continue reading Australia puts the brakes on wind

Climate clippings 209

1. Power price wave slams business

That was the headline on the front page of the AFR on Friday.

Households are facing increases of up to 20 per cent, but businesses on five-year contracts signed in 2012 are facing hikes of as much as 83%. Continue reading Climate clippings 209

Saturday salon 1/7

1. Cardinal Pell to face the music

Cardinal Pell is to come back to Australia to face “historical sexual assault offences“. There have been and will be many words written about Pell, but I liked Sean Kenny at The Monthly. Kenny is worth reading on the current political follies, but he says the Pell case reminds us that there are more important changes happening in society.

Charging someone so senior in the Catholic church would have been unthinkable not so long ago. Sexual abuse of minors is finally being taken seriously. Continue reading Saturday salon 1/7

Pollie follies

Malcolm Turnbull took the press gallery to Cooma for an update on Snowy Hydro 2.0 (they are drilling the rocks to see whether the tunnelling is feasible) but all the press was interested in was whether it was time to sack Christopher Pyne and, of course, in Tony Abbott.

It was supposed to be the winter recess, with politics on the backburner. On Friday night Pyne, in a Sydney bar with some of his ‘moderate’ Liberal mates, indulged in a bit of triumphalism about how with Malcolm at the helm the moderates now control the agenda. He also said what everyone probably knew, that he’s voted for Turnbull over Abbott every chance he got, and said same-sex marriage may come sooner than we think. Continue reading Pollie follies

Finkel fail at Inside Story

Two of the best articles on the Finkel Review are at Inside Story – Giles Parkinson’s On climate, the consumer’s vote will be more important than the party room’s and Tim Colebatch’s The devils in Finkel’s detail.

Parkinson highlights the difference between promise and performance. Back in December, when the interim report came out, Finkel’s future looked exciting: Continue reading Finkel fail at Inside Story

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff