Australia could be a renewable energy superpower

That’s according to Ross Gittens, drawing from Ross Garnaut.

Garnaut says that since his second review in 2011 there have been four big changes in the cost of renewable energy relative to the cost of energy from coal or gas. Continue reading Australia could be a renewable energy superpower

Henry: politicians fail while Australia burns

That was the title of Phillip Coorey’s article in the AFR about Ken Henry’s withering speech to the Committee of Economic Development. For those who came in late, Dr Ken Henry was secretary of treasury from 2001 to 2011, appointed originally by Peter Costello and served during the Rudd/Gillard years. He is now chairman of the NAB board.

I think it was the news story of the week. Continue reading Henry: politicians fail while Australia burns

Saturday salon 25/2

1. Abbott’s full frontal attack

Tony Abbott obviously feels he has to save the nation from his successor Malcolm Turnbull, with a five point plan. Here’s four:

    The policy manifesto, which was splashed across the front page of Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph on Friday morning, included freezing the renewable energy target, slashing immigration numbers to improve housing affordability, cutting government spending and abolishing the Human Rights Commission.

Sorry, he wants to abolish the Renewable Energy Target and let the market do whatever it does. James Massola at the SMH has the fifth: Continue reading Saturday salon 25/2

This toxic energy row must end

That is the title of an article by Jay Weatherill as we suffered the recent heatwave. He believes that electricity supply is a public good and should be in public hands. However, the article is really a plea to Malcolm Turnbull to keep an emissions intensity scheme (EIS) on the table.

Weatherill says that we do indeed have an impending crisis, with the planned closing of Hazelwood, and another nine coal-fired power stations closing across the country: Continue reading This toxic energy row must end

Pauline Hanson now normalised in the Liberal firmament

Michelle Grattan makes the case that the WA preference deal, (putting One Nation ahead of the Nationals in the upper house regional seats in return for One Nation preferencing against Labor in the lower house, which they probably would have done any way), has ‘normalised’ Pauline Hanson in the Liberal firmament.

The question now is whether One Nation has matured, whether the Liberal Party has moved towards them politically, and whether ON is actually working in the interests of the battlers Pauline Hanson claims to represent.

Continue reading Pauline Hanson now normalised in the Liberal firmament

Saturday salon 18/12

1. Millennials lack hope

I heard it on the radio, and have tracked it down, I think, to The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017. It depends where you live:

    Millennials in emerging markets generally expect to be both financially (71 percent) and emotionally (62 percent) better off than their parents. This is in stark contrast to mature markets, where only 36 percent of millennials predict they will be financially better off than their parents and 31 percent say they’ll be happier.

Continue reading Saturday salon 18/12

What really happened in the SA February blackouts

A number of reasons are being given for what was a relatively minor power blackout in South Australia, for example in Giles Parkinson’s excellent article, dud forecasts, lousy software, failing gas plants. However, the reason is actually more simple than that – no-one gets paid for despatchable standby power, only power actually used. South Australia needed standby despatchable power when record demand was forecast, and didn’t have it.

In the AFR Mark Ludlow tells us that the second unit at the Pelican Point gas-fired power station has not operated since April 2015, so it was effectively mothballed. When the need for extra power became obvious and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) approached Engie, the owners of Pelican Point, there was simply no time for a cold start. Continue reading What really happened in the SA February blackouts

Climate clippings 196

1. Jellyfish on the march

This impressive bloom of blue blubber jellyfish showed up a few weeks ago beached at Deception Bay, just north of Brisbane:

Continue reading Climate clippings 196

Politicians lie, while corporates game the electricity system

I can’t make up my mind whether Malcolm Turnbull’s brains have fried, or whether he is just plain evil. I think of Godwin Grech, and think the former. My wife is convinced it’s the latter, and she’s usually right about people.

Anyway politics reached a new level of absurdity last week, as Scott Morrison brought a lump of coal into the parliament, which ended up between a crazed Barnaby Joyce’s legs, while in Question Time Turnbull’s answer to every question about the omnibus bill to change social security entitlements (and save a heap of cash) was to rant about Bill Shorten, blackouts and dreaded renewable energy in South Australia.

All the while, fossil fuel generators are gaming the system, to extract more from electricity consumers, while the market regulator ends up splitting the profits.

Two politicians from South Australia, Premier Jay Weatherill and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis, are very angry, and they’ve had enough. Continue reading Politicians lie, while corporates game the electricity system

The Case for 3 Member Electorates

Queensland’s parliamentary system is based on single member electorates. All you can really say in praise of this system is that it reliably provides all Qld voters with a local member. There is no guarantee that the winner of the two part preferred (2PP) vote will form government nor that the parliament will function as a check and balance against government excesses.

This post looks at how a parliamentary system based on 3 member electorates could overcome most of the shortcomings of the current system.

Continue reading The Case for 3 Member Electorates

Saturday salon 11/2

1. Royal commission into child sexual abuse

I haven’t been able to bring myself to post anything on the Royal commission into child sexual abuse so far. The sheer horror if it has been too much for words.

Now we have some numbers in relation to the Catholic Church. Continue reading Saturday salon 11/2

Poll stuff: politics as usual resumes in 2017

According to Newspoll if an election were held on 6 February this year, Labor would have 85 seats, the LNP 60 and there would be five others:

As Michelle Grattan said, the seventh loss in a row, and the worst since Turnbull became PM. Something happened last September, and it’s been looking uglier for Turnbull ever since. Continue reading Poll stuff: politics as usual resumes in 2017

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff