1. Stupidity over SA blackout
“Ignorant rubbish” is what Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews called Malcolm Turnbull’s initial comments on the SA electricity blackouts. “It’s the weather, stupid”, is more or less what Bill Shorten said, and he was right. The press has reported two ‘tornadoes’ in the north of SA which made pylons look like this:
The questions to be asked in this case are not about the reliance on renewables, rather on why fractures to the grid 200 km north of Adelaide took the whole state down.
A bunch of experts provide some answers at The Conversation. In general, the grid in SA is sparse and strung out, but then is only connected at one point to the broader Eastern Australian grid through the Heywood interconnector. A sharp voltage drop anywhere trips the system and triggers a total shut-down. In SEQ with summer storms we commonly get parts of the grid shut down while the rest continues to operate.
No doubt the engineering could do with a look.
Giles Parkinson emphasises that with renewables we can have decentralised power production and greater resilience overall. However, I suspect we’ll need a smart grid, which no-one in a position to do anything seems to be talking about.
Karl Kruszelnicki said the other day that we need smart grids, so that power can flow from anywhere to anywhere, and long distanvce DV interconnectors, including across the Nullabor.
Laura Tingle says has picked up on the need for a look at what new technologies can offer, and pointed out that the SA event provided Turnbull with an opportunity. Sadly, though, Turnbull schtick is himself to be “ideological and unrealistic”. Hopefully he will look west and see that WA looks to solar-storage micro-grids to replace poles and wires after bushfires.
Here’s the BOM satellite image of the approaching storm front, from The Guardian:
2. Strangers in their own land
Trump breaks all the rules in politics and by now it is impossible for him to say anything more outlandish, outrageous or stupid than he has before, so in a strange way it was impossible for him to completely bomb out in the debate with Hillary Clinton. In strict debating terms she spanked his backside, and initial polls have lifted a few points in her favour.
In the end it will depend, it seems, on how many supporters of each candidate go out to vote.
Tom Switzer thinks Trump probably won, because he was strong in the first 15 minutes, which may count more than the other 75.
Martin Wolf thinks if Trump wins democracy would lose credibility as a model for a civilised political life, and the US is done for:
It would mark the end of a US-led west as the central force in global affairs. The result would not be a new order. It would be perilous disorder.
Far from making America great, his presidency might unravel the world.
Sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild left her liberal Californian enclave and went to the ‘super South’ to Louisiana to interview 60 people to find out why people support Trump. Then she wrote her book Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. In essence, neoliberalism has left them behind and they no longer feel part of the American dream, they have lost faith in the political system to do anything useful. Trump in a way is their last chance, because he is unruly and no-one can control him, he is the outsider they don’t necessarily like. His rudeness is seen as strength.
That might be a bit simplistic, but what she found was along those lines. Trump supporters are decent people, not “deplorables”.
Trump took some bait offered by Clinton about his comments on a Miss Universe who won but got fat when he owned the franchise. Trump is threatening to use Bill’s sexual frolicks next time. The moderator should turn off the mike.
3. Labor says bank profits are too high
I do agree with Labor that we need a banking royal commission, especially after seeing on TV how the banks are lending up to $80,000 to pensioners on their credit cards. It’s a legal way of stealing their houses, I would think.
Joanna Mather in the AFR reports that Labor is going to give banks a hard time when the front up in Canberra next week. That’s fair enough, but they have the impression banks are too profitable. This graph shows their return on equity in relation to the European and US banks:
I monitor the financial performance of about 30 stocks on a spreadsheet, including return on equity. The average across the lot is about 19%. When they fall below 10% I mark them in red as an alarm.
Labor, it seems, wants to turn healthy banks into sick banks. That can’t be good for anyone.
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.
The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:
The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.