You will recall that after the closing of Hazelwood Power Station at the end of March 2017 fears were held that the 2017-18 summer would see extensive blackouts. AEMO, the Australian Energy Market Operator, was tasked to assemble a strategic reserve to keep the lights on.
AEMO assembled a reserve of 1150 megawatts mainly “demand response” capacity with capital cost approaching zero, but the mechanism the agency had used called the Reliability and Reserve Trader or RERT, can’t be automatically rolled over for the summer of 2018-19. And perhaps it can’t be done at all, because the rule-maker, the Australian Energy Market Commission, has changed the rules governing the RERT so that the mechanism can only be used on 10 weeks notice in an emergency as a last resort, which is simply impractical.
So what is going on? Continue reading AEMO wants ‘demand response’ as strategic reserve
1. The sad case of Carolyn Flanagan
Carolyn Flanagan was like any mum – all she wanted to do was to help her daughter with a loan to buy a business.
“I’d have signed anything for her, love,” she told counsel assisting the banking royal commission, Michael Hodge, QC. “If you can’t help your children, who can you help?”
That wasn’t exactly what Michael Hodge QC wanted to hear from the elderly lady who went guarantor for $165,000 for her daughter in 2010 to invest in a business that went bust. Westpac demanded her Sydney house with vacant possession, so they could get their money back. That was in 2014. Continue reading Saturday salon 26/5
Chris Bowen’s has a copy of Paul Keating’s After words in his office, signed by PJK with the words “I write with faith and hope in your public life.” That is not a trivial endorsement, according to Peter Hartcher in Bowen seizes the chance to make history.
Keating says Bowen is “first and foremost a rationalist. He is a rationalist more than he is an ideologue.” Continue reading Will Labor’s budget dream team prevail?
In his Budget Reply Address to the National Press Club Peter Hartcher in a piece Bowen seizes chance to make history reckons Labor’s plans amount to a trifecta:
- First, it has promised a tax cut almost twice as big as the government’s for lower and middle income earners, $928 a year against the government’s $530.
- Second, Labor has promised to spend more on its “inclusive growth” agenda centred around education, skills training and health care.*
- Third, it has promised to return the budget to a bigger surplus than the government’s planned $2.2 billion for 2019-20, and to press on to a surplus of at least one per cent of GDP.
Continue reading Bowen articulates Labor’s budget plans
1. Glyphosate shown to disrupt microbiome ‘at safe levels’, study claims
I’ve been aware of this one for a while and would like to investigate it further. Some say it is bigger than asbestos by far, with glyphosatye found in beers imbibed at the Munich beer festival. Meanwhile a new study has found that glyphosate disrupts the biome at ‘safe’ levels of application.
The study found disrupting effects on sexual development, genes and beneficial gut bacteria in rats.
“Disruption of the microbiome has been associated with a number of negative health outcomes, such as obsesity, diabetes and immunological problems.”
Continue reading Saturday salon 19/5
1. Climate as an existential threat
Last September I half-finished a post on this topic, with a paper by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop as the centre-piece. Their 28-page report on the state of climate science, action and politics entitled What lies beneath? The scientific understatement of climate risks is introduced as a post at Climate Code Red, but I suggest you go directly to the paper itself. Read any part of it, and I can promise you will be alarmed. Continue reading Climate clippings 223
Tim Flannery says A decade ago climate experts were deeply worried. Now they are terrified.
We need to perform superbly in the next 10 years, he says, but the task is doable.
Robyn Williams talked to Tim Flannery at the Planet Talks, part of Womadelaide, in April 2018. There is a transcript available at the link above. Continue reading Flannery rescues the planet
Here’s a video first published by Greenpeace in Germany on Facebook. Here’s a screenshot:
An area half the size of Paris, which used to look like this in Irian Jaya, the Indonesian province once known as West Papua: Continue reading Raping the rainforests to ‘save’ the planet
1. What do you see?
What colours do you see in this image?
I’m told that most of us see pink and white but some see grey and green. Actually I see grey with a faint pinkish tinge and aqua. My wife sees reality quite differently.
You might recall this dress, which I maintain is blue and brown: Continue reading Saturday salon 12/5
The ABC election team on Budget night suggested that the purpose of the 2018 budget was to generate talking points that the government could use in the forthcoming election campaign. It has been going on for a while. Turnbull ScoMo and all reckon they offer “jobs and growth” whereas Shorten is going to hit you up for $200 billion extra in taxes, and simply can’t be trusted to run anything.
Shorten says Labor is going to “bring the fair go back into the heart of the nation.”
To me the nation is at a cross-roads. One way offers a small-government straight jacket with firmly embedded tax provisions that permanently reward success. The other seeks to provide the necessary infrastructure (human, services and physical) for everyone and the nation to become the best they can be, and to take care of those on the fringe. Continue reading Budget 2018 – a fair and decent society vs small government, ideology and sloganeering
The headline in the SMH was
Australia’s energy operator proposes ‘fast change’ scenario to cut emissions by 52 per cent by 2030
The bit I’ve highlighted was wrong. AEMO charted a doable scenario double the rate specified by the Turnbull government, but it was derived from the ENA CSIRO Low Emissions Technology Roadmap, which looked at what would be required to meet the 2°C target under the Paris Agreement. Continue reading AEMO’s fast track electricity plan
1. Macron – everyone’s friend
French President Emmanuel Macron came and went.
Andrew Tillett in the AFR reports that analysts do not think that Macron’s drive for an Australia-France-India “strategic axis” for the Indo-Pacific will amount to much in the long run. You can surge but it is harder to sustain. Realistically France is peripheral to what happens in the Pacific. Continue reading Saturday salon 5/5