Home > Economics - General > A bit more on grid renationalisation

A bit more on grid renationalisation

March 7th, 2017
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  1. bjb
    March 7th, 2017 at 10:14 | #1

    Thanks JQ for another great contribution to the public debate.

  2. Newtownian
    March 7th, 2017 at 12:22 | #2

    There is an interesting parallel here, the problem of appropriate levels and forms of investment in water supply.

    The situation is a bit different in that supply is more local and fluctuates greatly from year to year.

    But again we have the problems of neoliberalism, seasonal and local fluctuations in demand, the tension between conservation and expanding supply to meet targets. And we get an enormous free lunch from improperly valued ‘natural resources’.

    The simple solution of providing overcapacity was in the past much more accepted than with electricity probably because people could see it physically there in the form of big dams.

    Cut to the present though and we have the mothballed desalination and recycled waters condemned as a waste of money………………until the next drought when every politician and planner will be claiming they had great hindsight all those decades ago…and receive plaudits from the Daily Telegraph along with demands to raise dam walls (and hence the flooding zones so rezoning takes place) and build more dams to capture water (when in fact arrangements already exist for harvesting as in Sydney) and research funding priorities do another of their backflips.

  3. MWS
    March 7th, 2017 at 14:35 | #3

    In WA the Liberal Party want to sell off 51% of Western Power, which operates the grid, at the same time as the problems of privatisation appear in the Eastern States.

    The only ‘good’ news is that the sale is unlikely to happen, firstly because the Liberals are behind in the polling for Saturday’s election, and even if they manage to win the election, they won’t have the numbers in the upper house to pass the privatisation bill.

  4. GrueBleen
    March 7th, 2017 at 16:03 | #4


    “…we have the mothballed desalination and recycled waters condemned as a waste of money”

    Yes, quite so – in principal anyway, Newtownian. As I have tried to explain so some of my social group, I really, really, wanted an insurance policy that didn’t depend on rain, or fallible pipelines to Tasmania (which depend on rain anyway).

    But it is always ghastly to see, once again, how appallingly incompetent public servants and MPs are at getting anything done to a decent standard of functionality. Apart from the Desal Plant, we Victorians have the wonders of Myki, not to mention Kennett’s “privatized” electricity.

    Serious major failures, every single one of them – and I have no great faith that “private” projects perform any better.

  5. Paul Rylance
    March 7th, 2017 at 17:59 | #5

    Thank you very much for today’s New York Times article on Kerensky. (I subscribe to the NYT digital edition). I am a big, long-term fan of ‘counterfactual’ articles, and books, nonfiction and fiction.
    I am also very interested in WW1, so your article really hit the spot. (I visited the Soviet Union in a pioneering trip long ago, driving my own car, by myself. Interesting but gruelling!)
    I have read what could be a continuation of your fine article, detailing Lenin’s activities thereafter. Remarkable details, making a persuasive case that he was one of those rare individuals who really was irreplaceable for better or worse, that there would have been no Communist state without him.
    This was in the book WHAT IF 2 (MORE WHAT IF), editor Robert Cowley, 2002, the article NO FINLAND STATION, by George Feifer.
    -Paul R, Sydney

  6. may
    March 7th, 2017 at 18:15 | #6


    labor has predicated a wave power hub in Albany if they gain the treasury benches here in sandgroper territory.

    the wave power setup already up and running for the navy on Garden Island does desalinisation as part of the package.

    i’m not sure if it is concurrent with power generation or is separated off.

  7. Greg McKenzie
    March 9th, 2017 at 07:51 | #7

    With all that desert and solar power generation getting cheaper all the time, it seems absurd for our Prime Minister to fantasise about “clean coal”. If it ever existed, such a path would be more expensive and less efficient.

  8. March 9th, 2017 at 10:48 | #8

    Do Brits really support renationalising National Grid? What the polls ask is SFIK about “major energy companies”. The way things work in the UK is that consumers have no direct commercial relationship with the organisation. The grid is a common carrier, and households contract with oligopolistic energy supply companies. It’s these that they don’t like and are convinced are ripping them off. I don’t myself see the point in privatising the grid into a closely regulated profit-making utility, but it does seem to carry out its service job with a modicum if competence, and seems open to the shift to distributed generation. In any case, it is unlikely that British voters hold strong views on its legal status.

  9. John Brookes
    March 12th, 2017 at 17:43 | #9

    Good news in WA. I assume there will be a lot of disappointed bankers who aren’t going to get their fees for selling Western Power.

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