46 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. Ronald Brak :
    Just in case people are interested, South Australia’s electricity has been almost entirely wind and solar for the past 24 hours. The wholesale price has been a little over zero cents a kilowatt-hour all that time except for a spike after midnight when all the off peak hot water systems switched on the the price shot up to 20 cents a kilowatt-hour for a short period.

    Pardon my ignorance, but how does that wholesale price work? If there’s little demand, and lots of wind or solar supply, the energy suppliers virtually give the captured energy away? What am I missing? Thx

  2. Troy, that’s right. Wind and solar are price takers which means that accept the price set by other generators. And since the price of electricity is down to about a third of a cent per kilowatt-hour at the moment, it looks like electricity from price setters isn’t required. Obviously fossil generators aren’t going to produce electricity when the price is a third of a cent as that wouldn’t cover the cost of fuel and carbon tax. Today’s low electricity prices are good for consumers and good for the environment but not so good for people trying to make money from selling electricity.

  3. Ronald, so what’s the deal with those forecasts (from some industry participants) earlier on in the year about SA becoming the most expensive state or province in the world for energy? Is there such a discrepancy between wholesale and retail rates or between peak and off peak rates?

  4. Intellectual property rights and the Euro crisis. [Irony alert]

    Imagine Big Tobacco would offer its lawyers on IP to the Mediterranean countries – every Greek letter used outside Greece would attract a fee, the Arabic countries would charge for each numeral with a particularly high price for the zero and the Italiens would charge for each of at least 20 letters … The Euro crisis would become a trivial redistribution problem. No?

  5. RB how come the retail price of electricity in SA is about 34c per kwh and I’m told about 19c in coal intensive Qld? If the wholesale cost of electricity in SA is 0.3c then somebody is making an astronomical profit.

    I see Santos recently said Adelaide will have to pay a lot more for new Moomba gas supply created by infill drilling and fracking. Does wind and solar mean Adelaide can now shake itself free of gas fired electricity? It all seems a bit contradictory.

  6. Well it’s six o’clock in the evening we’re sucking down 1.6 gig in South Australia and the wholesale electricity price still appears to be a bit below a cent. Troy, the deal with those forecasts is that some people were lying. Either flat out lying or lying through negligence. And as there being a discrepancy between wholesale and retail rates, welcome to Australia where we have (I think) the cheapest wholesale rates in the developed world, but high retail rates. A large chunk of the retail rate is a result of the tryanny of distance. Something that’s not a big problem in Hong Kong.

  7. Hermit, the average wholesale electricity price in South Australia and Queensland are roughly the same at around 3 cents or so a kilowatt-hour. Their being roughly equal is a fairly new thing as in the past South Australia always had much higher prices due to the lack of cheap coal, but wind and solar have pushed the prices down in SA while Queensland has no wind power and considerably less solar per capita.

    And I don’t pay 34 cents a kilowatt-hour for electricity. What I pay has gone down. If you know anyone who is paying 34 cents a kilowatt-hour in SA tell them to change their distributer. They’re getting ripped off.

    Can Adelaide shake itself free of gas fired electricity? Well yeah, that’s what it’s done for the last day and a half. Of course this isn’t going to last forever, but we are using considerably less gas than we used to. And as more PV is installed we will use even less.

  8. I see that the price of electricity in South Australia hit zero cents from about two to six this morning. I’m guessing that’s because the transmission lines between here and Victoria were maxed out.

  9. If the branding IP is so valuable then as well as buying the plain packet of smokes, the punters should be allowed to buy separately stickers, from the manufacturers which they could then stick to the packets. However, as the tobbacco companies claim the IP is so valuable, the price of those stickers should be high enough to reflect that claimed value. Then it would be interesting to see if the market agreed and whether they sold any stickers. The IP claim like many IP claims in nonsense but that doesnt mean the government will win. Courts can always come up with bad decisions. If they didn’t lawyers might starve.

  10. Jim Rose:

    I do not know what Assange is reluctant to go back to Sweden. “Swedish rapists ‘enjoy impunity’: Amnesty International”

    Now if Assange can just rape someone in Sweden he’ll have nothing to worry about.

  11. @Freelander

    I suppose the quantification problem of the “spiritual dimension” wouldn’t be much bigger than the distortion or hiding of the evidence problem. Should we expect it would work for about half a century?

    The sticker sales idea is an interesting one. Would rational consumers buy cheap cigarettes but stickers for currently more expensive brands? Would bottom line [FN1] producers of currently expensive brands produce cheaper cigarettes and make money on the stickers? Would rational consumers all smoke the same type of cigarettes but pay different prices for the stickers? How long is the learning or discovery process, measured in calendar time? Can derivatives be written on the sticker trade?. ….

    [FN1] Bottom line is the empirically relevant label, IMHO, because ‘profit maximisation’ is a concept that isn’t really defined independently of other elements of ‘the economy’.

  12. Chris O’Neill :Jim Rose:

    I do not know what Assange is reluctant to go back to Sweden. “Swedish rapists ‘enjoy impunity’: Amnesty International”

    Now if Assange can just rape someone in Sweden he’ll have nothing to worry about.

    Good one.

  13. @Ernestine Gross

    Clearly, under the new regime the high value pleasure would originate in buying the sticker. The might forgo buying the smokes altogether ..

    That would be a win win all round! (Assuming nothing unnatural happened to the sticker!)

  14. I am now very confused. I can’t find the data on AEMO I was looking at yesterday, so I apologise if what I wrote yesterday wasn’t true. (I believed it because it was a warm day for winter.) I think I may be going out of my mind. Or rather further out of it than I already was.

  15. Looking at a separate source of information I see that wind production was only high enough to meet demand for a short period yesterday, so I don’t know what I did to bring up a page that made me think otherwise. (The chances of the page being wrong instead of me are probably rather small.) So please, call me bad names. It will make me feel better.

  16. Tony Lynch :
    @J-D
    “the UK Foreign Secretary has specifically said that the UK is not going to ‘storm’ the embassy, as some reports have suggested.”
    Well, that settles it!
    Seriously, do you call citing this, getting at “the facts”?
    As Claude Cockburn said: “Don’t believe it until its officially denied”

    If a news report had said ‘the UK government will storm the embassy’, that would not have been reporting the facts.
    If a news report had said ‘the UK government will not storm the embassy’, that too would not have been reporting the facts.
    When I’m reciting the facts, I don’t say what the UK government _will_ or _will not_ do. If I were compelled to place a bet, I know which way I’d _bet_, but I don’t claim to be in possession of _facts_ about the future.
    However, the statement ‘the UK government has said that it will storm the embassy’ is not about the future, it’s about the past, and it’s factually inaccurate. It is a fact that the UK government (more specifically, the Foreign Secretary) has _said_ that the UK will not storm the embassy.

    I am aware of what the UK government did say about its legal powers. I am also aware that the statement has been described as ‘a stupid bluff by a stupid bureaucrat shooting his stupid mouth off about a matter that will be decided above his pay grade’. I do not know that interpretation to be factually accurate, but I see nothing in the facts to exclude the possibility.

  17. @Alan

    The mild satire in my post may be abusive. We have no way of knowing on the evidence you’ve presented. We will just have to suspend judgment.

  18. @J-D

    We have no way of knowing on the evidence you’ve presented, although it is not self-evident that either satire or judgment are congruent with abuse. We’ll just have to suspend judgment.

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