Monday Message Board

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

10 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. yes it’s Tuesday.

    but i was wondering if the fuss trumpery is making about Americas’ Fed and interest rates have anything to do with his own debt levels.

    El Paso.

  2. Can anybody answer this question?

    Why does AER’s legal proceedings against SA wind farm operators “** relates only to the event component”?

    If ElectaNet is legally obliged to “ensure that it “satisfactorily interacts” with AEMO, TNSPs in other jurisdictions and SAPN, so that power system security is not jeopardised”…

    … why are the legal proceedings;

    1) limited to “only to the event component”, and,

    2) why does ElectraNet not get prosecuted for approving licencing the wind farms as ElectraNet has to “ensure that it “satisfactorily interacts” with AEMO, TNSPs in other jurisdictions and SAPN, so that power system security is not jeopardised.”???
     “Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has launched legal proceedings against four wind farm operators

    “The AER’s investigation into the BSE involved four components—pre-event period, system restoration and market suspension and the event. This announcement relates **only to the event component**.”

    South Australian wind farms in court over compliance issues during 2016 black out

    In addition, the AER alleges that the wind farm operators failed to provide automatic protection systems to enable them to ride-through voltage disturbances to ensure continuity of supply, in contravention of the National Electricity Rules.

    The Black System Event Compliance Report
    Investigation into the Pre-event, System Restoration, and Market Suspension aspects surrounding the 28 September 2016 event

    “The AER’s investigation into the BSE involved four components—pre-event period, system restoration and market suspension and the event. This announcement relates ** only to the event component.

    “3.1 Summary In its capacity as a TNSP, System Operator and Registered Participant,124
    ElectraNet had obligations under the NER in the pre-event period of the Black System Event.125
    In combination, the relevant NER provisions require ElectraNet to: 

    • ensure that the transmission network elements are operated within appropriate operational or emergency limits
    • promptly inform AEMO, when it becomes aware, of: – the state of the security of the power system (including assessing the impacts of the transmission network elements on the operation of the power system)
    – whether there are any actual or anticipated threats to power system security (including any threats to the secure operation of any equipment owned or controlled by ElectraNet), and
    – whether any action is, or is being contemplated to be, carried out to maintain or restore the power system to a satisfactory operating state
    • ensure that it “satisfactorily interacts” with AEMO, TNSPs in other jurisdictions and SAPN, so that power system security is not jeopardised.”

  3. Solar price update
    In another small milestone, Singapore solar trade website PVInsights reports that the lowest wholesale Asian price for a standard offbrand polycrystalline pv module has dropped below US20c/watt, to 19 cents/watt. Many customers will sensibly pay more for the reputational assurance of a major brand, and/or for higher specifications. The average price for a premium monocrystalline PERC module is still, they say, only 26 cents/watt.

    This isn’t over yet by a long chalk. The fossil fuel industry will melt like the Greenland icecap.

    BTW, I’ve been agitating here and there to convince development NGOs bringing solar panels to African villages off the grid to switch their efforts away from dinky little panels of 20 watts or so that can just run a phone charger and a few LED lights. The market for these toys is small and the unit costs must be high. Going for industry standard panels of 250 watts ($50 ex Shanghai docks) you get the benefit of massive economies of scale. A single panel can drive other more energy-hungry but equally life-changing devices: a TV, a fridge, a fan, a cordless drill or saw. Even with the bigger battery you need, the payoff still looks high.

  4. The low cost of no-brand PV panels may be more of a comment on how good good panels have become and they’ve had to lower their price so they’ll shift. The 10 year product warranty that used to be the industry norm will soon become an exception among major manufacturers, with 12 years probably soon to be the minimum. Top of the line German made panels (not many of them left) are now selling for about 50 US cents a watt and they come with a 30 year product warranty. I think if you put them on your roof you can be very confident they will still be producing power in 40 years time.

  5. Bad coal news?
    From the latest CoalWire, channelling Reuters:
    “In the first half of 2019, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) has approved the construction of 141 million tonnes of new annual coal production capacity. Over the whole of 2018 the NEA approved the construction of new mines with just 25 million tonnes of capacity.”

    China is following an incoherent “all of the above” energy policy, installing wind and solar vigorously, plus expensive nuclear, and also allowing the coal barons to steam ahead. (Modi does the same in India, but he’s not responsible when the coal plants go bust).

    Coal consumption in China this year is flat, and the five-year trend is down. So the mine expansion will lose a lot of money. It will incidentally also kill off Australian coal exports to China. Xi does not care what happens to Adani or his Australian poodles.

  6. “China is following an incoherent “all of the above” energy policy….”

    Ho ho. The reality-based community hey James? This breathlessness over an industry still so dependent on subsidies … this level of gullibility is actually very dangerous. Here is where it can lead:

    The problem with really old guys calling themselves the “reality based community” is that its going to lead to the flattening of already near horizontal learning curves. In other words arrogance leads to stupidity. You want to get off this solar mono-mania. Because if you were right they would not need these rebates. Which are outrageous subsidies. Solar is and will always be a niche application. Just like dozens of other energy sources we should be exploiting.

  7. 100GW new nameplate capacity a year is not a niche, and the solar learning curve is not flattening. Utility solar gets very little subsidy anywhere these days, and what there is does not equate to a technology-neutral carbon tax.
    Solar roadways? Dud idea going nowhere. So what?

  8. Its the gullible attitude that is the thing. If what you say were true could we get rid of those rebates then? It doesn’t mean a thing if it cannot be done without rebates. In reality the capacity to be pushing now is not solar its battery power. Pumped hydro, liquid metal batteries, iron and water flow batteries or gas peaking power. If this doesn’t lead, rather than follow solar, than solar is just one big nuisance. Calling me a lunatic is a pretty brave thing to do, because what does it lead to?; I go to your own blog, and what do I see? Carefully hidden under an overlay of technical talk I see pure candied wishful thinking. At one stage you are even talking about sharing out the load between Perth and Sydney; As if we had room temperature super-conductors on the table. Or as if we had found a load of silver so extensive that silver was now a base metal more common than iron.

    Now do we have solar without rare earth elements? If not it doesn’t scale. It doesn’t help in any form without “battery” power leading it. And it doesn’t scale as well because it takes up too much room. Things that cannot scale become niche. When it graduates from nuisance it will still be niche. Can we suspend solar up ABOVE the roads? Thats unused land? A bit of an eyesore sure? But roads that cannot go beneath the ground could have buildings or solar straddling them, should we have the right regulatory framework for road-straddling.

    This grid is so problematic its not time to be peeling off into tribes and hammering each other. Sometimes I also see people who get jack of three blade wind and solar, getting a little bit over-confident about the capacity of our authorities to handle nuclear as well. Thats a bit worrying also. Since I think nuclear should be started, but not rushed or given to the bankers to attach debt to.

    Any attitude where someone acts like they have found the one true quick fix holy grail; thats a little bit of a worry. The oil boys dynastic banker overlords are just going to sit back and laugh at all this conflict, since it means that even their parasitical great grandchildren are going to be able to rely on very high margins for oil, as far as the eye can see, to keep debt attached to. We want cheap solar tiles but we don’t want that to mean sneering at the trompe, or the water-wheel, or permaculture, or wood-gas, or steam applications, or liquid metal batteries, or anything that at least deserves a little bit of interest free financing. If the solar guys go and score rebates everywhere, and use that position on the public teat, to hammer everyone else, they aren’t helping.

    I take the position that it doesn’t really matter what the question is; permaculture is the answer. By its nature permaculture builds soil, thus interring carbon, and preventing droughts and floods. I heard it quoted that for every 1% of extra organic matter in the soil, that soil holds an extra 20,000 more gallons of water per acre. Added to that permaculture often emphasises water retention landscapes. And since it relies on on-farm support trees, rather than off-farm fertilisers, then by its nature it can produce a lot of extra biomass.

    As soon as we get people going tribal on us, then I point out this stuff and everyone sneers and folds their arms. Everyone starts acting like Sir Humphrey Appleby. But I try to say that we cannot solve our problems without also banking and tax reform which funnels producer goods and business renovation to the sole trader, the small farmer, and so forth. Our bankers have developed a form of capitalism that finances all manner of useless gear, without financing much in the way of capital goods. Certainly not low interest sole trader producer goods. Our bankers have created an horrific debt machine that sucks all value off the public and leads to debt peonage. Which is no good because not all of us can be aristocrats swanning around at the Council Of Europe. Someone has to pay the bills and mind the store.

    Its important for people to understand the attention to detail that is needed here and the decades of effort that ought to be expected. Permaculture is a good fix but its no quick fix and its not an excuse to fail to work with nuclear patiently. A farmer would have to devote decades to improving his land in order to be able to produce energy as I would envisage, and we want the low interest funds available for these undertakings. There is no way to short-circuit the problems just be siding with the nuclear camp or the solar camp.

    Future city layout has to also come into this. Think of how the car and efforts to break up certain neighbourhoods lead to suburbs and more road-building? But if more roads are built they throw more housing out further. Requiring more travelling time, thus yet more cars and roads in an endless drive to less energy efficiency and dysfunctional cities. So in the end the only roads that are helping in a serious and substantial way are those roads that go underground. M2 M4 M5 M7. So city layout is also a big factor in long-term energy outcomes. Solar could potentially cause a similar vicious cycle by taking up too much space, like the cars and the surface roads did.

    In summary all ideas have to be on the table. A tribal attitude is something we cannot afford. Most things CAN be done cheaply if we stick at it long enough, before throwing TOO MUCH public money its way. A small amount of money for a long time usually beats a lot of money all at once, in these technical and transformative matters.

    Here is a fellow using woodgas for his farm. Lets not take a pompous British bureaucrats attitude this sort of thing. A woodgas entrepreneur I was following said that he couldn’t get a loan for less than 14% interest at a time when the banks were picking up funds cost free. To solve our problems we have to solve the problem of banker parasitism and of public service welfarism. No stone can be left unturned here. Thats actually the biggest thing; Our “no banker left behind” covert welfare programs. Thats all got to stop. Nothing can work if we are not prepared to lean on parasitical fractional reserve usury. “Been spending most our lives, living in a banksters paradise.”

  9. Chernobyl and Fukushima are both thought to be the result of sabotage. Fukushima definitely. Chernobyl maybe. But whether Fukushima is the fault of mother Nature or an elaborate international attack on Japan … either way if we don’t have ASIO cover and if we aren’t serious about espionage, and/or extreme natural disasters, then we ought not do it. If we are subject to political correctness when it comes to sorting out our nuclear employees, well thats not being serious. The Japanese had a team from Dimona installing security equipment. Are we really saying that these Sons Of Samurai cannot handle their own security? Once you let foreign staff in, you cannot dig them out. Bear in mind also the track record of the oligarchy is to do whatever is necessary to maintain oil industry margins in the long run. If we aren’t simply assuming attempts to undermine projects right from the start, we aren’t being realistic or prudent.

  10. Wow! I just came up with a brilliant idea. It is a ten. Ankle bracletts. No they are not the brilliant idea.
    It is how to use them that is the brilliant idea. Up until now I have not won any medals let alone any awards or rewards. But this idea really should change that.
    Everyone one on the planet should be equipped with an ankle braclett. This braclett should monitor how far you are from your home. No one should be allowed to go more than 400 kilometers from their home. Of course this law would be applied first in industrialized countries. Other countries would be phased in when they have reached a level of quality of life that is fairly compairable to those like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA and the like. have sunk to.
    If a person travels more than 390 kilomters from home but less than 400 the braclett should beep once every two minutes. If a person goes over 400 Ks the person should get a mild electrical shock every 30 minutes that they are over the limit. It they go over 500 Ks they should get a severe shock every 30 minutes and be subject to immediate arrest and imprisonment.
    There should be one exception to this rule. That is for a person’s honeymoon. Then they should be allowed to go anywhere on the planet that they chose, if they can pay for the travel costs, for up to one week. But if they limit themselves to a trip of under 4000 Ks they can stay for two weeks.
    If they do not make it back by midnight on the day of the deadline the braclett should turn them in to a yellow squash.
    Now if the newlyweeds are poor they can sell their travel rights to another couple and at least get some kind of wedding gift out of the plan.
    I can imagine that a counter arguement to my plan would be, why should a person not be allowed to ride a bicylce to Rotterdam and then take a sailing ship to Tokyo or Sydney? The answer is stablity.
    Just imagine if all of the people on a life boat were to suddenly all try to move to one side. The boat would tip over. Well our planet is just like that. It does not have a lot of ballast. If to many people try to crowd in to the most desirable areas a flat object like a raft will become unstable. Captains of societies need to know how many people that they will have to consider and where these people will be to be able to account for all of the different forces acting upon the stabity of the vessel.

    That should dispense with that objection.

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