1,700 new smug bastards

By 2 March 2007 50

The ABC warns that ActewAGL have signed up an extra 1,700 people to their “Green Choice” electricity scheme. This brings the total to 9,000 Canberrans choosing to pay more for exactly the same electricity simply to get a warm inner glow.

It gets better because the West Nowra landfill, South Australia’s starfish hill windfarm and the dinky Mt Stromlo mini hydro are the sources of this “green power”. So not only does the smug “Green Choice” customer pull the same juice out of the grid as us, but ActewAGL aren’t even pushing any particularly green power into their grid. (According to their website the mini hydro can supply at best 600 homes).

Best of all is that the “Green Choice” only supplies the first 15 kilowatt hours of renewable energy, so power guzzlers get their warm inner glow and vague feeling of superiority and then run their lives off the main grid anyway.

A nice little earner for ActewAGL though. If I could turn a dollar from self-congratulating Canberrans I’d be in there in a flash.

Is there any reason Snowy Hydro power doesn’t count as green?

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50 Responses to
1,700 new smug bastards
Ralph 10:55 am
02 Mar 07

What’s that old proverb about fools and money?

seepi 10:56 am
02 Mar 07

I see it as a way of ‘voting with your feet’ and indicating to the powers that be that there is support for green options, even if they are a bit pricier.

simonsky 11:16 am
02 Mar 07

As opposed to the smugness you see when people pass off their opinion as resembing fact

barking toad 11:16 am
02 Mar 07

Hydro power can’t be allowed as ‘green’ because there’s dams involved and they make baby jesus cry and they rape Gaia.

Sammy 11:18 am
02 Mar 07

According to ActewAGL, a three bedroom house uses 10-30kWh of electricity per day.

I have a three bedroom house, and only 2 people live in it.

I would consider myself an ‘average’ energy user, in so far as I never leave lights on in rooms in which i’m not present, and I turn appliances off when not in use.

I average 3000 kWh per quarter (93 days) which makes me a 32 kWh per day user. I’d love to know how a three bedroom house gets down closer to the 10 kWh per day level?

Sammy 11:20 am
02 Mar 07

Oh, and i’m on the Greenchoice 5 plan, which gives me 5kWh’s per day of smugness.

Al 11:25 am
02 Mar 07

JB: on Snowy power, it is not generally considered in green electricity schemes because it is “old green”, although there are a couple of schemes that promote Snowy hydro juice, but these are not supported by organisations like ACF.
Why? The idea of these schemes is to support construction of new CO2 neutral generation, in line with the Mandatory Renewable Energy targets (even though at just 2% they are pathetically low – China’s for instance is I think something like 12%).
You create or defer new generation, such as through the solar HWS on my roof, you get Renewable Energy Certificates in return. So “Green Electricity” schemes are buying those RECs. Your premium helps pay for them.
As to the whole idea of having to pay MORE to do the right thing – well that really rubs. But the idea is to dry up supply – if all the RECs are bought up, more renewable generation must be constructed somewhere.

PigDog 11:29 am
02 Mar 07

So Johnboy, how do I get greener energy?
(with out having to do it myself i.e installing solar power on my roof- I don’t care that much)

johnboy 11:33 am
02 Mar 07

use less? (if it matters to you)

Taxing carbon is the only real fix, not fleecing (once again) the well meaning.

Ralph 11:35 am
02 Mar 07

One positive though is that it is a private market (well sorta), so people can freely choose to pay more for a piece of psychic utility (double pun).

Ralph 11:37 am
02 Mar 07

Agree JB. Ideally my first best option is to do nothing, but failing that a carbon tax is most efficient.

Regulations forcing people to buy fluoro lightbulbs are just inane.

Sammy 11:37 am
02 Mar 07

ActewAGL would never have built the ‘green’ power generation sources, if they couldn’t charge extra for them. Life is all about incentives.

seepi 11:49 am
02 Mar 07

Sammy do you have electric hot water, heating/cooling and cooking?
Also old fridges can chew up electricity – especially if they leak thru the door seal.

Maelinar 11:51 am
02 Mar 07

Fools and Money, parted.

Ari 11:55 am
02 Mar 07

Seepi’s comment reminded me that I need to replace my fridge’s door seal.

Can anyone recommend a suitable tradesperson?

Al 12:08 pm
02 Mar 07

Sadly Sammy is correct.
All electricity providers do have to source a mandatory proportion of their electricity from new renewables. But this is over and above what they on-sell as “green power”. From the greenpower site above:

“How does GreenPower interact with MRET?”
“Retailers are already obliged to purchase a proportion of their electricity from renewable sources through the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET). Any GreenPower purchases are over and above those minimum requirements. More information about MRET is available from

podfink 1:07 pm
02 Mar 07

My wife signed us up for GreenChoice. Initially I thought that it was a waste of money. However, after intense martial re-education I can now see that in fact we are financially supporting investment (and presumably R&D) in better energy. Whilst this will probably change nothing about how Canberra gets it’s energy, it doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. PS: To say Hydro electricity is “old green” is a little strange. I would think addressing climate change is more important than concern over local fauna/flora disruption. Maybe I need a little more re-education.

podfink 1:08 pm
02 Mar 07

My wife signed us up for GreenChoice. Initially I thought that it was a waste of money. However, after intense martial re-education I can now see that in fact we are financially supporting investment (and presumably R&D) in better energy. Whilst this will probably change nothing about how Canberra gets it’s energy, it doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. PS: To say Hydro electricity is “old green” is a little strange. I would think addressing climate change is more important than concern over local fauna/flora disruption. Maybe I need a little more re-education.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with 1:45 pm
02 Mar 07

Waste of money. We don’t, and won’t, subscribe to paying extra $$ for such stupidity.

Maelinar 1:59 pm
02 Mar 07

Inbuilt into your existing electricity bill is compensation towards funding replacement energy. The real pity is that this money went into back pockets for generations, rather than being directed towards research or investment.

There is no need to pay extra for ‘greener’ energy – there is a need to make people accountable for their years of maladministration though.

Al 2:01 pm
02 Mar 07

Interesting observation podfink.
Interesting observation podfink.

“old green” and “new green” – jargon of renewable energy practitioners sorry.
One thing is very clear – entire ecosystems will be overrun by changing climate impacts. As the snow retreats, our Australian alpine veg and animal communities will be wiped out – the mountain pygmy possum was decimated this season, as an example.
And while some animal types are fairly mobile and flexible enough to adapt, veg communities can’t “migrate” anywhere near fast enough to keep up with the change already happening. Nor can veg evolve fast enough to cope with staying put.

Ralph 2:07 pm
02 Mar 07

Scaremongering, and all based on conjecture.

Woody Mann-Caruso 2:11 pm
02 Mar 07

exactly the same electricity

You do realise that it’s the total offset that counts, don’t you? If I burn 15kw/day here, but put 15kw/day of green energy in anywhere else on the planet, my net carbon emissions are zero. Are you really thick enough to expect that green energy means they run a new cable from the wind generator straight to your house so you don’t have to use the same energy as everybody else?

Taxing carbon is the only real fix

Now we see the real stupidity. You’re against one system that seeks to create zero net greenhouse emissions, but you’re for another one that does the same thing? Trees here sequester carbon here to offset carbon over there. Green energy purchasers purchase energy there to offset energy here. What’s the difference?

extra $$ for such stupidity.

Funny – I feel the same way about penis extensio^H^H^H^H, I mean, V8s.

johnboy 2:17 pm
02 Mar 07

This from the man who says it never rains?

WMC your longing for stalinist government is going to take years to bring to fruition, in the meantime why not have systems that encourage the outcomes you want rather than command them?

Dealing with real people you might find things work better that way.

More generally, if you want to invest in green R&D the stock market is a better outlet than this scheme.

Ralph 2:28 pm
02 Mar 07

Exactly. WMC a carbon tax is far more efficient than dictating fluoro lightbulbs and green power to the public. It lets the market decide where to innovate and where to sequester.

Al 2:45 pm
02 Mar 07

Ralph I’m sure if you were born a few centuries ago, you would have been one of the people clammering for Darwin to be strung up for all his “conjecture” about evolution.
Who was it said “None so deaf as those who will not hear”?
Subscribe to Crikey – you, barking toad, and Christian Kerr could have some great love-ins.

barking toad 3:52 pm
02 Mar 07

Al, did you read where Mars is suffering from gorebil warmening. Bloody martians and their coal burning electricity and big 4wd’s. If only they’d sign up for green choice to save their planet. I could even suffer their martian smugness.

Back on planet earth, though, all is well. Bob the Brown has jetted off to Africa to save us using his fly-buys credits (presumably carbon variety).

Ahh, all the tree hugging hippies can pay extra for their electricity if it makes them feel good. Me, I’ll pay as little as possible – that will make me feel good.

Gaia won’t give a flying one way or the other.

Woody Mann-Caruso 4:02 pm
02 Mar 07

Firstly, I didn’t say anything about light bulbs. I don’t need you to put words in my mouth, especially when they’re as poorly considered and just plain wrong as yours.

Secondly, your knowledge of Stalin appears to be about as good as your knowledge about Scandinavia in the Middle Ages. Nobody forces you to buy green power. It doesn’t get much closer to “letting the market decide” than that. Don’t want to buy it? Don’t. But don’t think you can spread ill-informed lies about how the scheme works and its benefits without getting called out.

Take that little piece of poorly researched bullsh1t about only getting the first 15kw of energy from GreenChoice, for example. You can buy as much as you want, and all it takes is a simple phone call. Can’t say I’m surprised – the closest this site gets to real journalism is linking to the ABC’s website.

As for investing in R&D: I don’t buy green power because it’s investing in R&D. I buy it because I use between 12 and 15kw hours of electricity a day, and green power means that my net carbon output for that energy is close to zero. R&D and new facilities is a bonus. It’s part of being a responsible citizen – more so than, say, talking sh1t on the internet like most of you fukctards.

johnboy 4:25 pm
02 Mar 07

And yet you keep the ad views ticking over for me. How sweet.

Your dinky little greenchoice is stupid WMC because I, paying no more at all, get the same electricity with exactly the same component of renewable energy.

It’s a tax on stupid people (people like you who think normans and vikings were the same people despite the massive and differences between them based solely on descent) the same as pokies and smoking.

This time it’s stupid smug people like you.

Al 4:43 pm
02 Mar 07

Well this thread took an unfortunate turn.
Great way to make us all turn off our systems and go home guys.

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