1,700 new smug bastards

johnboy 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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Maelinar Maelinar 2:43 pm 05 Mar 07

Conservative, Alternative, Bohemians.

You take pride in your own ‘green’ mantra whilst turning your nose at because somebody could do something, and had the resources to do it, they did it.

That just makes them better and more resourced than you, it doesn’t make it a bizarre excess.

That said, outdoor heated paving sounds pretty lush. I’ll put that one down on my mega-mansion plans.

seepi seepi 2:05 pm 05 Mar 07

Nah – if it were up to me I would ban heated outdoor paving.
In a hundred years kids will be learning about that as one of the bizarre excesses of our time.

johnboy johnboy 1:45 pm 05 Mar 07

And you want to let them do that for free Seepi?

God you love the rich more than most.

seepi seepi 1:22 pm 05 Mar 07

Richer people are also more likely to consume more and waste more. They are also the only ones who will take up shocking ideas like heated outdoor paving, heated towel rails etc.

bonfire bonfire 12:03 pm 05 Mar 07

seepi i think you will find that rich peopele will in the longer term, pollute less.

why ?

they are more likely to tick the ‘eco-friendly’ box on the new house form.

over time, that extra insulation, solar passive, grey-water recycling house will use less energy than the public housing box that needs 24 hr a day winter heating.

they are more likely to buy a new prius than a poor person who may have a 600 dollar kingswood or poorly maintained diesel gemini.

sad but true.

seepi seepi 11:32 am 05 Mar 07

this could actually result in use of more water, as everyone uses up their free allocation.

I really can’t see too many people changing their habits tho – people with pools generally have money. Noone is going to forego flushing in order to wash their car when you can go to a car wash.

Ralph Ralph 9:44 pm 04 Mar 07

Not if you grant people a low cost ‘liveable’ allocation of water. We’re talking about charging more to people who value gleaming clean cars, English-style gardens and swimming pools. It’s called a two-part pricing scheme, but that’s beyond Gittin’s elementary standard of first year textbook economics.

Heavens, some people may optimimise by choosing only to flush once a day, so they can keep their pool topped-up during summer. Under our current level of restrictions, people can flush away all day, but can’t have their pool – that’s inequitable.

seepi seepi 9:27 pm 04 Mar 07

I quite liked this line in the article linked above:

“Since the demand for water is inelastic (relatively insensitive to price changes), prices would have to rise a long way to achieve the desired reduction in demand, which would cause hardship to the poor.”

Ralph Ralph 9:19 pm 04 Mar 07

Ahhh seepi, a dear champagne socialist at heart!

Damn those successful rich people, who had the gall to work hard and make something of themselves.

johnboy johnboy 9:07 pm 04 Mar 07

jesus seepi at least lets charge the rich for what they pollute.

Rich people have more stuff than poor people

If you do away with money they people with influence will still have more than people without influence.

seepi seepi 8:51 pm 04 Mar 07

The lightglobe ban is John Howard finally realising people care about the environment, and pretending to do something meaningful about it.

I don’t know that market forces are the answer to this either tho. Why should the rich be allowed to pollute to their heart’s content, just because they can afford to do what they like?

johnboy johnboy 6:38 pm 04 Mar 07

The banning of incandescent bulbs was a figleaf for policy failure elsewhere.

As with water, if we pay for the carbon we use then the great minds of 20 million Australians will apply themselves to using less.

But as long as it remains unpriced all the Government is doing is a carefully calibrated bare minimum to appease public perceptions.

paying more for the low carbon electricity is particularly stupid, make it cheaper and watch the demand take off.

Meconium Meconium 6:14 pm 04 Mar 07

The banning of incandescent light bulbs won’t get us anywhere. Although lights are the most obvious electrical appliance, they hardly use any electricity, even city-wide. Instead of all the bureaucratic farting around trying to ban these bulbs, the money would be much better spent on little things that aren’t as obvious, such as educating people to fix their fridge door seals, or a subsidy on solar hot water systems (hot water being the top or close to the top consumer of electricity).

As for Green Choice… I couldn’t care less really because I doubt it will do much good. The small amount of money that is getting fed into trialling systems like this can’t hurt, but as a policy for reducing carbon emissions, it’s pretty feeble.

Ralph Ralph 3:21 pm 04 Mar 07

It’s more like banning lead paint, or handguns.

No it’s not. These things are (potentially) dangerous.

Colin_ Colin_ 3:09 pm 04 Mar 07

Don’t you hate it when you post without checking that you are logged in with the right name?

AmberVine AmberVine 3:05 pm 04 Mar 07

Regulations forcing people to buy fluoro lightbulbs are just inane.

Banning incandecent bulbs is not the same as forcing you to buy fluoro ones. It’s more like banning lead paint, or handguns.

Ralph Ralph 2:02 pm 04 Mar 07

Ross Gittins, a dinky di economist and probably more qualified than most here, wrote a good article on the nanny state and the banning of incandescent light bulbs.

He’s a quite a poor economist actually and a socialist to boot. I’m also better qualified than him.

Guy Jones Guy Jones 11:48 pm 03 Mar 07

To answer the original question; there is a much more direct reason why Snowy Hydro isn’t considered ‘green’ power. The Snowy Hydro scheme actually generates a net negative amount of power, an artifact of it being a (NSW government owned) corporation and thus profit-driven.

Coal-fired power stations are very very difficult to slow down and speed up to cope with fluctuations in demand, so they run at the same speed 24/7. Hydro systems on the other hand are very easy to stop and start. So at peak periods the water flows over the turbines and generates power to help the coal plants keep up, and charges a motza for it.

Then during off-peak periods guess what happens? Snowy Hydro buys cheap off-peak power from the coal plants to pump the water back up hill into the dams! Then it can be released again at peak time to help the grid handle the peak time spike.

I won’t get too involved in this argument as I know full well that no discussion on here is in any way intelligent. All I will say is that as an environmental scientist it never ceases to amaze me the complete contempt shown by some people for the social and environmental responsibilities which we all have.

Yes I’ve driven a V8 or plenty (and a few things just a little faster than your average Commodore) and I can say I understand that it feels good to have that extra ‘performance’ – on the race track. But what the hell is the point in spending all that extra money on petrol for a car which primarily drives you to and from work in gridlock? No amount of extra horsepower will get you there any faster if there’s 300 cars in front of you, or a speed camera perhaps.

Save your gas guzzler for the track, go buy a Barina (it’ll get you to work just as fast), and put the money you save on petrol into Green Power. It will be doing the whole world a service, even if it’s not servicing you.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 9:03 pm 03 Mar 07

“extra $$ for such stupidity.

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

Although you’re taking the piss, I’ll bite anyway, The different between green energy and V* is that for my $$ spent I get a tangible benefit – performance. Spending the extra on green energy achieves nothing.

But I wouldn’t expect some narrow minded tosser like you to understand what owning a V8 is all about. Which is why you never will.

mlm mlm 8:46 pm 03 Mar 07

Ross Gittins, a dinky di economist and probably more qualified than most here, wrote a good article on the nanny state and the banning of incandescent light bulbs.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/business/nanny-states-bright-idea-ban-the-light-bulb/2007/02/25/1172338469868.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

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