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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Small business missing obvious energy cost savings

Solar energy and wind energy suppliers may need to take a more hands-on approach to the development of energy storage technology.

There are reasons to suspect that the fossil fuel energy industry has had a hand in thwarting the commercial development of energy storage technology - to its advantage and to the detriment of the renewable energy industry.

As the difference between peak and off-peak electricity tariffs grow ever wider, the payback periods on energy storage systems grow shorter.

One example is recently announced Time of Use tariffs for small business using up to 40,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year in New South Wales. These have a whopping 36 cents per kWh difference between the peak and off-peak price.

  • The peak period is 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm Monday-Friday. 
  • The shoulder periods are 7:00 am to 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm to 10 pm Monday-Friday. 
  • The off-peak period is 10:00 pm to 7:00 am Monday to Friday:

Small Business Time of Use Electricity Tariffs
Small Business Time of Use Electricity Tariffs

Sources: ORIGIN business price guide for New South Wales customer with Time-of-Use meter and annual electricity consumption falling within the Small Business Energy category for Ausgrid (Code EA225 = Less than 40 Megawatt-hours per year).
ORIGIN energy Rates 2, 4 and 6 for peak period energy use are 44.3 cents per kilowatt-hour excluding GST. (48.73 cents per kilowatt-hour including GST.)

Here is an example of the costs of electricity used from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Monday to Friday, 52 weeks per year for a business that uses 10 kWh each hour over this period:
Interval Energy Use
Hourly 10 5 $1.14 5 $2.44 $3.58
Daily 120 60 $13.66 60 $29.24 $42.90
Weekly 600 300 $68.31 300 $146.19 $214.50
Yearly 31,200 15,600 $3,552.12 15,600 $7,601.88 $11,154.00

During the peak period of 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm each day 60 kilowatt-hours is used. This costs $29.24 per day and $7,601.88 a year. The cost of this much energy at the off-peak tariff is only $0.64 per day and $1,990.56 a year. That is $5,611.32 a year less than the peak period cost.

It is worth keeping a close watch on the availability of 60-70 kWh Zinc-Air batteries that are estimated to cost about $10,000. This amount of energy storage could deliver the saving of about $5,600 a year calculated in the above example.

A word of caution especially for investors and technology developers

Zinc-Air Fuel Cells were heralded as a great idea over ten years ago. Many investors put money into a series of start-ups that supposedly were intended to bring the technology to market.

Some of the investors formed the view that their funds were in fact collected for the benefit of company directors and relatives of company directors.

The technology may well be commercially viable and the fate of the start-up companies may have hinged on other factors.

For example, company directors named in a web post by disaffected shareholders are also company officers in businesses involved in coal seam gas production.

Commercially viable energy storage devices, whether they are Zinc-Air Refuelable Batteries developed at the prestigious Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, or Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries invented and developed at the University of New South Wales, will greatly assist the commercial success of renewable energy technology. This success may come at the expense of fossil fuel energy suppliers.

Company directors with substantial financial interests in the coal seam gas industry may not be highly motivated to bring a competing technology such as zinc-air energy storage successfully to market.

For a history of Zinc-Air Refuelable Batteries see -
1. Zinc Air Refuelable Battery - Review - October 1995
2. Zinc Air Battery Bus Trial - Report - March 2004
3. Power Air Corporation - Corporate Summary - January 2006
4. Power Air Dynamics Limited - Shareholders Newsletter - February 2006
5. Shareholders web post on where their money went - circa April 2006
6. How We Got the Money--Zinc Air Technology: Go Public - June/July 2006
7. Power Air Corporation - Notification of Bankruptcy - February 2012

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Smarter Energy Market Reform

Smarter Energy Market Reform



  “Talking about a Revolution”

  27 FEB - 1 MARCH, 2013


brought to you in association with 

Summer Study Tackles Smarter Energy Market Reform

Last month, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) committed to the most comprehensive shake-up of the National Electricity Market in a decade. The key impetus for this reform was rising electricity prices, mainly driven by increased electricity network spending.

The reform package focused on more regulatory muscle, reviewing reliability standards, and more flexible prices.  While the proposed reforms are mostly very welcome, they don’t promote the biggest, cheapest and most sustainable way to rein in energy bills: energy efficiency.  Nor do the reforms directly help energy utilities become more profitable by helping customers save energy and encouraging distributed generation. And they don’t help redirect unnecessary infrastructure spending into transforming markets for more efficient buildings, appliances and equipment.

Which means there’s lots more reform to be done. With sessions on Energy Markets, Market Transformation, Regulation and Peak Demand Management, this year's Summer Study will highlight the links between electricity market reform and smarter energy use.
Join us at the Summer Study in this most crucial debate to ensure that when it comes energy reform, our greatest energy resource is also our first energy choice.


Yet More Inspiring Speakers Announced

The stellar line up of speakers for Summer Study continues to grow. We are delighted announce the following additions :

Oliver Yates

CEO, Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Michael Sachse

VP Regulatory Affairs, Opower USA
(2012 Global CleanTech Company of the Year)

Allan Jones

CDO, Energy and Climate Change, City of Sydney

Erin McCallum

Campaigns Director, GetUp

Dr Yamina Saheb

Sustainable Building Centre, IEA, Paris

Matthew Sullivan

Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd

Amy Kean

Pinpoint Earth

Yann Burden
Energy Return

To check out our full list of international, local, and keynote speakers and topics, see the program here.

Early Bird Registration Deadline Extended:

Okay. We have got the message that many people are still on holidays.  So we are further extending the early bird to Tuesday 29 January (after the long weekend).  If you are lucky enough to be away, enjoy your summer holidays.  But if you are already back, why not register now?

Nominate an Energy All-Star! 

The A2SE Energy All-Star Awards aim to recognise pioneers and unsung heroes of smarter and cleaner energy use.

Who do you think deserves to be nominated for an A2SE Energy All-Star Award?

CLICK HERE to nominate a standout individual who has made a significant energy saving impact on households, businesses, education or government.  There are four categories for individuals to be nominated in:
1.  Energy efficiency
2.  Peak demand management
3.  Distributed generation, and
4.  Rising star (up to 30 years of age).

Nominations for all four categories close on 31 January 2013.

Nominations will be judged by our expert panel, and Award winners announced at the Summer Study Energy All-Star Awards Night on Thursday 28 February 2013.

28 Feb is Energy Users Day

Energy Efficiency and Decentralised Energy is nothing without the people who use energy. That’s why the Summer Study offers an engaging and inspiring program for energy users. It’s also why Thursday 28 February has been specifically designed for business energy users and managers.  Supported by AusIndustry and the Department of Resources Energy and Tourism, the day will be packed with great speakers and forums on energy efficiency and demand management for business energy users, including sessions on case studies, programs, grant funding and financing. See the Program for details and watch this space for more information over the next few weeks.

  A2SE Staff Update
We would like to take this opportunity to say thanks and good luck to Scott McClellan who recently departed A2SE, and a warm welcome to Laura Wynne who has joined A2SE as Program Manager.

Laura can be contacted on (02) 9514 4399, or by email at .
Make an Enquiry
Make an Enquiry
Make an Enquiry

Featured Speaker

David Green OBE
CEO of the Clean Energy Council

David recently moved to Australia after a brilliant career in clean energy in the UK. He holds the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Energy made by the UK Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainble Energy Group.

David was founding Chief Executive of the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy and launched the national charity Neighbourhood Energy Action that has worked, since 1981, with its local partners to secure warmer homes for many millions of lower income households.

He has also contributed to a wide range of reports and activities on energy policy and chaired the Mayor of London's Energy Partnership. David has advised governments around the globe on energy efficiency and clean energy and was a member of the UK Government's Delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

David was awarded the MBE in 1986 and the OBE in 2003.

What Makes the Summer Study Unique?
It's not just about contributions from world leading experts...

It's not just the amazing diversity of themes across markets, regulation, technology, culture, policy and government...

It's not just the abundant informal time for networking and collaboration...

It's also the fun, relaxed, informal, live-in format that allows in-depth discussions to develop across the event, fostering cross-fertilising of ideas and making lasting connections.

Who Should Participate:
All energy efficiency, demand management and distributed energy practitioners and stakeholders from:

  * Local, State and Federal Government

  * End users - all sectors

  * Energy Suppliers

  * Researchers

  * Regulatory bodies

  * Media

  * NGOs

Download Program

Wed 27 Feb - Fri 1 March, 2013
Location: Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach
Link to online map

The 2nd A2SE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency and Decentralised Energy is a not for profit event
run by the Australian Alliance to Save Energy (A2SE).  The A2SE is an independent, not-for-profit coalition of business, government and environmental leaders. It supports the widespread introduction of the world’s best practices and technologies in energy efficiency. The organisation informs public and policy discussions on energy efficiency, demand management, environmental protection and sustainability through high quality, unbiased research. A2SE’s key research partner is the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney, and it has established links with global leaders in energy efficiency and decentralised energy including The American Council for an Energy Efficient Future, The Alliance to Save Energy (USA), The Energy Saving Trust (UK), The World Alliance for Decentralised Energy (WADE), European Alliance to Save Energy, the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (India).

The Clean Energy Council is the peak body representing Australia’s clean energy and energy efficiency sector. It is an industry association that provides a unified voice for over 550 member companies involved in the development or deployment of technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, wave, bioenergy, cogeneration, storage and energy efficiency.  The Clean Energy Council provides a variety of services to members but its primary role is to develop and advocate effective policy to accelerate the development and deployment of all clean energy technologies. The council also promotes awareness of the industry, thought leadership and clean energy business opportunities through industry events, meetings, newsletters, directorates and the media.  For more information visit

Follow us on Twitter

The Australian Alliance to Save Energy, Level 11, UTS Building 10, 235 Jones St, Ultimo, NSW, 2007, Ph: 02 9514 2044

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Energy to burn

Fossil fuel too cheap to sell - Gas Flaring

Top 5 gas flaring countries, 2010
Top 5 gas flaring countries, 2010

Flaring Increases in the US Due to Low Natural Gas Prices

By Saltanat Berdikeeva | Wed, 24 October 2012

North Dakota’s oil production from its Bakken Shale formation continues to grow, reaching 660 thousand barrels per day (bbl/d) in June 2012. With a back-to-back 5 percent rise in oil output every month, North Dakota does not expect the pace of production to slow down.
The Bakken Shale formation has a substantial amount of associated gas, which is a raw natural gas released as a result of petroleum production. Natural gas is often found in oil wells, where it is either dissolved in crude oil or exists separately in a form of a cap above oil.
The United States now ranks as one of the world’s top five flaring countries, according to the World Bank’s recent report. That is largely due to the rise in oil drilling in North Dakota. In 2011, the United States represented 5 percent of all gas flaring.

Presently, most companies burn off associated gas rather than invest in pipelines and processing plants to capture and sell the gas because of added costs. ...

Nigeria Gas Flaring

Since Nigeria's oil fields lack the infrastructure to produce and market associated natural gas, much of it is flared. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Nigeria flared 536 Bcf of natural gas in 2010 – or about a third of gross natural gas produced in 2010, according to NNPC. In 2011, the NNPC claimed that flaring cost Nigeria US $2.5 billion per year in lost revenue.

Nigeria currently flares about 24 percent of its gas
Nigeria burns off $5 billion resources yearly from gas flaring

NIGERIA: Gas flares still a burning issue in the Niger Delta

DAKAR/PORT HARCOURT, 8 March 2012 (IRIN) - Despite longstanding laws against gas flaring - the burning of natural gas during oil extraction - in Nigeria, and shifting deadlines to end the practice, the activity continues, with serious health consequences for people living nearby.

In the Niger Delta, where most of the flaring takes places, residents living near gas flares complain of respiratory problems, skin rashes and eye irritations, as well as damage to agriculture due to acid rain.
While Shell’s report also says overall from 2002 to 2010 “flaring from SPDC facilities has fallen by over 50 percent,” it says this was partially due to a decrease in oil extraction owing to militant activities. In the same manner, it recognized that the 2010 increase in flaring from 2009 was because oil extraction rose following a drop in violence in the region. ...

Oil firms shun gas flare penalty payment for 2012

Soni Daniel | 07 November 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA

NONE of the oil companies operating in Nigeria has paid any penalty to the coffers of the Nigerian government for gas flaring since the beginning of this year. ...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Greg Hunt rejects Greg Hunt's Electricity Price Plan

Reduce demand to manage power bills: Hunt

June 14, 2012 Brisbane Times

A federal coalition government could encourage big business to "bid" to use less energy on peak-demand days as a way of reducing future electricity price rises for households.

Climate action spokesman Greg Hunt says a coalition government would limit power bill rises by ... looking at incentives for so-called demand reduction.

Network costs are to blame for the significant increases in power bills over recent years.

Mr Hunt acknowledged poles and wires had been "over built" to deal with the relatively few days of extreme energy use each year - for example scorching hot days when everyone runs air-conditioning.

"(But) you don't have to gold-plate, as it's described, if you build in the capacity to reduce demand on those days by striking agreements with large energy consumers (such as) supermarkets, which can power-down their large refrigeration units on hot days and then do the cooling later on at night," he told ABC TV on Wednesday.

"Demand reduction bidding is an incredibly effective means of reducing the pressure on capital expenditure."

Mr Hunt said such bidding would require a change to the current regulatory regime. But he met with a major energy company last week to discuss such a mechanism.

Their view was that demand reduction could have a "double benefit" with positive outcomes for providers and consumers.

Mr Hunt noted that demand reduction had been introduced very successfully in Western Australia but it hadn't been implemented on the eastern seaboard.

TransGrid announces major initiative to reduce pressure on Sydney's electricity grid

October 25, 2012 TransGrid

TransGrid has announced a major new initiative to help reduce peak electricity demand in metropolitan Sydney this summer – potentially saving the power used by up to 50,000 air conditioners.

TransGrid Managing Director, Mr Peter McIntyre, said this major new initiative is one of the largest demand management programs ever undertaken in the Sydney metropolitan area.

“TransGrid has reached an agreement with EnerNOC, Inc., a global provider of demand side response services, to support Sydney’s high voltage electricity grid this coming summer,” said Mr McIntyre.

EnerNOC will provide TransGrid with demand response capacity by contracting with Sydney’s major energy users, such as universities, data centres and manufacturing facilities, to shift their power usage out of peak times. ...

Opposition slams PM power plan as 'stunt'

December 2, 2012 Sydney Morning Herald

Ms Gillard on Sunday announced a strategy to save Australian families up to $250 a year on their electricity bills.

The strategy would tackle the real drivers of energy price rises such as overinvestment in poles and wires - or "gold plating" - of the electricity network, she said.

But opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt said the plan [that is, his plan and TransGrid's major initiative] was a "stunt".

Greg Hunt - audio player

Saturday December 8, 2012 Speaking to Steve Price, 2GB

The Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, speaks to Steve Price about COAG

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Action on climate change now agreed

The United States coal industry, the Environment Protection Agency (the EPA) and climate change sceptic Fred Singer have finally arrived at a consensus on energy generation technology that dramatically reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

The contested issue of what contribution carbon dioxide emissions make to climate change was important when climate change sceptics and deniers were paralyzed with fear that low emission energy generation would result in poverty and starvation. With that alarmist outcome put to rest, the heat has gone from the debate.

The crucial change is the long-awaited consensus on action that lowers carbon dioxide emissions. The question of whether this action will influence climate change or not is a different matter. As mentioned above, the heat and urgency has gone from this unresolved issue.

The following representatives in the climate change debate have each endorsed the same action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions of energy generation:

  • Dr S. Fred Singer - Climate Change Sceptic
  • The United States Coal Industry
  • The United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA)

Others have recognised the same action as an economical and profitable approach to reducing energy costs. The fact that carbon dioxide emissions are cut by up to 75 percent compared to coal-fired power generation is, for climate change deniers - an inconsequential side-effect. For others concerned by the risk of climate change - this is both an added bonus and a significant benefit:

S. Fred Singer, April 11, 2012

"Combined-cycle" gas power plants can reach efficiencies of 60% or more, compared to heat efficiencies of nuclear power plants of 35% or coal plants of 40%.

It gets even better than that. Gas-fired electricity generation is essentially non-polluting and user-friendly, and it can be placed in close proximity to wherever power is needed, making distributed generation economically feasible.

For example, a large apartment building of 1,000 units could use its own 10-megawatt power plant. But once installed, it becomes possible to consider co-generation, with the waste heat used for space heating, air-conditioning, hot water, laundry, and other process-heat applications -- and even desalination.

One can imagine energy efficiencies of as much as 80%, more than double what is achieved today. It would also simplify the problem of waste-heat disposal.

Cheap gas will encourage the petrochemical industry to invest $30 billion in new U.S. plants over the next five years, according to Chevron-Phillips Chemical Co. Plastics producers will get a double-boost -- from cheaper feedstock gas, the raw material for their product, and lower electricity costs. ...

So what needs to be done? The first step is to have a White House that strongly believes in the need for low-cost energy to promote economic growth, increase prosperity, and fight poverty. Electricity costs should "skyrocket" downward, not upward.

The United States Coal Industry

Coal-to-Gas is an Off-the-Shelf Energy Solution, by Frank Clemente.

Update 17 March 2014
The coal lobby has removed the web pages for "Coal Can Do That".
A cached copy of this article by Frank Clemente is available from Google - as it existed on 23 February 2014 - Coal-to-Gas is an Off-the-Shelf Energy Solution

Update 2 April 2014
The coal lobby has removed the cached copy of the web pages for "Coal Can Do That". You may still read a copy of the "Coal Can Do That" article "Coal-to-Gas is Off-the-Shelf Energy Solution" from February 2009 by Dr. Frank Clemente.

Substitute natural gas (SNG), the product of a coal-to-gas process, is an established technology that has been around for a century and is currently in use throughout the world.

Substitute natural gas technology produces pipeline quality natural gas equivalents that can be used to fuel power plants, heat homes and manufacture a wide range of goods.

It removes 95% of the mercury and virtually 100% of the sulfur. The captured sulfur can be used to make fertilizer.

It provides fuel for the hundreds of natural gas power plants, ...boosts the economy of local communities and provides well paying jobs. A planned Muhlenberg County substitute natural gas state-of-the-art facility in Kentucky, for example, will create 1,200 construction jobs for four years, 500 permanent jobs and pump over $100 million into the economy of host Muhlenberg County and surrounding communities.

The United States Environment Protection Agency (the EPA)

On Tuesday, March 27 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new performance standards limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The standard, which applies only to new power plants, limits CO2 emissions to 1,000 lbs (454 kilograms) per megawatt-hour (kg CO2/MWh).

The proposed rule is significant because it would be the first explicit limit on CO2 emissions in the United States. It effectively brings to an end new construction of conventional coal-fired power plants, which cannot meet the standard.

Typically, new coal plants generate about 1,800 lb (815 kg) CO2/MWh (or between 1,600 to 1,900 lb (725 to 860 kg) CO2/MWh). This means any new coal plants will have to adopt new technologies to reduce emissions, namely carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Natural gas plants, on the other hand, emit around 800-850 lb (360-385 kg) CO2/MWh, well within the standard.

In fact, the EPA based the emission limit on “the performance of widely used natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) technology” and predicts that NGCC will be the predominant choice in new fossil-fuel powered electricity generation.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Heatwave kills more than bushfires

January 2009 Heatwave in Victoria:
an Assessment of Health Impacts

JANUARY 2009's extraordinary heatwave killed 374 Victorians, more than double the number of deaths in the Black Saturday bushfires.


This report by the Chief Health Officer, Victoria, Australia provides an analysis of the health impacts of the January 2009 Victorian heatwave. This was a period during which Victoria experienced the most extreme temperatures, with many records set for high day and night time temperatures, as well as for the duration of extreme heat.

Over the five days, 27-31 January 2009, maximum temperatures were 12-15°C above normal over much of Victoria. The temperature was above 43°C for three consecutive days from 28-30 January reaching a peak of 45.1°C on 30 January 2009.

Figure 10. Deaths between 26 Jan and 1 Feb: Mean deaths in 2004–08 vs 2009
Figure 10. Deaths between 26 Jan and 1 Feb: Mean deaths in 2004–08 vs 2009

374 excess deaths occurred in the week 26 January to 1 February, 2009 compared to the same period over the preceding 5 years.

The majority, 294 excess deaths were of people aged 65 and over.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Energy Prices and Policy in Australia

Natural Gas and Coal Seam Gas

Natural Gas Prices Planned for Australia  "Export Parity" in Red Bars, USA Price in Blue Bars
Natural Gas Prices Planned for Australia
"Export Parity" in Red Bars, USA Price in Blue Bars

The Australian Energy Market Operator web site lists wholesale prices for natural gas.
These are listed in Australian dollars per gigajoule ($/GJ).
The wholesale price of natural gas in Victoria on 7 January 2013 was about $3 per GJ.
This is equivalent to approximately $111 per 1,000 cubic metres - virtually the same as the US natural gas price at the Henry Hub (the blue bars in the above chart).
AEMO - Victorian Wholesale Natural Gas Market Data 7 January 2013
AEMO - Victorian Wholesale Natural Gas Market Data
7 January 2013

The Australian Institute of Energy web site is offline at present.
The following is the first few items from a web archive copy -

Australian Institute of Energy

Oil & Gas Special Interest Group

Interesting and Useful Articles

House of Representatives, Standing Committee on Economics

Inquiry into Australia' Oil Refinery Industry

This inquiry into Australia's oil refining industry is about to commence. At time of writing, 21 submissions had been published. Readers with interests in oil refining will find these submissions of value.

Read/download submissions   

An analysis of coal seam gas production and natural resource management in Australia.

Williams J., Stubbs T., and Milligan A. October 2012. A report prepared for the Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors by John Williams Scientific Services Pty Ltd, Canberra, Australia.

There has been no greater influence on Australia's energy markets than coal seam gas since production began over 40 years ago of natural gas and crude oil.

This commercial development  has ensured that the East Coast again had adequate supplies of natural gas, sufficient enough  to lay the foundations for a large LNG industry in Gladstone and  that domestic natural gas prices will in future reflect export parity for LNG, the same concept as import parity for crude oil.

In order to ensure that this development was managed well, an Independent Expert Scientific Committee on CSG is being established under COAG. This report is the most independent, disinterested nationwide analysis yet undertaken and makes two key findings:
  • Firstly, the environmental risks, especially with groundwater, are serious, and neither decommissioning wells nor replenishing aquifers have been properly considered and
  • Secondly, this is another land use which needs to be regulated than like all others.


Read/download this report

James Fazzino is the managing director and chief executive of Incitec Pivot.
The following are extracts from two articles he has written critical of the Australian Government policy on natural gas pricing.

Government should ensure gas is made available for local manufacturing

BY: JAMES FAZZINO From: The Australian October 01, 2012

Australia has abundant supplies of natural gas but we have the only national government in the world that doesn't give priority to local use, both for downstream processing and for Australian homes.

We have allowed major oil and gas companies to control the use of the gas so that export contracts to Japan and China get priority.

This means that there is either no gas for Australian manufacturing or, at best, gas is made available at up to four times the current price. We are being asked to pay virtually the same price for Australian gas as energy-starved Japan and China.

This is not the global market price because gas is essentially traded in a series of local markets. Only 9 per cent of the world's gas is traded globally. The result is that Australian manufacturing plants will close, hundreds of workers will lose their jobs and Australian household energy bills will skyrocket.

Read this report

Incitec Pivot chief James Fazzino says ALP's failed to take advantage of the gas boom

BY: JAMES FAZZINO From: The Australian July 27, 2012

INCITEC Pivot chief James Fazzino has accused the Gillard government of lacking the vision to take advantage of its gas interests.

"For me, it's illogical and short-sighted that Australia is not leveraging our abundant gas resources for the greater national interest," he told an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia lunch in Sydney yesterday.

Mr Fazzino said there were fundamental differences between how Australia and the US viewed the access and affordability of energy, in particular gas reserves. "The US sees its gas reserves as an enabler for value-added manufacturing, and this is revitalising their economy," he said.

Mr Fazzino said the US proposed developing its energy reserves in support of manufacturing jobs, but Australia had "naively allowed the unfettered export" of gas and was missing a big opportunity to retain gas reserves, or at least a larger portion of them, onshore.

Read this report

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Shifting Energy Use to Cut Electricity Bills

"Plan A": saving energy use to cut power bills
"Plan B": SHIFTING energy use

  • After assessing cost-effective options for energy saving, it is time to evaluate options for SHIFTING energy use.
  • The spread between peak period tariffs and off peak period tariffs continues to grow.
  • Technology to freeze Phase Change Materials overnight and use them as heat sinks for air conditioners, refrigerators, cool rooms and freezers in peak periods is commercially available. (Freezing a block of ice at off peak tariffs can deliver low cost cooling in peak periods.)

Hourly Energy Use and Hourly Energy Cost
Hourly Energy Use and Hourly Energy Cost
Off Peak, Shoulder and Peak Periods
Projected Annual Energy Costs and Savings by Shifting Energy Use from Peak to Off Peak Periods
Projected Annual Energy Costs and Savings by
Shifting Energy Use from Peak to Off Peak Periods

NSW Coal Exports to Double

New South Wales - The State Infrastructure Strategy 2012 – 2032

A few extracts.
Note coal exports planned to surge.
Climate change takes back seat to New South Wales government's budget reliance on coal royalties? See comment below on falling global price for thermal coal.
Infrastructure NSW - Coal Exports to more than double
Infrastructure NSW - Coal Exports to More than Double

Comment on coal investments facing downward price trend

Australian thermal coal monthly price - Newcastle/Port Kembla - New South Wales
Australian thermal coal monthly price - Newcastle/Port Kembla - New South Wales
Any investments by New South Wales related to coal mining are under threat. The long term trend is towards falling demand, increasing world supply of coal and growing competition from cheap natural gas. Investments in rail freight, port facilities, and mines create increasing financial threats to New South Wales Government revenues. Commercial investment banks funding coal-related infrastructure projects are exposed to risks on a scale similar to the Global Financial Crisis —
Spanish Banks Try to Build Their Way Out of Home Glut

MADRID—On a weedy dirt lot here, lender Bankia is pursuing its answer to a banking and property crisis that has left Spain with a glut of around one million vacant homes. Its approach: Build even more.

Since its property bubble burst in early 2008, the Spanish financial sector has been dogged by fears that it has put off doing a deep clean of the estimated $224 billion (€176 billion) in troubled assets sitting on its books.

Peak demand

While energy demand is declining, peak demand has grown at nearly two percent per annum. The ‘gap’ between average energy and peak demand drives the price up further as more infrastructure is needed for less time.

Nationally, it is estimated that over $11 billion of infrastructure is used for less than one percent of the time.

Infrastructure NSW has concluded that there are insufficient incentives on electricity network businesses to manage peak demand and there is evidence that:
  • forecasts of demand (for capital planning) are conservative and do not take into account the potential of demand management, including price elasticities
  • high level analysis of data on energy flows are not used to any extent in capital planning
  • automation and active configuration and balancing of electricity supply systems are not used to avoid capital expenditure. This has contributed to the high level of electricity distribution investment and consequent high prices.
(Page 150)

Energy snapshot

  • The NSW Government has $30 billion invested in electricity infrastructure (in State Owned Corporations (SOC)). This is $26 billion in network businesses and $4 billion in generation businesses. The electricity sector accounts for 27 percent of past capital and 28 percent of all the Government’s future capital program.
  • The electricity sector has invested an average of $2 billion a year for the past decade. The capital plans of the businesses are to double this to an average of $4 billion a year for the next decade to 2021.
(Page 149)

Prices and demand

The NSW economy has traditionally benefited from the competitive advantage of low priced energy based upon abundant reserves of coal. This long term competitive advantage has all but disappeared over the last 5 to 10 years.

The era of low cost energy is over. High levels of investment in electricity networks and the proliferation of primarily Federal Government renewable energy schemes have caused the average electricity retail bill to double over the past eight years for NSW residential customers, from around $800 to near $1,600 per annum.

NSW prices have also grown faster than prices in other States, ... [in fact - faster than EVERY State except South Australia, so the proliferation of primarily Federal Government renewable energy schemes cannot be as significant as this NSW report suggests].

This is shown in Figure 11.2 below.
Average Electricity Retail Prices 2001-11
Figure 11.2 Average Electricity Retail Prices 2001-11

(Page 149)