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Saturday, January 18, 2014

A dumb way to waste billions of dollars

A dumb way to manage electricity supply:
  1. Remain silent while home owners and businesses buy millions of air conditioners that use lots of energy in peak demand periods: especially during heat waves.
  2. Invest billions in an electricity distribution grid able to provide huge amounts of electricity for a few hours of exceptional peak demand each summer.

    What a warmer Australia means

    By Sharon Kennedy and Barry Nicholls | 6 January 2014

    Australia is the hottest since records were kept. That has implications for people, crops and animals says Research Fellow with Victoria University Professor Roger Jones.

    There are implications for people, crops and animals in such extremes, says Professor Jones.

    For instance, people who live in housing without air conditioning or full insulation, or who live alone, need to keep contact with family and community.

    "What's been happening with the electricity grid is a lot of talk about gold plating," he says.

    "We've built the grid to withstand the hottest temperatures. It needs the capacity to handle those peak loads rather than just the average loads.

    "Maintaining a grid that will cope with peak loads is the main impetus for our increased electricity bills most over the past seven to eight years."

  3. Invest billions of dollars in smart meters so that the price of electricity can be raised substantially in peak demand periods to discourage people from using the air conditioners they bought in step 1.
  4. Blame the high cost of electricity in Australia on government ownership and sell the problem to private interests in the rather forlorn hope that this could make any difference.
    "Privatising assets is one of the few ways of dealing with “uncompetitive" union agreements that have driven up labour costs and electricity bills", claimed Vince Graham.

    Vince Graham’s comments drew a stern rebuke from Electrical Trades Union NSW secretary Steve Butler. ...Pay rises over the past two years ...added less than 50c to the bill of the average customer.
  5. Suggest that home owners and businesses update the millions of air conditioners bought in step 1 to use electricity in off-peak periods and provide cooling with about 10 percent of the electricity the original air conditioners needed in peak periods. (Air conditioners that use phase change materials.) 
  6. Scrap billions of dollars of excess electricity supply and distribution capacity and throw away the billions of dollars of smart meters because they are no longer of any use.

The link to the AEMO media release in the above tweet is 'broken'.
Here is a tweet with a link to the archived location of that media release, on 20 March 2017.

Further reading

Scenario: HETAC for Commercial Buildings

"This simple example illustrates that a cost saving of more than 77 percent and energy saving of more than 50 percent is achievable by implementing a HETAC thermal storage system."

Having your air conditioner and low peak demand too

How to save the most on energy bills for the least cost