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Instead of moving mountains, just build us a real NBN

I am having trouble understanding this energy debate.

For starters, we own the resources and we make the rules. Remembering that would be a good first step.

Secondly, it is glaringly obvious that privatisation has not worked to keep retail prices down. The bastards won’t even turn the generators on unless they get paid enough.

As Ray Goodlass wrote in the Daily Advertiser

“evidence shows that privatisation leads to price gouging and deterioration of service levels, as so clearly demonstrated by what has happened to vocational education, child care, job centres, Sydney airport, and many other services.”

The third thing that troubles me is everyone is focusing on how we can increase supply but there is little to no discussion about how we reduce demand. With the existential threat of climate change hanging over our heads, surely this should also be receiving as much attention.

But I guess the capitalists don’t want to make it easier for us to reuse and recycle, and try asking them to stop designed obsolescence. Remember when appliances lasted a tad longer than just after the warranty ran out?

Perhaps if we made manufacturers responsible for the entire life cycle of their products, they might think a bit harder about waste.

Speaking of climate change, how wise is it to pin our future power hopes on water – particularly on a river that is fed by snowfall.

As experts point out, “Energy Security will be more uncertain by upgrading the Snowy Hydro scheme as water availability in the Murray-Darling basin dries up. With competing uses for water and the increasing likelihood of drought brought on by climate change, increasing our reliance on water to provide electricity is ill-advised.”

Writing for The Australian Financial Review, Frontier Economics’ Danny Price said the largest beneficiary of Snowy 2.0 would be base-load coal-fired generation because it would be many years before surplus renewable energy could be used to pump water up the hill.

On the other hand, ARENA has been partnering in two proposals that would not require coal but they get little attention.

The reason that has all of a sudden become a political football is because of the Coalition jumping on the blackout caused by a storm in South Australia.

But Snowy Hydro 2.0 will do nothing to help SA which is a very long way from the Snowy Mountains.

ARENA announced last November that they would be providing $449,000 of funding for the Australian National University (ANU) to map potential short-term off-river pumped hydro energy storage (STORES) sites around Australia.

As distinct from large-scale, on-river hydro, pumped hydro uses two reservoirs, separated by an altitude difference of between 300 – 900 metres and joined by pipe. Water is circulated between the upper and lower reservoirs in a closed loop to store and generate power.

According to ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht, there are “potentially hundreds of smaller, environmentally suitable, off-river STORES scale sites” waiting to be developed around the country.

A possible STORES site has already been identified in South Australia, with an altitude difference of up to 600 metres in the hills to the east of Spencers Gulf using sea water.

The proposed 100 to 200-megawatt power station, which could store power for up to 8 hours, would be close to Port Augusta and Whyalla, reducing the need for as much new transmission infrastructure, and the pumping could be powered by wind and/or solar rather than coal.

An off-river pumped hydro system can vary in size from 50 to 500MW, with the Australian National University estimating it would cost around $1 million per megawatt to construct — or about the same as duplicating an interconnector.

There is another ARENA-supported project being investigated in Queensland at the site of a disused open pit gold mine that would be used to store the power from a 200MW solar farm.

In his haste to outdo Jay Weatherill, it seems Malcolm failed to consult Infrastructure Australia, the independent statutory body with a mandate to prioritise and progress nationally significant infrastructure.

Their response was not enthusiastic.

“While the project would help manage electricity supply security during times in which traditional power generators would be too slow to respond, recent news that Tesla can supply 100MWh of battery storage to South Australia in 100 days shows that the lead time for a project like this may well be its downfall.

With the ability to locate storage batteries across a distributed network rather than having to move mountains a virtual storage plant can be built across a whole city connected not only to the grid but also networked to the internet where they can send and receive information to each other.”

Whilst Malcolm wants to move mountains, others are getting on with the job of providing electricity, where it is needed, as soon as possible, and with a focus on low to zero emissions.

If Malcolm wants a nation-building exercise, he should “get back to his knitting” and give us an NBN that works because I am over this FttN crap which drops out several times a day, taking my landline with it.


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  1. Halfbreeder

    Brilliant Kaye brilliant! Think we should put u in charge.

  2. totaram

    “If Malcolm wants a nation-building exercise, he should “get back to his knitting” and give us an NBN that works…”

    Come on Kaye, he does not want a nation building exercise, that is why he ensured the NBN consisted of Fraudband. Attributing any motives to this govt. about helping ordinary Australians is pure folly. I know there are a large number of people who, sadly, are stuck in their belief about the good intentions of these people, but we should try and convince as many of them as possible that they are mistaken.

  3. Roswell

    But, but, but … if he moves a mountain he will go down in history alongside the other great mythical legends.

  4. Graeme Henchel

    Mr. Fraudband ( to the tune of Mr Sandman)

    Mr. Fraudband you’ve screwed our dream
    Made the biggest mess that we’ve ever seen
    You lied with Abbott to get elected
    Made sure that Murdochs pay TV was protected

    Fraud man you’re Abbott’s clone
    Don’t have a vision to call your own
    What you’ve done is quite obscene
    Mr Fraudband you’ve screwed our dream

    Mr Fraudband you’ve screwed our dream
    Made the biggest mess that we’ve ever seen
    We wanted fibre right into the home
    We’ve got a nightmare from the twilight zone

    Mr Fraudband now you’re in charge
    You’ll screw your party and the country at large
    You only care about the top end of town
    You are no better than the clown you took down

    Mr. Fraudband you’ve been exposed
    A snake oil man with political prose
    Your lying makes me want to scream
    Mr. Fraudband screwed us (it’s so exciting)
    Mr. Fraudband screwed up our dream

  5. brickbob

    Good article Kaye,and i and many other Australians feel your pain when it comes to the Internet,and everybody from Labor Greens and Tom Dick and Dora should be screaming their lungs out about the use of a 20th Century outdated thing called copper!….

  6. billshaw2013

    Whilst on the NBN I have observed in my area where it is being rolled out that in addition to the the NBN green cabinet new Telstra type cabinets are being installed along side them. Originally the NBN fiber cabinets would be placed alongside existing Telstra cabinets. This has happened but two out of three in my area are new Telstra cabinets adding to the street clutter. Pretty quiet by Turnbull and NBN on this technical aspect.

  7. jimhaz

    [But I guess the capitalists don’t want to make it easier for us to reuse and recycle, and try asking them to stop designed obsolescence]

    I’d combat this using protectionism. Anything imported that does not have an adequate usage lifetime, from shoes to electronics, gets slugged with tariffs large enough to make the importing profitless.

  8. Darren

    To be a little fair, demand has been addressed on some scale. Almost all consumer devices that are significant electricity or gas users have energy star ratings, and this has led to more efficient devices. Electricity demand also peaked here in 2009, some of which is due to efficient consumer devices, but it is also due to considerable loss of heavy industry. The latter however is simply displaced to other countries, many of which don’t have our efficiency standards.

    That said, the NBN – a fair dinkum NBN – would enable large numbers of people to work predominantly from home. This reduces the costs for employers (less office space and associated facilities required) and also takes stress off overloaded public transport systems and roads, with the added benefit of returning that commute time to the worker for recreation or any other non-work purpose. It’s certainly not for everyone, and doesn’t suit all jobs – not even all office jobs – but it would still benefit tens of thousands of workers, their employers, the environment and our infrastructure – and thereby every other worker that must continue to commute. All we need is that fast, reliable NBN and for some employers to loosen the leash.

  9. jimhaz

    An average worker will be paying perhaps $5,000 in taxation for the building of the NBN. For me that equates to about 10 years of paying for the internet – which I’ll have to pay on top in any case.

    We need to get more out of it. Whether the ALP or the LNP plan it is too high a cost per taxpayer. Half that cost would be for overdone equity reasons for remote dwellers. The LNP should really only cost 20b or less.

  10. Jack Straw

    Ziggy lost Billions for Telstra with Reach.

  11. John Richardson

    If our politicians were really serious about acting in our best interests & solving the so-called “energy crisis”, they could do so without having to spend a dime by simply shutting-down the foreign-owned aluminium smelters that chew-up more than 14% of the electricity generated in Australia.
    To add insult to injury, the electricity the foreign-owned smelters are using is supplied at heavily consumer/taxpayer subsidised prices so, if we closed them, we would not only solve the alleged shortage of electricity, but also bank a huge saving for Australians & avoid the need to spend more taxpayers’ money building redundant infrastructure. All done without the need of an NBN we don’t have.
    Read more here …,10121

  12. jim

    Fiber to the node ok storm rain flooding node now under water, a node with copper wire under water zap zap short splutter zip……….. Malcomes NBN ……it’s got LNP written all over it.

  13. Harquebus

    Something I read a few days ago.

    “I’ve bought and sold refrigerators and freezers from the 1950’s that still work perfectly fine. I’ve come across washers and dryers from the 1960’s and 1970’s that were still working like the day they were made. Now, many appliances break and need servicing within 2-3 years and, overall, new appliances last 1/3 to 1/4 as long as appliances built decades ago.”

    FTTN is not crap. It has many advantages over FTTH and could have provided a basic internet service free to every phone line in Australia. It is the capitalist mindset and not the technology that stuffed the NBN. The difference between a public service and a business model that assumes future privatization.
    Labor’s original plan was a joke from the start.

    Here is a copy of a letter that I sent to Malcolm Turnbull when he was communications minister which, to his credit he did respond.

    If I could build the NBN, this is what I would do. Not change it, add to it.

    Build the fibre infrastructure and keep it.
    Put a radio mast on or near each node.
    Let the private sector connect whoever to the nodes by whatever means is best suited. (Copper, fibre, wireless, whatever.)
    Give everyone free shaped. (e.g. 256kbps)

    Some points:

    Vital national infrastructure does not belong in private hands.
    A wireless enabled broadband network opens up a whole range of possibilities.
    Access to the nodes may be possible by yet to be discovered technologies.
    A free limited service will encourage users to purchase and will enable ISP’s to sell products per use. E.g. Movies, Megabytes, hourly rates etc.
    Do we need to be restricted to just one ISP? Perhaps several with each specializing.
    More customers sharing a node will reduce costs.
    Not every house will need be to be rewired.
    Completion will be sooner and cheaper.

    Connecting with the existing NBN plan will be easy.
    Existing copper from the premises can be funnelled to a fibre bridge.
    Wireless components would connect the same.
    New technologies only need a fibre interface to connect to the network.

    Possibilities: (Feel free to add)
    Emergency vehicles controlling lights and traffic.
    Portable remote sensing and monitoring.
    Wireless masts can be located in radio deadspots enabling communications and TV relaying.
    Portable equipment for controlling special events.
    Public transport could coordinate.

    Every television aerial can also be used to transmit. How easy would it be to connect an NBN enabled device to a television cable and point point the TV aerial to the nearest node? Things like this are not considered because, they are too cheap and easy.


  14. Kronomex

    That’s good article Kaye, but as we all know sensible and the LNP don’t mix. As long as the big power, coal companies and the rest of the big end of town and other assorted 1%’ers keep passing the brown envelopes of “donations” to the LNP all we hear from them is rhetoric and bullshit disguised as “helping Australia.” Oops, forgot to say, “It’s all Labor’s fault anyway.”

    Rupert never wanted an NBN as imagined by Labor and a large percentage of Australians so the LNP (who were and still are bitterly jealous of the original NBN) is more than eager to help Rupert by destroying what we really should have.

  15. Kaye Lee


    I couldn’t agree more. Every time I hear Turnbull talking about digital disruption and how me must embrace technological innovation, I think to myself so why aren’t you guys teleconferencing instead of flying all over the country. Why on earth do some MPs think they need three offices in their electorate even if it is huge?

    High speed rail would also help alleviate crowding in the cities and reduce the number of flights.

  16. Harquebus

    “High-speed trains are hugely expensive to build and operate and consume more than twice as much electricity to run as regular trains”

  17. Kaye Lee

    Australia could have a high speed rail from Melbourne to Brisbane within a decade, with 60% of Australians living within 50km of a station:

    This rail network would provide zero emission journeys in the east-coast corridor. It is expected to reduce travel emissions within the east-coast corridor by 28%, which equates to a 13.5% reduction in regional travel emissions Australia-wide.

  18. Ron Chandler (@RonChandler6)

    ” everyone is focusing on how we can increase supply but there is little to no discussion about how we reduce demand.”
    Well, BMW label every part of their cars so they can be disassembled and recycled to some degree. Arguably, aluminium cars will make that even more comprehensive and ‘greener’.
    But the top priority is to make power generation ITSELF clean — and we already have that tech. It is as simple as solar thermal, which can be baseload. So not believe the lies re solar and wind. All that intermittent power CAN be stored. The AUSRA Consortium which Turncoat was on record as praising in these very pages, has it sorted. A carbon tax will drive the rest, as people buy things that took less power to make, and use less power to drive — in their own economic interest.
    What we CANNOT afford are grafting politicans who take COAL money and then stand in the way of progress. We should absolutely ANNIHILATE these crooks, with great relish.

  19. Kronomex

    Harquebus, the feds are always telling Australians that they should be fitter and healthier so why don’t they put pedal powered generators on the high speed trains? It will cut down on power costs and get all the passengers fit at the same time. Or better yet (really getting silly on my part now but I can’t resist it) dig two canals, one each side of the tracks and get the passengers to row the trains. Dutton could be the slave driver (just think of how excited he’d be getting to wield a cat o’ nine tails) and Pyne”box” could be the drum master.

  20. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    Zero emission infrastructure is bullshit. It amazes that you continue to fall for it. EROEI.

    Ron Chandler
    In my opinion, population reduction and control is the best way to reduce consumption and pollution. It is the economic dependency on growth that stands in the way.

    Canals are a very efficient method of transporting cargo.


  21. Kaye Lee

    I don’t fall for anything Harquebus. It is all about achievable improvements that keep us going as technology comes up with even better ideas. Of course I understand the resources needed to manufacture turbines and to deliver and build them. There may well be better ways to go in the near future – harnessing wave and tidal power for example. I am certainly no expert but I am continually amazed at what experts come up with. I am still amazed how faxes work let alone the internet and that happened like lightning – its applications are continuing to grow exponentially as mentioned by Infrastructure Australia in using it to inform and connect a virtual grid of small scale generators.

    We don’t have enough reliable water for canals.

  22. Roswell

    “It amazes me that you continue to fall for it.”

    Harquebus, it amazes me that you continue to keep telling everybody that they’re wrong.

    Harquebus, you’re a smart bloke (and likeable and generally polite, I must admit), but do you ever listen to what anybody else proposes, or are you programmed to always say “wrong, wrong, wrong” because it’s easier to disbelieve it than consider it?

  23. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    Do you understand the raw materials required, the industrial processes involved and and the fossil fueled supply chain complexities that supports technology? I do. These things you dream of are just that.
    What pisses me is that myself and others who know better will also suffer because, most prefer to believe these delusional fantasies rather than face reality and do what is required.
    You will learn the hard way and make me pay for the lesson.
    Thanks a lot.

    I do listen. Should I go with the flow just because I am outnumbered. Yes, I am a smart bloke and know how technology works. I am a computer and information scientist and am not easily fooled by promises of techno-utopian future as most are.

  24. Kaye Lee

    Harquebus, in your EROEI calculations, have you factored in the additional energy made if solar or wind are used to pump hydro?

  25. Harquebus

    Pumping water consumes energy. There is no additional.
    Have you factored the energy requirements to provide the raw materials, industrial processes, supply chain logistics and maintenance requirements of everything needed plus sustaining a work force, all fossil fueled, for your future renewable energy dreamworld?

    I would just like to add that, in addition to my IT qualifications, I have extensive experience in the automotive industry, industrial engineering and supply chain logistics.
    In the complex industrial society that we have created, the loss of one key resource or component can bring everything to a stop.


  26. Kaye Lee

    Sorry Harquebus. I don’t think you know everything and I find you particularly resistant to learning, to tossing round ideas, to suggestions, to research. I will never know everything there is to know about energy generation or what may happen in the future – nor will you.

    “You will learn the hard way and make me pay for the lesson.
    Thanks a lot.”

    I learn new things every day about the amazing things people are doing to address the world’s problems. IMO you suffer from confirmation bias Harquebus. You talk with the doomsayers rather than the innovators. Your suggestion is to enforce a world-wide ban for ten years on breeding when you know that cannot be achieved and is entirely unnecessary. Educate women and lift people out of poverty and the birth rate plummets.

    A long journey beings with small steps. Let’s agree that we can’t keep using coal as we are and work from there.

  27. Kaye Lee

    The Turnbull government has exacerbated the nation’s energy crisis, making it “as frightening as it gets” for investors and locking consumers into much higher power and gas prices, according to Danny Price, a former advisor.

    Mr Price, who this week resigned from the board of the Climate Change Authority, said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s decision earlier this month to back a $2 billion scheme dubbed “Snowy 2.0” was the epitome of half-baked policy.

    In a second blow to the authority, John Quiggin, a University of Queensland professor, also quit the board on Thursday, saying the government had “chosen to treat the vital issues of climate change and energy security as an opportunity for political point-scoring and culture war rhetoric”.

    “The government has already indicated that it will reject the key recommendations of the review, particularly the introduction of an emissions intensity scheme for the electricity industry,” Professor Quiggin said in his letter.

    “These failures can be traced, in large measure, to the fact that the government is beholden to right-wing anti-science activists in its own ranks and in the media.”

    The board departures follow last month’s exit by Clive Hamilton, who resigned after the Turnbull government began promoting so-called “clean coal” as an answer to the energy issues.

  28. Maureen

    Graeme Henchel could you please put your song to music and put it online? It would be great to get it out into the public.

  29. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    From my perspective, learning resistant as well as physics averse is something that can be applied to yourself and others here.
    On the coal thingy, okay.

    Actually, I have very little to do with doomsayers and more to do with scientists, engineers and economists. Economist by the way are the enemy.

    I have stated before which, you might have missed that, this argument is now irrelevant. Your side won and we are embarking on a renewable future. We can only see how it pans out. I am not looking forward to it as it is, in my opinion, guaranteed to fail.

    Something from my list of saved links. If you would join my mailing list and I wish you would, you would receive, amongst many others, things like this. I do not provide links that I have not read.

    Here is a case study of pumped hydro. It failed in its aims for various reasons. One being an undersized bottom reservoir. Had it obtained its full potential they say that it should have worked. I am skeptical but, who knows?

    An Independent Evaluation of the El Hierro Wind & Pumped Hydro System


  30. Roswell

    “Guaranteed to fail”.

    Only if you are defeated before you start.

  31. Melissa Baker

    Spot on Kaye!

    I was just pleased to see Ray Goodlass was still amongst us and writing after he resigned from our local council some 4-5 years ago (a huge loss to us all) due to health reasons. He was always the voice of reason and never seemed corrupt like the rest of them.

    This government does not care one way or the other about climate change, rising electricity prices, the hardship of the poor – in the end they will be the entitled ones in the biodome as the rest of us perish. Plus, after the last few years in government, they have siphoned off enough extra cash to think they can evade the inevitable.

  32. Harquebus

    You can change the laws of physics and guarantee success?
    I intend to still be here after the transition. That is not giving up. Succumbing to the renewable energy spin however, that is the lemmings giving in.

  33. Kaye Lee

    You are a slogan man Harquebus. Saying “the laws of physics” over and over and over, as you are wont to do with your very limited pet topics, says nothing at all. It specifies no problem and offers no suggestions. It’s just a slogan.

  34. Roswell

    Harquebus, you’re not offering any alternatives. You’re not offering any suggestions at all. Just defeat and gloom.

    Oh, and slogans.

  35. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    Depopulate or perish. That’s it. There is no other viable solution and population reduction is, one way or another, going to happen.
    The laws of physics and EROEI are never mentioned by renewable advocates such as yourself. Do you think that they are nothing? That they can be ignored or disregarded?

    Want to believe the renewable dream? Goodonya. Myself, I don’t and am making other preparations.

    “So, why did people lose interest in overpopulation just while it kept becoming a bigger problem? Something similar took place with other concepts such as the limits to growth and peak oil: people are losing interest just now that these problems are becoming gigantic and probably unsolvable.”

    “But when the garbage trucks stop showing up and the swimming pools turn green, you can bet that the rats and mosquitoes will proliferate like crazy. And they’ll be carrying diseases that are the stuff of nightmares.”

    “A 2015 report revealed that the Pacific Ocean is turning into an underwater desert, devoid of life. The combination of agricultural wastes and other modern chemicals, along with the flush of radiation provided by Fukushima has taken a devastating toll on the Pacific’s once-vibrant waters.”
    “One thing is for sure: the world’s oceans are dying, and it’d be foolish to believe that whatever is killing marine life will not inevitably take its toll on land-dwelling creatures as well.”

    Good luck to you all.

  36. Roswell

    Do you know what I think of the laws of physics, Kaye? They keep getting proved to be wrong.

  37. Roswell

    “Depopulate or perish”.

    In the meantime we want a better NBN.

  38. Harquebus

    That is the childish uncaring attitude that has contributed to us getting into this mess.
    I have been told that you also are smart but, as yet I haven’t seen any evidence of it and very much doubt it.

  39. Matters Not

    Myself, I don’t and am making other preparations.

    Like ‘investing’ in gold? Purchased using a ‘useless’ fiat currency? Why not a few ‘bitcoins’?

    But please explain how you intend to survive, in some detail, while the rest of us go to hell in a handbasket?

    H, ‘realty’ is a construct and the ‘reality’ you construct on an ongoing basis is a very sad one.

  40. Roswell

    Please don’t insult me with your childishness.

    I was attempting to get the discussion back on topic.

  41. wam

    Bill, wonder what happened to trumbles leadership and money
    ‘we have plenty of both’?

  42. Harquebus

    Yeah, right.

  43. Roswell

    Yeah, right.

  44. jamesss

    My goodness sounds like question time in the house on the hill. How will you convince the people in the house to change their perception of their fascist policies of government while you are continually exposing their traitorous agenda. The system does not need an overhaul, it needs to be dismantled completely and the building guttered for housing of the homeless. They have exceeded their use-by date.

  45. Max Gross

    The treasonous LNP/IPA have sabotaged Australia’s communications AND energy independence. Ask why.

  46. Peter F

    I am fascinated by those who keep reminding us of the energy costs in production of all things, without seeing the possibility of getting ALL of our production energy from the sun, in various ways. We are moving rapidly towards this.

    Kaye, thank you for posting the link. This is an amazing proposal.

  47. Kaye Lee


    I was asking you for an explanation of your slogans, not a repetition.

    When you say “the laws of physics” what do you mean specifically?

    You yourself have conceded that your ten year ban on breeding can’t ever happen – but that doesn’t stop you repeating your slogan “depopulate or perish”. Others have tried to have a sensible conversation with you on how population growth naturally plateaus through educating women and lifting people out of poverty but you aren’t after solutions – never have been.

    I truly don’t see the point in your contributions.

  48. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    EROEI. That is physics.
    You don’t seem to understand. There are no other solutions and I don’t want to have endure the consequences of not doing so. The time for conversation was decades ago.
    As time progresses, you will find that it is your contributions that will become irrelevant. Survival will take precedence.
    We will not agree and I have probably hijacked your “contribution” enough already so, let’s leave it at that. Woddayasae?

    “Thousands of concerned people want to avoid global catastrophe. So they are working to reduce population to balance with the world’s declining, vital resources.”


  49. Kaye Lee

    Ok so you want to talk EROEI yet when I pointed out that pumped hydro using solar or wind is extra energy for no additional emissions (beyond the one-off construction of the pipes and transmission grid) you dismissed it. Yes it requires energy to pump the water up the hill but it is emission free energy (you have already counted the manufacture of the solar panels or wind turbines). You can’t have it both ways. Are we genuinely talking EROEI or are we talking about your entrenched prejudice against renewables? You never seem to include emissions in your calculations. Will renewables reduce emissions compared to fossil fuels?

    And please stop telling me I don’t understand. I certainly don’t think I have misunderstood any of your constantly repeated slogans. I just find them more a mantra that you have pinned your flag to rather than a thoughtful contribution to practical improvements.

  50. Michael Taylor

    You don’t seem to understand

    H’, don’t you think that’s being a bit hypocritical?

  51. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    “pumped hydro using solar or wind is extra energy for no additional emissions”
    Manufacture, construction and maintenance of wind and solar devices causes pollution uses more energy than is returned. EROEI. How many times am I accused of not understanding when, after repeating myself a thousand times, you can not.

    Michael Taylor
    No. I understand things quite well. Are you a scientist? I am.


  52. Michael Taylor

    H’, if you’re a scientist then that makes it even more concerning.

  53. Kaye Lee

    I do understand about the energy used in construction as I have said a thousand times. If you then get even more energy from those existing constructions then that increases their energy output.

  54. Michael Taylor

    Michael Taylor … Are you a scientist? I am.

    No, my only link to science is that I studied it for a year at Flinders Uni before changing course and uni. But I do remember quite clearly that the study of science is forever evolving. It appears that your ‘knowledge’ has not.

    And by the way, we have a couple of scientists here: look at Kaye Lee and Roswell:

    About The AIMN

    Both of them were debating you last night. You kept telling them that they were wrong.

  55. Harquebus

    Michael Taylor
    Do you think that I make things up? Your statement concerns me also.
    While I am continually dismissed and denounced, everything that I have been warning about for decades is coming to fruition.

    I would like to say, even though I appear to be unpopular, I do like those from theAIMN and do not want to create any animosity between any of us. I have my opinions which, are garnered mostly from scientific circles and I am unlikely to change my mind because of opinions that are not corroborated by science.

    Not one link, that I can remember, concerning renewable energy that I have followed from comments here has mentioned EROEI.

    If renewable energy comes to the rescue, I will eat my hat. If not then, you will be eating yours, literally.


  56. Michael Taylor

    Michael Taylor
    Do you think that I make things up?

    Absolutely not, and I have never suggested that you do.

    But I do believe that you dismiss everything that anybody else says, time and time again.

    I have told you before that everybody here agrees with you that we’re (the planet) are in big trouble and we’ve probably passed the point of no return. But we ain’t giving up.

    The planet could blow up tomorrow, but I’m still going to do my weekly shopping today.

  57. Ned F

    Harquebus makes the most sense here. Having just read about EROEI it’s obvious to me now that we collectively are living beyond our energy means. What is required is a stabilisation of population globally/locally and a change of lifestyle including sustainable practices in manufacturing/farming, especially in Oz. When I first heard the PM’s idea to recycle water in the Hydro scheme to make a questionable profit on the differential in generating tariffs at different times of the day while neglecting the costs as noted by Harquebus, I thought PM, you’re a genius not. The idea has all the hallmarks of a white elephant project co-ordinated by a Cayman Island based mahout who should have stayed in the banking circus. Also there’s been no discussion of the impact downstream on farms & farmers once the electricity has been extracted twice from the water by the Hydro scheme.

  58. Kaye Lee

    “Not one link, that I can remember, concerning renewable energy that I have followed from comments here has mentioned EROEI.”

    You have to be kidding me. We had a very long discussion about the paper by Ferruccio Ferroni and Richard Hopkirk that you pin your conclusions on. It has been thoroughly debunked.

    Another Failure of Scientific Peer-Review: a Completely Wrong Paper on the Energy Return of Photovoltaic Energy

    Your statement shows that you don’t listen to a word anyone else says. Miriam has discussed EROEI with you on countless occasions.

  59. Kaye Lee

    Ned F,

    I agree Malcolm’s announcable was a thought bubble but is was for a feasibility study which will hopefully examine the things you mention.

    I also agree that we need to change the way we live. As others have pointed out, there have been big improvements in energy efficient appliances. My thing at the moment is looking at improving recycling, reusing, waste management and the life span of products. There have been countless patents bought and buried – tyres that last basically forever for example.

    We could do so much more on that front. I still use the same hairdryer that I got when I was 16 – I am now 59. (I mainly use it for defrosting the fridge which is probably not the best plan – I should rethink that. We don’t really need hairdryers and the fridge would defrost itself if I waited long enough).

    We need ideas, not doom and gloom.

  60. MichaelW

    I’m trying to think of a decent or fair to all policy/idea the present government has. Can someone help me out because I can’t think of any.
    As for their NBN I’m staying with ADSL until I have to change over, all I’ve heard are horror stories apart from one who has fttp. I was hoping things might improve but they can only get worse as more people have to sign up to this expensive lemon.

    Someone once explained fttn to me as, fibre, a sixteen lane highway full of Ferrari’s traveling flat out, then running into copper wiring, a country lane, seems to sum it up.

  61. Matters Not

    There have been countless patents bought and buried

    Don’t think so. Patents don’t last forever. Still waiting for those ‘bought and buried’ patents to be resurrected, because while I’ve heard about them (fake news?) I haven’t seen any examples.

    Tyres that don’t wear out wouldn’t have ‘grip’. Lots of slippin and slidin .

  62. Ned F

    Yes Kaye, the way forward needs practical ideas that address waste and disposes of the idea of a disposable society being a clever option. Business has a role in this as does advertising, but at the end of the day I suppose it comes back to finding within oneself the sweet spot of satisfaction with what one has or needs within reason, versus chasing the illusion that an exponential ‘more’ is desirable. Zen or Stoicism principles seem of practical assistance in settling into that space.

  63. Matters Not

    MichaelW, you should read the following about the latest developments on the NBN.

    The deeper into the network optical fibre is taken the greater its inherent performance capability. Because fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) delivers the highest speeds today’s fixed-line broadband technology can offer it represents the ideal from a technological perspective. Fibre-to-the-kerb (FTTK, also referred to as fibre-to-the-distribution point, or FTTdp) is superior to fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and strikes an attractive balance between technology and upfront cost considerations. We note that FTTK/dp, as it is currently conceived, was not commercially available when the original NBN plan was devised, nor when the current government adopted its model.

    We further note that next generation technologies (like G.Fast and XG.Fast) can significantly boost performance over the short copper distances used in FTTK/dp to levels that would currently satisfy the vast majority of NBN customers; while allowing relatively inexpensive upgrades to FTTP if and when required. However, G.Fast and XG.Fast are not expected to deliver the same performance gains over the longer copper runs common with FTTN, or where the copper is heavily degraded.

    LAURIE PATTON and ROBIN ECKERMANN. Time for rational, informed debate about the NBN

  64. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    Actually, that link was an attempt to discredit Ferroni and Hopkirk and was not actively supporting renewable energy per se however, I will stand corrected. Thank you.

    I have read Ferroni and Hopkirk and believe that they are correct and that Bardi et al are wrong. The attempt to discredit them was shoddy at best. Ugo Bardi who, I have crossed swords with before, has always been biased in his advocacy of renewable energy.

    Yes, Miriam English and I have had long debates about EROEI and it always boils down to the scope and boundaries of the analyses.


  65. Matters Not

    Oil company records from 1960s reveal patents to reduce CO2 emissions in cars

    Yep. From your link:


    Scientists for the companies patented technologies to strip carbon dioxide out of exhaust pipes, and improve engine efficiency, as well as fuel cells. They also conducted research into countering the rise in carbon dioxide emissions – including manipulating the weather.

    Esso, one of the precursors of ExxonMobil, obtained at least three fuel cell patents in the 1960s and another for a low-polluting vehicle in 1970, according to the records. Other oil companies such as Phillips and Shell also patented technologies for more efficient uses of fuel.

    All true. But how does that constitute ‘bought and buried’. Developing these technologies is quite expensive, so why wouldn’t they make use of them – which they did.

    In another historic document that surfaced last month, a Canadian subsidiary of Exxon admitted the company had the technology to cut carbon emissions in half. However, the corporate memo dating from 1977 said it would be prohibitively expensive – doubling the cost of electricity generation, according to the documents obtained by Desmog blog.

    Lots of technologies that can make things better, but because of costs are put on the ‘back burner’ as it were. As I said, patents don’t last forever. That they are ‘bought’ and ‘buried’ is part of the urban myth, I believe.

  66. Kaye Lee


    Let’s pretend we are the people tasked with planning the way forward. We have to find common ground and come up with achievable improvements. Saying “There are no other solutions” and “you will find that it is your contributions that will become irrelevant” won’t get us there.

    “How many times am I accused of not understanding when, after repeating myself a thousand times, you can not.”

    See that’s the point H. You have a set idea that doesn’t allow any others to intrude. You don’t consider new information. You just repeat yourself endlessly as if you are already aware of all relevant facts, all future potential, and have made your decision and we should listen only to you and not the countless experts who disagree with you. That is a very arrogant attitude.

  67. Kaye Lee

    “I have read Ferroni and Hopkirk and believe that they are correct and that Bardi et al are wrong.”

    People from the following institutions collaborated in the debunking. Perhaps you can explain to me where they were “shoddy”?

    a Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, UK
    b Center for Life Cycle Analysis, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
    c Department of Engineering Systems and Management, Masdar Institute, United Arab Emirates
    d Department of Environmental Studies, St. Lawrence University, NY, USA
    e National Photovoltaic Environmental Research Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY, USA
    f Treeze, Switzerland
    g School of Energy Systems, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland
    h Department of Chemistry, University of Florence, Italy
    i Huxley College of the Environment and Institute for Energy Studies, Western Washington University, WA, USA
    j Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield, UK
    k Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA
    l Department of Engineering, Lancaster University, UK
    m SmartGreenScans, Netherlands
    n Strategic Energy Analysis Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, CO, USA
    o Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Colorado, CO, USA
    p European Commission Joint Research Centre, Belgium
    q Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester, UK
    r Nouvelle Donne, France
    s Department of Science and Technology, Parthenope University of Naples, Italy
    t School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Manchester, UK
    u Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering, Northumbria University, UK
    v Insight Through Analysis, DC, USA
    w Institute of Physics, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

  68. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    Not so. I read articles and reports from both sides.
    Soon, we will know one way or another. Bashing heads is getting us nowhere.

    “countless experts who disagree with you”
    Such as? What about those that do.

    “However, a more critical analysis shows that the cumulative energy and CO2 balance of the industry is negative, meaning that solar PV has actually increased energy use and greenhouse gas emissions instead of lowering them.”

    “Renewable energy sources are often advocated for their low CO2 emissions at point of use, but the overall product lifecycle is often forgotten about completely. In addition, many chemical products are needed in mining operations, leading to severe long-term pollution.”

    Is renewable energy really environmentally friendly?

    “in other words, if there were only ‘green’ sources of electricity, there would be no grid.”

    Absolution, Deceit and Renewables

    “This energy-based theory of economic growth is supported by data.”
    “For the economy of the U.S. and any other growth-based economy, the prospects for future, oil-based economic growth are bleak.”

    Murphy & Hall 2011 Adjusting the economy to the new energy realities of the second half of the age of oil

    No growth -> debt default -> trucks stop running -> no renewables.

    Yes. I checked that list. They are or will be beneficiaries. Their stance is not surprising.


  69. Kaye Lee

    Ferroni’s study is about solar panels in Switzerland. Solar irradiation in Europe is very much lower than in Australia. Australia is by far the continent with the highest Direct Normal Irradiation (DNI) resource.

    “In theory, there is enough sun falling on a square of about 50 kilometres by 50 kilometres (or 0.03 per cent of Australia) to provide all of Australia’s electricity. This includes all the spaces between panels, and a typical efficiency”. We just need to solve the storage (and transmission) issue.

  70. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    That wasn’t part of our argument and that fact does not change anything.
    We can argue all day and neither will convince the other so, I am withdrawing from this debate.
    The near future will tell. I just hope that you are not betting everything on your being correct.

  71. Kaye Lee

    My knowledge evolves every day harquebus so, no, I bet on nothing other than the ingenuity of humanity.

    And if we are talking EROEI how can the intensity of sunlight not be part of the discussion? Ferroni himself said his figures were only relevant to Switzerland and he kept mentioning how expensive stuff is in Switzerland which affected his calculations.

  72. Divergent Aussie

    Weissbach wrote a seminal paper in the journal “Energy” in which he rated the EROI of PV very poorly. This was challenged by another academic which was then rebutted by Weissbach in a follow up paper. The first paper is called “Energy intensities, EROIs (energy returned on invested),and energy payback times of electricity generating power plants”, Energy, 2013 and “Reply on “Comments on ‘Energy intensities, EROIs (energy returned on invested), and energy payback times of electricity generating power plants’ e Making clear of quite some confusion”, Energy, 2014. Reading these papers might help to clear up a few things. As posted earlier irradiation over winter is a particular challenge for Solar PV. You’re much better off installing solar hot water than PVs if you want to do something for the planet; solar hot water generally has a storage mechanism built in. It’s about six times more efficient to create hot water using evacuated tubes than it would be to plaster your roof with PV panels to run an element or heat pump. Big tick for solar hot water.

  73. Kaye Lee

    “seminal” paper? It has been widely criticised.

    In conclusion, we cannot help but reiterate here Raugei’s previous conclusions that “in the light of all of the above, there appears to be ample reason to question the reliability of the authors’ numerical results, and, most importantly, their internal as well as external comparability to those produced by previously published studies. ”In addition, the authors make a number of physically impossible statements, such as “only exergy is generated and destroyed”[[3], p. 212] (exergy can only be destroyed, never created), which could be forgiven as a typographical error (though suggesting a lack in methodological rigour) were it not for the fact that it was compounded four sentences later with discussion of ”generated exergy” suggesting (perhaps even worse) that the authors lack a fundamental grasp of basic thermodynamics, further underlining the need to question the original analysis. Finally, Weißbach et al.’s defence of their untenable assertions by setting up straw man arguments and misinterpreting and misquoting Raugei’s comments comes across as a worrying indication of their seeming lack of familiarity with scientific standards and widely accepted methodological conventions.'Energy_intensities_EROIs_energy_returned_on_invested_and_energy_payback_times_of_electricity_generating_power_plants'_-_Making_clear_of_quite_some_confusion

  74. Divergent Aussie

    Widely criticised? By the chap who criticized him in the first place? I guess Weißbach is a nuclear physicist working in the energy game. This probably qualifies him as a physicist but potentially biases him as well. Weißbach has 75 citations, Marco Raugei, faculty of technology, design and environment (non-physicist?), 8 citations. Ferroni, 2016. “Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) for photovoltaic solar systems in regions of moderate insolation” “Highlights

    Data are available from several years of photovoltaic energy experience in northern Europe.

    These are used to show the way to calculate a full, extended ERoEI.

    The viability and sustainability in these latitudes of photovoltaic energy is questioned.

    Use of photovoltaic technology is shown to result in creation of an energy sink.”

    Look at the irradiation patterns I linked to from BOM.
    To clear the record I don’t BELIEVE in “highly efficient coal power” which has been bandied about by the government lately. I don’t believe in natural gas as a transitional fuel either; I believe it’s no better than coal all things considered. The natural gas transitional gig is like saying stopping the boats saves lives sort of logic. I do believe in non carbon emitting dispatchable sources of energy, and I now reluctantly have come to the conclusion some sort of nuclear future is the only way out of this mess. Go read James Hansen’s Storms of My Grandchildren to see why I believe this way. BTW, if you fly on planes when you go on holidays you are doing a great deal of harm to the environment. Most Australians don’t think twice about flying. Oh, and buying online isn’t good either. So hands up those who’ve actually thought about stopping flying. Yeah, it’s a bit like staying up without the lights on. You can’t do it.

  75. totaram

    Kaye Lee: I pointed out long ago that H. is not worth engaging with. Sadly, this is the problem with the human race. You would think that people who really cared about their fellow humans would be looking for a viable solution or way out. Some people however, are only interested in telling people how superior and knowledgeable they are, and how everyone else has no idea. So they only pop up on some forum to show off their superior status. This is best done by debunking what anyone else has proposed. You can show them all the facts you like, and offer arguments. They will simply “reject” them instead of actually engaging with them and say they will fail. This is a typical politician’s ploy and used by govt.s the world over, when a “report” arrives arguing that what they are doing is wrong. They simply “reject’ the report. No reasons are given, no explanations offered. Maybe an ad hominem remark, calling the author a crook,. charlatan, etc. Even a Professor of Economics at a recognised University in Australia, can be dismissed by simply calling him names, while H. himself would be hard pressed to get any such position anywhere. The best H. can offer is a link to some dubious page on the WWW written by some unknown person of dubious credentials, but we are supposed to simply lap it all up as some kind of delivered wisdom. I have pointed this out on previous occasions, but there is no change in H.’s approach. As you can see this has been H’s M.O. all these years. Saa…ad as the Donald would have said. But unless H. changes his/her approach, I think engaging with him/her is a complete waste of time.

  76. Kaye Lee

    I have read Hansen’s plug for nuclear and it concerns me. Accidents/natural disasters/attacks can be catastrophic and his claims of using waste as fuel are aspirational rather than currently practical. If the waste issue could be managed, and madmen stopped from using nuclear power generation as a cover for weapons manufacture, then maybe.

  77. Roswell

    totaram, Kaye is only hoping that Harquebus will listen to what someone has to say.

  78. silkworm

    “using nuclear power generation as a cover for weapons manufacture”… This is more frequent than people think, and often underlies the push for nuclear power. In fact, this is how “peaceful” atomic power came about in the 1950s.

  79. totaram

    Silkworm: from my limited knowledge, Thorium technology does not allow for weapons development and so could be useful in the long term. However, the time frames are very long. We need something else in the meantime, and all other “renewables” fill the gap, including any geothermal, wave, tidal etc.

    Roswell: the evidence for that hope is lacking. Perhaps I am too old and cynical. I would be happy to be proved wrong.

  80. Harquebus

    You keep searching for that magic solution and let me know when you find it.
    Most economists are fools who do not understand economics which, isn’t even a science. Their absurd theories and flawed equations are big part of the problem.
    I have lots of links to support my position if anyone is interested. Don’t rush, I have more than enough to to around.

  81. Paolo Soprani

    The NBN is a national disgrace, bordering on treason on the part of The Coalition, as is the supply of energy. To nobble this vital infrastructure, or even debate its cost, is an absurdity as optical fibre technology is unable to be improved on for at least 100 years. And to allow the best part of our natural energy resources to be shipped overseas virtually free of charge and we left the crumbs is also questionably treasonous. With respect to the NBN, there is now so much that the general populace, and business for that matter, will be unable to do, I have trouble processing the absolute stupidity of The Coalition who treat us, the citizens of this country, as if we are a nuisance and an inconvenience. How do these people sleep at night.

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