Saturday, January 02, 2010

Electricity prices set to double under Warmist laws

THE wholesale price of electricity will more than double within two years and triple in the next two decades under the Rudd Government's plans to tackle climate change. New modelling by the Government's energy market operator reveals the wholesale price of electricity will rise from $30 per megawatt hour in 2010 to about $100 by 2024. In a national transmission report released before Christmas, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) predicts the price will double to $60 per megawatt hour by 2012. The wholesale price makes up less than half of the final bill that reaches each customer, who also pays distribution costs.

The AEMO modelling is based on Treasury's carbon price estimates under the proposed emissions trading scheme, which from next year will force big polluters to pay for their emissions.

Opposition energy spokesman Nick Minchin yesterday accused the Rudd Government of trying to hide the real costs of tackling climate change. "I think Australians will be stunned to learn that their power bills could more than triple as a result of Mr Rudd's climate change policies," Senator Minchin said.

Earlier this week, the Rudd Government released its own Treasury modelling, which it said revealed low-income households would be $190-a-year better off under its proposed scheme. The Government said its measures to cut carbon emissions would cost low-income households $420 a year, but they would receive $610 in assistance from the Government to offset the higher prices.

The price shock comes as Queenslanders prepare for surging power bills next year with the latest draft proposal by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) estimated to add $250 to the average household bill. Households also face the prospect of paying more for their electricity during peak times, with State Cabinet due to consider a suite of proposed new tariffs as part of a QCA review early this year. Peak pricing measures are aimed at reducing power use at times during the day when electricity is more expensive to supply.

The Federal Government was also warned in October about the likely impact of its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme on energy costs in a report prepared by the Australian Energy Market Commission, an advisory body to energy ministers. "The underlying costs of supply might also become more volatile. This will translate to customers being exposed to higher prices, and potentially more frequent price changes," it said.


Ghetto coming to a suburb near you

High density housing for the poor will inevitably bring increased crime and disruption to otherwise quiet locations

SUBURBS across NSW are in danger of becoming "mini ghettos" as the State Government pushes on with an unpopular $2.9 billion plan to integrate public housing. An investigation by The Daily Telegraph has found residents are protesting against at least 48 projects stretching from Lake Macquarie in the north, through Sydney and down to Ulladulla on the Far South Coast.

Among the objections are what residents claim are an overload of units stacked on single blocks, not enough parking and significant overshadowing from two and three-storey apartment blocks on what have traditionally been streets of single-storey family homes.

Residents also claim they have been silenced by draconian laws enforced last year which block locals from appealing against public housing in their neighbourhoods.

More than 6000 units and townhouses are being built by NSW Housing across the state before a June 2012 deadline to qualify for the Federal Government's $1.9 billion Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan. A further $1 billion is being spent by the NSW Government to build another 3000 units and townhouses on 505 sites across the state.

Community groups in Lake Macquarie considered class action in the High Court and petitions are being drawn up and signed by thousands of residents against "substandard dog boxes" being built in their streets.

Parramatta Lord Mayor Paul Garrard said he had been inundated with community concerns over development and the spread of townhouses throughout western Sydney. "They are effectively taking government out of the hands of locals," Mr Garrard said.

The rights of citizens to appeal to council or the Land and Environment Court have been over-ruled by the Nation Building and Jobs Plan Act and the State Environmental Planning Policy for Affordable Housing. These allow "social housing providers to develop affordable housing in accessible locations without the need for rezoning". They can also build up to 20 dwellings or an 8.5m-tall building as long as they inform neighbours and the local council.

Residents have 21 days to lodge a complaint, however they can not appeal against a NSW Housing construction in any court. There are 39,000 people on waiting lists and 340,000 tenants already in public housing across the state.

NSW Housing Minister David Borger said: "NIMBYism is alive and well and many of the objections we receive are from people not wanting public housing near them." He said NSW Housing needed to take advantage of the stimulus package. "I accept that if we had more time there would be more consultation," Mr Borger said. "If we lodged everything through councils there is no way we would have received the $2 billion from the Federal Government."



If drought is a sign of global warming, what do the three current stories below show? The fact of the matter is that Australia has always had cycles of drought and flood -- something every farmer knows but which the Warmists ignored during the drought phase of the cycle. They are strangely silent now, however. They are also culturally and historically stunted. One of Australia's most famous poems rightly declared Australia to be a land of "Of drought and flooding rains" -- and that was written over a century ago.

Since the Greenies brought dam-building to a screeching halt, however, much of the rain is wasted. Given the cyclic nature of the rainfall, Australia badly needs dams to even out the water supply and more dams are needed in areas where the rain falls most heavily

Rains will flood NSW economy with money

RAINS that drenched inland NSW, flooding rivers and plains, could bring a boost worth billions of dollars to the rural economy, with farmers hopeful of two seasons of good crops and plentiful feed for livestock. The Darling River, drying before Christmas, is filled to its banks after a week of rain in the north of the state, with more falls predicted over coming days.

Rory Treweeke, the chair of the Western Catchment Management Authority, which covers the northwestern quarter of NSW, reckons the floods could be worth more than $100 million to his region alone. "For those of us who are floodplain croppers, once we have had a flood on our country, we can probably look forward to a couple of good years of crops," he said.

Farmers from the region, including Bourke Mayor Andrew Lewis, said the rains would bring certainty to both crop farmers and those who run livestock. "The irrigators know they can finish their summer crop and plant a winter crop now. Graziers know they can take their stock through, without having to sell them. "Before, you were starting to think about getting rid of stock or agisting or (supplementary) feeding," Mr Lewis said. He runs cattle and sheep on his property at Enngonia, north of Bourke, which has recorded more than 200mm of rain since Christmas. "It is fantastic. We were able to get our sheep off the low country before it rained, so we didn't have any trouble there."

He said the psychological value was beyond measure. "Most people have a smile on their faces, even if they do have a bit of trouble getting their stock out," Mr Lewis said. "They still know they are set up for the next six months or longer."

NSW Farmers Association president Charles Armstrong said the nation as a whole would benefit from the floods. He said agriculture earned $32 billion in export income last year and that if the floods brought a 10 per cent boost, "that produces another $3.2bn". "That plus a 10 per cent increase in prices due to a lower Australian dollar, and you are looking at a $6bn-plus figure, " he said. "The value of rain at any time is quite enormous for agriculture and the value of rain right now is advantageous."

The rain would result in quick summer pasture growth for livestock. "It is only another month and we will be starting to look at what crops we put in for winter. Follow- up rain is essential between now and Easter to make it possible," he said.

But he cautioned there were still parts of NSW, the most seriously drought-affected state, that had not received good rain. Mr Armstrong said many farmers would not receive any financial benefit from the rains until next December, after their winter crops had been harvested.

Most of the rain has fallen downstream of the dams, and most NSW dam levels are still too low to provide irrigation water. But the NSW Office of Water has temporarily allowed farmers to pump water from the lower Namoi and lower Macquarie.

Tony Wass, the chairman of Macquarie Food and Fibre, estimates the value of the water irrigators have been permitted to pump at $2 million. "Some of this water will get used on cotton, some will go into farm dams, maybe, as a start to storage for future crops, and some people are pre-irrigating fields to top up subsoil levels," Mr Wass said. "They could even plant a late summer crop."

The last year Macquarie River irrigators had a full water allocation was 2001. This year only about 10 per cent of their usual acreage has been planted to summer crops. But Mr Wass said the biggest benefit was psychological. "Not only have we seen a good rain across the whole area, we have actually seen some water run in the river," he said.

Manager of Bourke Shire Council, Geoff Wise, said the floodwaters would provide a good flush "right down the Darling, at least to Menindee. It is just invaluable for the communities downstream. Psychologically, it is invaluable." The NSW Office of Water estimates about 300 billion litres could flow into Menindee Lakes.

Economist and executive director of the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute Mike Young said the floods would also recharge groundwater. "There is a lot of groundwater use all through that area and recharging that groundwater is going to be salvation to them." Professor Young said the floods would bring "tremendous opportunities for both the irrigation and the grazing industries, but also the value for the environment is not to be underestimated".


Downpours in Victoria too

DROUGHT-stricken Victorians had another reason to celebrate as a new year's downpour drenched the state. Falls Creek in the alpine country had the most rain, receiving a whopping 131mm between 9am on New Year's Eve and 3pm yesterday. Falls Creek Resort Management spokesman Will Flamsteed said the rain was torrential. Organisers of today's Big Fella Festival, expected to attract about 1000 people, were hoping the rain would drain away in time, but would carry on anyway, Mr Flamsteed said.

Nearby Mt Hotham recorded 65.2mm, Warburton 44.2mm and the city 10.2mm while Viewbank in Melbourne's northeast had the most rain for the metropolitan area with 29.2mm. In Victoria's northwest, Swan Hill had 19mm.

Victorian Farmers Federation president Andrew Broad said the rain was welcome for summer pastures. But Mr Broad said the true test would come after late April when farmers needed good falls to plant and maintain winter crops. "This summer rain will be putting moisture in the soil profile," Mr Broad said. "But the real business end comes in autumn and spring."

Melbourne Water spokesman Nicolas McGay said water storages received an unexpected boost. The smaller Maroondah and O'Shannassy catchments received 30.8mm and 20mm respectively while the Upper Yarra catchment got 12mm and Thomson 10.2mm. Storages were steady at 37.5 per cent. "The rain is a bonus because it will keep storages steady at a time of year when we usually see them continue to drop," Mr McGay said. "It's a positive start to the year, but the flow-on effects of the rain will be short lived, and we're heading into the hottest months, so it's important to continue saving water."

Weather bureau senior forecaster Scott Williams said a trough of low pressure combined with sub-tropical moisture generated the thunderstorms responsible for the wet start to 2010. There were unconfirmed reports of hail as large as baseballs near Hamilton in Victoria's southwest. Mr Williams said the trough was weakening as it moved inland, but would bring more rain. A few showers and possible storms are predicted for Melbourne today before warm and fine conditions return tomorrow.


And its been raining heavily in Queensland too

Every now and again, I've stood at my front door and watched it pelting down. Report below from two days ago

AS up to 110mm of rain fell yesterday, Brisbane has recorded its wettest December in five years, but dams have largely missed out on the deluge. More than 160mm has been dumped on the city this month, as an upper low combined with a surface trough to bring torrential rain to the state's parched southeastern corner. Rain again pelted parts of Brisbane yesterday, with Hemmant recording 110mm in the 24 hours to 1pm, while Carindale received 75mm. Kelvin Grove, which has recorded more than 100mm in the past seven days caught another 21mm yesterday.

Meanwhile, flood watches remain in place for seven northwestern NSW rivers, with more rain expected across the state. Despite the big wet, experts say the NSW drought is far from broken. It has been the wettest December recorded in Brisbane since 2004, when more than 220mm was dropped on the region during a series of severe thunderstorms. Parts of the Granite Belt received the heaviest rainfall in the past few days, while some roads on the Gold Coast were inundated by flash flooding.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Michelle Berry said the rain had been fairly widespread, but dam regions had largely missed out on the falls. "Each day it has favoured a different area of Brisbane," she said. Brisbane's Wivenhoe catchment area only recorded 1.2mm in the 24 hours to 1pm, while North Pine and Somerset Dams only registered small totals, most soaked up by parched dam catchments. The combined levels of Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine dams are currently 70.9 per cent, increasing only 0.2 per cent since Christmas Eve.

Ms Berry said the rain is expected to weaken about the southeast over the next couple of days, but could still put a dampener on New Year's Eve celebrations. "There will be a possibility of another shower or two but nothing like we have seen in the past couple of days," she said.

In central western NSW, farmers in drought ravaged areas such as Coonamble and Dubbo have been celebrating several days of rain. However, more falls will be needed before farmers there can bid farewell to drought conditions. "Even if the drought was to finish today, it's going to take a few years to come out of it," drought-affected Coonamble Shire Mayor Tim Horan said. "It's definitely not drought-breaking, we need a lot of follow-up rain."



Paul said...

I notice the Father of little Brock Duchnicz seems to not have an opinion on his son's uselessness. Perhaps someone should tell him, if anyone knows where he is. We can certainly see where he isn't.

Business Electricity – Compare said...

POWER prices should be completely deregulated as part of a move towards a single national electricity market, the OECD has recommended.