Sunday, October 02, 2011

Gas-fired generators to power Sydney homes

This sop to the Greenies seems quite mad. The capital cost per unit of electricity produced has to be much greater than the cost of reticulated power -- particularly where the transmission lines are already in place

What is needed of course is a big new coal-fired power station on one of the big coalfields that surround Sydney -- but the Greenies would put up such a storm about that that it would take a brave government to do it. So they flail about with expensive follies instead

SUBURBAN homes will be fitted with government-funded mini power generators as part of a series of multimillion dollar trials to reign-in electricity prices and reduce demand.

Up to 30,000 homes in Sydney and Newcastle will participate in one of seven trials to take place in NSW. The Federal Government is providing $100 million towards the cost of them. The trials, to be undertaken by Ausgrid, will look at whether household bills can be lowered while also making the grid more efficient. About 25 households have agreed to have a fuel cell fitted to their home as part of a two-year trial to begin this month.

The cell, in a box the size of a dishwasher, will convert gas to electricity which will be fed back into the grid as part of the first phase of the trial.

Heat produced during the conversion process will be used to provide free hot water to participating families. The second phase will involve the cell powering the family home to determine if it can reduce electricity usage. The cells cost about $50,000 each but Ausgrid believes they would become more affordable in commercial production.

Demand for electricity during peak hours is at a critical level and energy companies are seeking ways to reduce the load on the network.

Ausgrid energy efficiency expert Paul Myors said peak demand was rising two per cent a year across the network. He said a fuel cell could power two homes.

"We're testing whether this type of technology can make the power supply more reliable, reduce peaks in electricity demand and lower household electricity bills," Mr Myors said.

The trial is one of several taking place in coming months. Smart meters will be installed in about 15,000 homes in the coming weeks, allowing homeowners to remotely turn off appliances and monitor their electricity use in real-time on the web.


No freedom to sing what you like?

Why not sing the ORIGINAL second verse? That might upset some applecarts too

When gallant Cook from Albion sailed,

To trace wide oceans o'er,

True British courage bore him on,

Til he landed on our shore.

Then here he raised Old England's flag,

The standard of the brave;

"With all her faults we love her still"

"Britannia rules the wave."

In joyful strains then let us sing

Advance Australia fair.

THOUSANDS of schoolchildren are being forced to sing an alternative version of the Australian national anthem that installs "Christ" as the country's head of state and removes any reference to the Southern Cross.

In a move that outraged parents' groups have labelled "disrespectful", some 50 Christian schools of mixed denominations have replaced the second verse of Advance Australia Fair with the lyrics, which begin, "With Christ our head and cornerstone, we'll build our nation's might", for school assembly renditions.

The contentious version was penned 23 years ago by Sri Lankan immigrant Ruth Ponniah, 75, who now lives in Sydney, as part of her local church's bicentennial celebrations and is now sung in schools including the Penrith Christian School, St George Christian School, Westmead Christian Grammar School and Bethel Christian School in Mt Druitt.

Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett has admonished the unauthorised words, saying that under national protocols the anthem should not be modified and that the alternative verse had no place in the state's educational institutions - regardless of their religious affiliations. "Alternative words should not be used and schools should be teaching students to sing the two authorised verses," he said.

But the Australian Parents Council, representing the parents of independent school students, wants Mr Garrett to go further and ban Ms Ponniah's lyrics.

"If you're singing the national anthem, it should be the national anthem you are singing," said executive director Ian Dalton. "There are many opportunities to express pride in your faith, but the national anthem is not one of them. It shouldn't be tampered with."

Federation of Parents and Citizens' Association of NSW president Helen Walton backed the APC push, saying it was "disrespectful" of schools to endorse a different version of the anthem. "The national anthem is the national anthem of all Australians regardless of religion," she said.

But Christian Schools Australia chief executive officer Stephen O'Doherty said: "Our schools sing it with gusto and I . . . find it inspiring to hear young voices singing those words. We encourage schools to sing this Christian response and to sing it loudly."

Ms Ponniah is also proud it is being sung in schools.


Sick Queensland kids taken to Royal Children's Hospital emergency department waiting up to three days for a bed

SICK kids who are taken to the Royal Children's Hospital's emergency department have been waiting up to three days for a bed as doctors and parents say a budget shortfall is putting lives at risk.

One senior doctor says up to 17 of 130 overnight beds plus an operating theatre have been classed as "unfunded" and are closed while young patients queue for treatment.

As services suffer, $1.4 billion is being spent on building a controversial new super hospital on a separate site.

The RCH treats 30,000 children each year more than half of them from regional areas and has a reputation for excellence.

The physician, who asked for his identity to be withheld, claims:

* Cancer kids are having chemotherapy delayed or cancelled at the last minute due to a lack of open beds.

* Outpatients from regional areas are waiting up to 10 days for a bed after specialists advise that they should be admitted.

* Sick kids who should be admitted are being sent home because of a bed shortage.

A second senior doctor also raised concerns high bed occupancy rates could be driving up the risk of hospital-acquired infection.

Responding to the claims, Government children's health services executive director Dr Peter Steer said 30 children had waited for more than 24 hours in the emergency department in the past three months, compared to eight children in the same period last year.

However, a Government spokesman confirmed the hospital did not count an attached short-stay ward as being part of the emergency department, despite being staffed by the department's doctors, so the figure might be significantly higher.

Dr Steer said all RCH patients had started chemotherapy "within the recommended clinical timeframes" last financial year.

He also denied beds or an operating theatre were closed or that there had been high or serious bed-occupancy issues throughout the year.

But a memo leaked to The Sunday Mail said the hospital was near breaking point earlier this year, even before the traditional winter rush. "RCH is experiencing a persistent and unmanageable high-bed occupancy," medical services executive director David Slaughter wrote to specialists in April. "This is potentially so serious that it may affect our ability to manage our normal elective admissions."

Patients should be sent home or to peripheral and regional hospitals wherever possible, the memo said.

But the Queensland Nurses Union disputed that there was a systemic problem at RCH and said the occupancy rate was "under 100 per cent". However, the union confirmed, some beds were not "operational" as staff worked within their budgets.

"The alternative is to actually not run them with sufficient nursing staff to provide safe patient care," union secretary Beth Mohle said.

"There has been some bed blockages and that's meant that some patients have had to go to a short-stay ward for up to 48 hours rather than their unit, on the odd occasion. "They're managing that through a big examination of patient flow right now (throughout) the hospital."

The Australian Medical Association said the "same story" of long emergency department waits was occurring at the Mater Children's Hospital but said it was unaware of the RCH's concerns.

The new Queensland Children's Hospital is being constructed at the Mater in South Brisbane and will lead to the closure of the RCH and Mater Children's hospitals. Its critics claim the new facility will be worthless if it is without an adequate budget for services. The AMA's Dr Markwell confirmed: "There are concerns the hospital will not have as many beds as it needs".

Opposition health spokesman Mark McArdle said that delays in getting sick children into wards was "shameful". "It is the lowest outcome I would expect in a first world country," Mr McArdle said."As a whole, the system is crumbling."


One third of voters would support Labor if it dumped plans for carbon tax

ONE third of voters say they would be more likely to support Labor if the Government dumped its plans for a carbon tax.

In a warning to Prime Minister Julia Gillard only weeks before she plans to push the tax through Parliament, an exclusive Galaxy poll for The Courier-Mail suggests Labor could turn around its collapse in support if it backs down on its plans.

Only 14 per cent of voters said they would be less inclined to vote for Labor if it scrapped the scheme.

The national poll - which surveyed 500 people last Tuesday and Wednesday nights - also found almost 70 per cent of voters thought that Labor would have a better chance of winning the next election if former prime minister Kevin Rudd was restored as leader.

It also recorded widespread opposition to Ms Gillard's border protection plans, with only 14 per cent of voters backing her strategy of trying to press ahead with the doomed asylum-seeker deal with Malaysia.

The findings cast new doubt on key items on Ms Gillard's agenda, but also suggest that Labor could rebuild support by back-tracking on its unpopular climate change and asylum-seeker policies.

But any move to shelve the carbon tax could risk Labor losing the backing of the Greens as well as key independents who helped design the scheme and who prop up Ms Gillard's minority Government.

And a change could also risk a voter backlash similar to the one experienced by Mr Rudd after he deferred his original plans for an emissions trading scheme.

But the poll suggests 32 per cent of voters would accept a backdown and would be more likely to support Labor.

This latest survey is another blow to the Prime Minister, who is already facing damaging speculation that her leadership is under threat. Labor's primary vote has plummeted to record lows under Ms Gillard. The poll found 28 per cent of voters were more likely to vote Labor if Mr Rudd made a comeback as prime minister and only 10 per cent said they would be less likely to back the party if it returned to its former leader.

Mr Rudd - who yesterday gave a foreign policy speech about Australia's role in the G20 at the University of Queensland - declined to buy into the leadership speculation. "People are very kind but I am very happy being foreign minister," he said. "I support the Prime Minister and I believe the Prime Minister will lead us to the election."

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he did not fear Mr Rudd, despite 75 per cent of Coalition supporters polled saying the former leader had a better chance than Ms Gillard of winning the next election.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Labor can only ditch the carbon tax if it also ditches the globalist traitors who worked for it: That would be Rudd, Gillard, Wong, Howes, Combet...and I suspect the list goes on. Turnbull was one too, he just works the other side for them.