Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Environmentality- 30th January 2013

Hello Environmentality Listeners,

Jaime and Smokey were treated with a visit from Dr. Imad Khan. Dr. Khan is an energy expert with extensive consulting experience in many fields such as electricity modeling and financial risk management.

Today we chatted about the National electricity market and were surprised to discover that electricity prices are set every 5 minutes! The national market can be divided into 2 markets, the east and the west. The Eastern Seaboard market consists of 5 states: QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS and SA. The market is based on demand and supply principals, The Australian Energy Market Operator issues the demand; demand is then matched a day ahead by generators.  The great news is that renewable energy will always be dispatched into the grid.    

How does the energy market ties into environmental goals? Dr. Khan explains that although the market was never designed to incorporate environmental goals, recent government mechanisms such as the carbon price and the renewable energy target has favored green technologies. Solar panels one such example of how government policies can affect the market. Rebates and feed-in tariffs have now enabled solar to become self sustaining, bringing down the cost to be a competitive and cost effective alternative energy source.   

So can pricing be used as a method to reduce consumption? The short answer is yes, increases in prices have lead to a reduction in demand, and we are now making the effort to switch off the light or turn the off appliances at the power point. Yet Jaime highlights that the majority of costs in the energy bill are fixed, Dr. Khan clarified that the greatest component of energy prices is the distribution charges. So how can we use pricing to encourage people to save? Is greater transparency the key?

Not surprisingly the discussion soon drifted to technology and how it has assisted environmental goals. Dr. Khan explains that smart meters can actually help reduce electricity consumption by distributing the load when appliances are in high demand. This means that electricity use will be more efficient; however Dr. Khan also raises the potential privacy concerns with smart meters.

What about the relationship between climate change and current weather events? Dr. Khan highlights that although the science has evolved to a point where we can accurately predict the weather, more research is needed to hone into current events and climate change. Research conducted by Professor Fred Hilmer was discussed, a link to one of his articles can be found here   

For the link to The great disruption by Paul Gilding as recommended by Smokey, click here

There’s a lot of information here that needs to be digested, it certainly took us a while to get our heads around energy markets. If you can take away one message from today’s show we hope that it is this: the best thing we can do is to switch off, by switching off we are reducing demand and hence potentially driving cost down.

If you have any questions please leave a comment below. We’ll be more than happy to forward any of your questions to Dr. Khan.

Don’t forget to tune in every Wednesday from 12pm to 1pm for the live show and as usual we would love your feedback on the show, blog or guest!

To hear the full show, listen here

Tracks played today:
The Cure- Friday I’m in Love
The stone roses- the story love song
The Panics- Endless Road
The love braid- Surfing New South Wales

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...