sundvor 4 days ago [-]
I live in Victoria, Australia. Energy bills are through the roof - almost literally as "insulation" is a thing just about no-one here has any competence with. Whatsoever. I'm talking about builders and building code designers specifically.

Ironically (see the top and bottom positions of the chart), I spent the first 40% of my life in Norway where things do get proper cold as opposed to in Australia where it's accepted to just have a heater pumping hot air through literal slits in the building (e.g. 0.5cm gaps under the external doors, that sort of nonsense), resulting in houses that are never properly comfortable at horrific expense. Yet in Norway the houses are actually insulated for deep, real winters and don't even need active heating at the temperatures costing Australians a fortune (eg 5-15c). I'm pretty sure it's impossible to get single glaced windows in Norway (because it's actually illegal to use), yet here it's a "luxury" item which is priced as you'd expect when not a standard. This gets my blood boiling (hey, free heating).

On a side note, I just started ETH mining on a Pascal GPU, and can still turn a profit. If I still lived in Norway I'd buy a lot of GPUs..

jmcelhinney 3 days ago [-]
I've had a very similar experience myself, lived most of my life in Victoria, Australia but spent 12 months in Sweden and experienced the depths of winter there.

My family back home couldn't believe I'd walk around my apartment in shorts and a t-shirt with bare feet on floorboards and tiles in Sweden during winter. Turning on the heater in my apartment made you sweat when it was around -15 degrees celsius outside.

Australian's have a similar complex about wearing appropriate clothing during winter. Everyone complains about how cold it is, while wearing a light jumper or t-shirt in winter, even though it's no where near as cold as other countries.

gravelld 3 days ago [-]
What you describe is the rule in most Western countries. The only countries I know that have their shit together on this are Germany, Sweden and Ireland.

The truth is that fixing these problems is going to be expensive. Governments are just kicking the can down the road because they don't want to be the ones that raise taxes to pay for it (fixing existing houses I mean). But it will have to be done.

Maybe the biggest tragedy is that we are still building NEW houses that will have to be fixed in the future (except in the above countries and some others I no doubt missed). Not mandating higher standards is, however, just loading future generations with more debt, because they will be the ones that have to fix the quality of the housing stock.

ptaipale 3 days ago [-]
Requiring better insulation for new buildings is not really that much a thing where you need to raise taxes, because the cost of proper insulation is passed on to builders - and the end users pay that, but in turn they have lower heating/cooling costs.

(FWIW, Sweden's neighbours like Norway, Finland and Denmark also have houses where it's warm inside in the winter without horrific leaks. And yes, Iceland, even if it has practically free, abundant geothermic heating energy.)

(But what horrifies me in England is not the wind through walls and puny glazing, it's the carpets in bathrooms, including around toilet seat. Experiences are not recent, though, so perhaps they've changed?)

gravelld 3 days ago [-]
> Requiring better insulation for new buildings is not really that much a thing where you need to raise taxes, because the cost of proper insulation is passed on to builders - and the end users pay that, but in turn they have lower heating/cooling costs.

I was referring to retrofit, sorry for not being clear.

Also, the costs are not passed on to customers. Very few houses in the history of the world have been priced according to what it cost to build. The market sets the price.

Carpets in bathrooms is a kind of baby boomer 1970/80s thing I think - plenty of it still about. Check the corners of the room where condensation pours down the wall into the carpet... after a few years you get a nice dark grey brown mould line.

ptaipale 3 days ago [-]
Sure, that is correct, in the end prices are determined by the market, not cost. So in many cases the cost is not passed on to buyers, it is carried by developers. In some cases the cost becomes a barrier for building, though.

But still, it's not the government that carries this cost.

Retrofit cost goes to government if the government decides to subsidize it. I live in Finland, which is considerably colder than Britain, not to mention Australia, and here the requirement for insulation is simply mandatory in building permits (which is required also for major renovation, not just new houses).

There are no real subsidies for this. Also, there are no heating grants which I hear are a thing in the UK (and a thing big enough to have an impact on how people vote).

jandrese 3 days ago [-]
My first townhouse had a carpeted bathroom. It was built in the 80s. A week after we moved in we found a mushroom growing out of the carpet. We ended up replacing it with tile which looked much nicer.
egh5oon 3 days ago [-]
Mould? I've seen mushrooms growing. It baffles me how this stuff can be legal.
3 days ago [-]
Nursie 3 days ago [-]
Having lived in the UK and Australia - the UK may not have its shit together compared to Germany, Sweden or Ireland, but it's streets ahead of Aus.
gravelld 3 days ago [-]
I'm a UK resident. Either way, the UK will have to fix its houses. There's a trope that new houses are energy efficient... it's not really true; there's going to be a big scandal when everyone realises how the targets (which are pretty poor anyway) are circumvented by developers that are able to employ their own regs assessors, or just send a design SAP and expect that to be ticked off, or go around after an air permeability test removing all the sealing they just added to scrape through the already lenient test.

Whether insulation is actually installed? Who cares about that - quarterly dividend payments all round.

ptaipale 3 days ago [-]
Sorry, this one I don't get. Why would you go and remove sealing after air permeability test? To have air circulation and avoid mold?

Normally, doing that would be additional work and additional cost, so if they do it, there must be a real reason.

gravelld 3 days ago [-]
A number of examples. One example is that carpets might be fitted afterwards. Because the air tightness design in the first place is so poor, they resort to sealing between floor and skirting and other such bodges. Carpet fitters hate such sealing as it makes it harder to get a pleasing finish. So they rip out the seals.

There's a lot of folksy wisdom in the UK building trade about natural ventilation (which isn't really true). Many builders will deliberately expose small gaps because they have not been properly educated. Having gaps gives poor ventilation - it becomes dependent on ambient pressure differentials which are difficult to control.

All of these are excuses for poor design and workmanship in the first place.

This might seem like more work for minimum wage labourers on site, but it's less work for highly paid designers, so it costs less. But costing is a difficult thing to sum because it's a complex supply chain with opportunities for efficiency all over. It's just that the volume builders (in particular) have a conservative interest in keeping the status quo, and carrying on without rocking the boat.

StreamBright 3 days ago [-]
Ireland? Where you can still suffocate from coal smoke at winter time and the average building does not have proper insulation and they still use hot / cold water taps? I do not think so. Newer housing surely has better insulation and better heating but it is fraction of the market (or at least it was in 2012).
gravelld 3 days ago [-]
I was referring to the new stock. But be careful with:

> Newer housing surely has better insulation

You only really know if you test and measure.

egh5oon 3 days ago [-]
What? Ireland has terrible isolation and building quality in general compared most of EU.
q3k 3 days ago [-]
Indeed. Terrible insulation, walls that might as well be made from cardboard, and mostly electric heating.

On the other hand I can run a homelab at home and don't feel bad about wasting electricity - I need to heat my apartment, anyway.

gravelld 3 days ago [-]
Existing stock - yes. New stock - they have learned a lot and appear to be serious about making improvements.
masklinn 3 days ago [-]
> What you describe is the rule in most Western countries.

Say what now? Is the UK the only western country you've visited? because what they describe for Australia is not the rule of mainland western europe, serious insulation and at least double paned windows was the standard in the 90s.

gravelld 3 days ago [-]
Double paned windows are hardly some kind of best practice. The Mediterranean countries are still poor. Of Western Europe, only Germany and to some extent Ireland appear serious. You also have smaller jurisdictions, e.g. Brussels where some good work is going on.
c3833174 3 days ago [-]
Mediterranean countries also get less harsh winters, especially in the last years people have preferred installing cheap stoves rather than doing all the work required to properly insulate buildings from the 60s (roof, external insulating coating, window frames, condensing boilers, etc).
gravelld 3 days ago [-]
They also have more harsh summers. To an extent, in some cases, the vernacular protects them from that with high thermal capacity and decrement delay to buffer energy transfer. But if you then have a fashion for large windows... not so much.

And all that doesn't help with ventilation and maintaining healthy levels of fresh air.

3 days ago [-]
shirro 9 hours ago [-]
I live across the border in SA. I don't think insulation is the whole story. If it is cold I just put more clothes on. We spend nothing on heating the house. I don't know that I would want to pay more for houses to get them better insulated in a country where housing affordability is getting beyond most people and the weather is mild most of the year.

We do spend a bit on air conditioning (we sometimes get several days in a row over 40C) but the difference between winter and summer bills is not that great. Our bills are still very high. We have just replaced our fridge and water heater and I am hoping newer, more efficient appliances will help.

viraptor 4 days ago [-]
> I'm talking about builders and building code designers specifically.

Noone is a bad generalisation here. There are designers and builders who do know and do care - you just pay extra for the design and extra for materials. If you get a project house on a new estate (like lots of people do)... you're basically getting cheap and simple result that's cheap and simple.

Source: talking to a designer about just that.

sundvor 4 days ago [-]
I actually wrote _just about noone_, to cover that, as it's just not common knowledge. Of course you can source specialists, but it's the exception and not the rule.

Most investment properties are done on the cheap, shifting the cost asymmetrically to the renters - cross ref the whole negative gearing debate and all.

Minimum standards need to be increased dramatically, yet very little is happening. When some of the earlier Energy Star "standards" were released a few years back, they were just a bad joke - eg door gaps still came part and parcel, however you'd get like a "solar water heating" checkbox.

cassowary 4 days ago [-]
Try sending an email to your local Labor MLA (state lower house) if you have one, or MLC (state upper house) if you don't. They're real people who care, you just need to make them care about this stuff. Which needs lots of people caring at them.

It will probably feel useless because it won't make a difference right away, but it's got a better chance of a good outcome eventually than a rant on HN.

I know I froze to death one year in a very cold flat which I couldn't heat with a 1 or 2 cm gap under the doors. Every time I'd cook I'd cut myself because my hands were too numb to control the knife. (The rest of the time it was okay because I'd just wrap up under my doona on the couch or wherever.) Now I live over a bakery in an old building so there's lots of old heat and heavier construction keeping it tolerably warm.

dav43 3 days ago [-]
Ditto this in Sydney. Literally holes in the walls to outside. I have to tape them up during the colder months. Such poor building quality.
awjr 3 days ago [-]
I'd grab some expanding foam and seal them.
taneq 3 days ago [-]
How old is this building you're describing? There's been some pretty huge changes in the past 20-30 years, older houses are shocking for insulation but modern ones are often pretty good.
hvidgaard 3 days ago [-]
The building codes evolved at lot up until roughtly 10 years ago. Houses from before the 90ies is not that well insulated with lots of cold bridges. They have mostly been eliminated from new buildings, but it does make building quite a bit more complex.
manoj_venkat92 3 days ago [-]
And instead of turning to solar power, they are letting Adani power build a coal plant? What is wrong with the government of Australia. And solar power's prices are on decline and are now getting lower than coal and it's clean energy, check any major business news sites like Bloomberg, NYTimes etc., If I am not wrong, Australia is a sunny place, so going solar was an obvious option and Elon Musk was even talking for giving them solar panels & batteries. WHatever happened to that?!!
ldp01 3 days ago [-]
It does seem quite bizarre. The Finkel Report[1] sums up pretty well why coal isn't competitive. It can't keep up with the rapid changes in demand caused by existing intermittent generation.

> "Rapid changes in power output from VRE generation need to be balanced with generation technology that has the ability to increase (ramp up) or decrease (ramp down) power output at the same time. Gas-fired generators have the ability to ‘fast ramp’. Most of Australia’s coal-fired generators do not"

In America the EIA's latest energy outlook projects a (gentle) decline in coal usage out to 2040. This is a pretty conservative government agency.

I really don't understand the obsession with coal.

[1] - http://www.environment.gov.au/energy/publications/electricit...

[2] - https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/

lazyjones 3 days ago [-]
> The Finkel Report[1] sums up pretty well why coal isn't competitive.

Apparently it does cool the atmosphere though, so it's good against global warming.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/05/26/the-role-of-sulfur-di...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling

mikeash 3 days ago [-]
This is sarcasm, right?

In case it's not: particulates do indeed cool the Earth. This mitigates the warming effect of CO2 emissions to an extent. The problem is that particulates don't last very long in the atmosphere, whereas CO2 lasts centuries.

To maintain a constant level of cooling, you have to keep burning more coal, which steadily increases the atmospheric concentration of CO2, which steadily increases warming. Before long you'll have overcome the cooling effect entirely and will be on a steady path to increased warmth.

nl 3 days ago [-]
Err..

Whatsupwiththat.com is a notorious climate change denial site, and the second sentence in the Wikipedia page you linked says:

This hypothesis had little support in the scientific community, but gained temporary popular attention due to a combination of a slight downward trend of temperatures from the 1940s to the early 1970s and press reports that did not accurately reflect the full scope of the scientific climate literature, which showed a larger and faster-growing body of literature projecting future warming due to greenhouse gas emissions.

pjc50 3 days ago [-]
Money, presumably. Plus a bit of the old toxic masculinity.
bobabooey02 3 days ago [-]
There's no reason to attack masculinity. I know it's trendy to do so right now, but the gender norms aren't going away yet in some parts of the country still. If politics are involved, it's likely all about money and power.
pjc50 3 days ago [-]
"toxic masculinity" is a subset of masculinity in the same way that "toxic water" is a subset of water. People are not asking for an end to masculinity any more than the Flint water protestors are asking for an end to water.
bobabooey02 3 days ago [-]
Masculinity is a spectrum, with extreme womanizers on one side and gender-fluid effeminate men on the other side. Where is toxic masculinity defined? Do you feel there should be checks on extreme feminism? If no, why not?

Also, if your goal is diversity, that requires me to consider one's cultural background before discriminating against them. Why wouldn't you do the same for masculine guys?

pjc50 3 days ago [-]
I appreciate that this hill is one that HN is unwilling to climb, but: it's not an extremity, it's those behaviours which cause harm to others and in many cases men themselves (such as the set of behaviours whose consequences can lead to higher suicide rates among men).

Specifically in the context of coal mining, while I appreciate that communities get built around it that doesn't mean it should be extended beyond wider economic and environmental sense. Coal mining is both dangerous and literally toxic for those involved, but somehow people not involved in it invoke its macho status.

bobabooey02 3 days ago [-]
Macho status has nothing to do with it. It sounds like you've never lived in one of these small towns that revolve around a single industry. When that industry does poorly or goes away, entire families are damaged. Often times there aren't any other jobs in the area, and many cannot afford the changes required to move to a big city. Because of globalization and the loss of antitrust laws, this loss of economic stability is occurring not just in coal country, but in rural and semi-rural areas across the country. Then people who live in areas of the country that are doing well down play their struggle simply because they don't understand the devastating impact these economic trends are having on families across the nation.
pjc50 3 days ago [-]
I haven't, but I know well what you mean and I'm sympathetic to how much a disaster it is when the company of a company town goes away. To the idea of not closing mines before their time. Opening mines or power stations in 2017 though? It's just a solution that creates more problems.
belorn 3 days ago [-]
Higher suicide rates and higher risk seeking is tied to how people treat men as much (or more) than how men themselves behaves. Studies have tested medical professional have a default assumption that all men are strong and healthy and thus men are less likely to get treated for psychological health problems compared to women.

Similar, in dating statistics it is very clear that women will preferential choose well earning men over low earning men. This pushes men in general to take high risk high reward professions.

Unless you redefine masculinity to include how people perceive and treat men you can't define it to be the causes for higher suicide rates and higher risk seeking.

pjc50 3 days ago [-]
See the subject of "patriarchy hurts men too". (Not the phrase itself, but the whole discussion that is an index to)
awjr 3 days ago [-]
And votes. Coal mining is pretty much the only thing keeping some of these communities alive.

People also have a habit of being very nostalgic about the coal industry. I never understood that. It's a pretty nasty dangerous occupation.

3 days ago [-]
SideburnsOfDoom 3 days ago [-]
> If I am not wrong, Australia is a sunny place

Ha. It's nicknamed the "sunburned country".

https://www.google.com/search?q=sunburned+country

manoj_venkat92 2 days ago [-]
Just a thought. If Adani power isn't building a Coal Mine and building a coal plant and importing coal, I got a theory to present. So, Adani is a Gujarathi Businessman from India, and he owns a lot of power plants in India & abroad. Also, recently, to my f*in' surprise, India has been pretty aggressive on shutting down coal plants and even cancelled a few plants which are supposed to open in the later years. Now, let me remind you that we in India have a bunch of coal mines and what do we do with all that coal now that coal plants are getting shut down? Ship to Australia. Again, this is just a theory. Think about it.
masklinn 3 days ago [-]
> And instead of turning to solar power, they are letting Adani power build a coal plant?

Coal mine not coal plant. AFAIK it'd mostly be for export (through Abbot Point and Hay Point, the former being very close to the Great Barrier Reef).

nl 3 days ago [-]
Fortunately, we are doing the battery+solar thing too. Actually there are multiple projects.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-30/new-solar-project-anno...

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-power-batteries-...

dovdovdov 3 days ago [-]
I mean Elon's tweet VS. politicians' pockets' full of lobbyists' money.
jondubois 3 days ago [-]
... And Elon's pockets full of politicians' money.
sien 3 days ago [-]
This article is very poor.

The actual report this comes from is here:

http://cmeaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/160708...

Note how they pick the one stat where AU prices are high. They say 'excluding taxes'.

Looking at the full report a lot of Australian prices INCLUDING TAX are actually fairly cheap.

dwhitworth1 4 days ago [-]
I moved to Newcastle, Australia from the US (Los Angeles) about two years ago. I was shocked when I received my energy bill.

Australians in general are hesitant to use their AC or electric heaters, opting to just layer up when it's cold or try to use fans in the summer. Many (most?) households don't have clothes dryers, using clotheslines instead.

I would like to see how much energy the average Australian household consumes. I'm not sure how much consumption would go up if power got cheaper, but mine sure would... I really dislike being cold inside my own house. That said, I much prefer living in Australia to the U.S., especially while raising a family.

daemin 3 days ago [-]
> Many (most?) households don't have clothes dryers, using clotheslines instead.

Why bother having a clothes dryer when for most of the year you can hang them up in the shade and they will be dry within the hour. There are only a couple of states/regions where it makes sense to use a clothes dryer. The blue mountains and I imagine Tasmania where it gets too cold to hang your clothes up in the winter.

> I would like to see how much energy the average Australian household consumes.

From memory for just myself in a small apartment I used around 9-12 kWh / day. That is rarely using the A/C but having at least one PC running 24/7.

falsedan 3 days ago [-]
> The blue mountains and I imagine Tasmania where it gets too cold to hang your clothes up in the winter.

Clothes get dry regardless of the temperature: if it's cold enough, the water will freeze and then the ice sublimates into the lower-humidity atmosphere.

hutzlibu 3 days ago [-]
Regardless of the cold... but not of the air humidity. Which is ehat he meant with cold I suppose. (colder means usually more humidity)
cromulent 3 days ago [-]
Depends on the humidity, not just the temperature. I remember hanging my clothes up to dry whilst in Darwin, and they took literally days to get somewhat close to dry.
falsedan 3 days ago [-]
Exactly my point: the temperature in the top end is not cold, and clothes take ages to dry.
cromulent 3 days ago [-]
No, orthogonal to your point :)

The temperature was only around 23c. In the same temperature in Melbourne, they dry in an hour or two.

falsedan 2 days ago [-]
No, same as my point: clothes will dry at any temperature, if the humidity is low enough.
daemin 2 days ago [-]
Yes, but there are differences between taking hours to dry on a clothesline, taking an hour to dry in a dryer, and taking less than an hour drying in a clothesline (in the shade even).
JonRB 4 days ago [-]
> Australians in general are hesitant to use their AC or electric heaters

Anecdotal, but I don't think I know a single person here who is hesitant to use heating/AC - could just be down to the people I know, but I get funny looks when I tell people just to wrap up.

Something that did surprise me here is the near-complete lack of double glazing. Everywhere I've lived has been thin single-glazed windows which just let out all of the heat/cold. It's bizarre.

bigger_cheese 4 days ago [-]
It depends a lot where you live.

I lived in Canberra, which sits in the middle of a valley so it got very cold in winter (for an Australian city) and uncomfortably hot in summer. Wikipedia tells me that lowest average low is −0.1 C in July and highest average high is 28 C in Jan. In winter heating was a necessity. And in summer owing to lack of any source of breeze AC was 'nice to have'.

I now live on the South Coast of NSW much more temperate climate 8 C to 26 C I use neither AC nor heating we have a nice coastal breeze most days during summer so is not actually that unpleasant. This is quite similar climate-wise to Sydney though you would not get cooling effect of coastal breeze if you lived there so A/c probably more desirable but I would say not essential.

flukus 4 days ago [-]
Would double glazing also prevent natural cooling? In Melbourne where the temperature is variable I find the biggest problem is that after a couple of hot days it takes my apartment a day or two to cool down again. I can open the window of course, but often am unable to because of insects and/or not being home.

The worst thing I see across the country is the lack of fly screens with security screens on them. I grew up in a house with them (Southern Queensland) and the were a fantastic and free way to moderate the temperature, you could leave them open all day when it's warm or just during the day during winter and not have to worry about people breaking in.

sundvor 4 days ago [-]
Yeah, see my other comment. Australian builders / the whole building industry is downright ignorant and just about completely incompetent when it comes to thermal management.
rosege 4 days ago [-]
Im in Sydney and I've got an AC unit from the 70s or 80s in a house I recently bought. Im very hesitant to turn it on as I know it will be super inefficient. Im hoping to replace it later in the year. But until then its layer up! unless guests are coming over.
askvictor 4 days ago [-]
Would it actually be that inefficient? I honestly don't know, but am curious if the tech has changed that significantly. Consider lifecycle costs (both financial and resources) before replacing it; might just need a clean and service.
ferongr 3 days ago [-]
In my case at least, replacing a 70s Carrier "window A/C" (that was actually embedded in a hole in the wall instead of a window) with a modern ductless mini-split with inverter-powered compressor resulted in almost 70% lower power consumption, not to mention the fact that the new unit is virtually silent.
NamTaf 4 days ago [-]
I avoid using my AC but I'm just really cheap and don't mind suffering through heat too badly. It helps that I also work in an office fulltime so that's full HVAC and I'm not home during most days when it's bad. I also love the cold (to the extent that QLD has cold) so right now I'm in a shirt and shorts and loving it.
Simulacra 4 days ago [-]
That reminds me of being at Melbourne airport wishing to consume the last of a bottle of Absinthe and being sad that no one had ice...
daemin 3 days ago [-]
I remember that, there was a heat wave through the south of Australia and the main ice producing plant had a power failure.
empressplay 3 days ago [-]
We only turn on the AC when it's above 35C and only turn on the heat when it gets below 12C (inside!)
falsedan 3 days ago [-]
You bloody legend
askvictor 4 days ago [-]
> Australians in general are hesitant to use their AC or electric heaters, opting to just layer up when it's cold or try to use fans in the summer. Many (most?) households don't have clothes dryers, using clotheslines instead.

Are you suggesting these are bad things? I think they're positive however, it varies wildly across different locations and demographics.

> I would like to see how much energy the average Australian household consumes.

Again, an average figure wouldn't be that insightful, as there are probably massive differences in different populations. Additionally, building standards change things considerably (presence or lack of insulation, double glazing, ceiling height, aspect) - certain eras and locations (often due to regulations) get these things right, others don't.

I'm not sure how much consumption would go up if power got cheaper, but mine sure would... I really dislike being cold inside my own house. That said, I much prefer living in Australia to the U.S., especially while raising a family.

roenxi 4 days ago [-]
> Are you suggesting these are bad things?

As a local; yes it is a bad thing. I want cheap energy. Cheap access to energy is literally one of two things separating us from animals. The other thing is higher intelligence.

There is room for an ideological debate on the meaning of good, but this is an outcome of regulation that the government didn't push for and that the votes would not choose if they had to tick a box.

fineline 3 days ago [-]
And opposable thumbs.
dwhitworth1 4 days ago [-]
"Are you suggesting these are bad things? I think they're positive however, it varies wildly across different locations and demographics."

I didn't think I suggested these were bad things. Perhaps I was just over-generalising. I was just pointing out (badly) that my observations from living in Newcastle are different than my observations living in Southern California. I agree that they are positive.

burntrelish1273 4 days ago [-]
Growing up in San Jose, my dad ran a very profitable business and was also miserly about home climate control (it's the single biggest energy expense, after all).

A/C was limited to a single in-wall unit that was only to be used when outside shade temperature reached 95 F / 35 C. If you wanted to cool down, it was a fan or go for a swim.

Heat was whole-house, natural gas with floor registers, set to inside 65 F / 18 C max.

House had both fiberglass and blown insulation, automatic ridge-line roof venting, tall tree shade, multi-pane windows, weatherstripping, room isolation manual practices (door and register closing), etc. This was in the 1980's-1990's before "green" was standard practice, it was self-interested to save TCO money.

martalist 4 days ago [-]
>Many (most?) households don't have clothes dryers, using clotheslines instead.

We have a clothes dryer in our home (in Australia), and have used it about once a year over the last 10 years. Usually only in an "emergency". Generally speaking it's always warm enough to dry laundry naturally here, which is why dryers are not so common.

> opting to just layer up when it's cold or try to use fans in the summer.

Insulation in Australian homes is generally terrible. I wish it were different. But I have rarely seen people hesitate to use a heater or AC.

chrisper 4 days ago [-]
>That said, I much prefer living in Australia to the U.S., especially while raising a family.

Why is that?

dwhitworth1 4 days ago [-]
A number of reasons: 1. Safety. I don't hear gunfire on New Year's Eve, like we used to in L.A. and some places I lived in Orange County as well. Someone getting shot is almost national news here.

2. Government support. If I lost my job I wouldn't have to worry about how to pay for health services. We're a healthy family, but peace of mind is great.

3. Government support. My 7 year old was diagnosed with mild ASD, ADHD and Dyslexia in Kindergarten. The National Disability Insurance Scheme has helped us pay for Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology and Psychology. She has very much thrived here, and we are grateful for it.

4. Professional environment. This might be anec-data (all of it might), but mine and my wife's workplaces are very flexible when it comes to taking care of family matters.

There are TONS of things I miss about living in Southern California (it still feels like home in many ways, good Mexican food, Disneyland, running my AC non-stop all Summer!, etc), but, for us, the pros outweigh the cons.

chrisper 4 days ago [-]
Thanks. I will be moving (back) to Europe in a few weeks. I, too, decided like you to put certain pros over salary / career.
taway_1212 2 days ago [-]
> 2. Government support. If I lost my job I wouldn't have to worry about how to pay for health services.

Isn't there a health program in the US (Medicaid?) specifically for people with limited/no income? Is it insufficient?

Benjamin_Dobell 4 days ago [-]
It's obviously a subjective matter. However, seems as he specifically mentioned "while raising a family", here are a few possible reasons:

- Safety

In general Australia has a lower crime rate than USA. Of course, there are absolutely areas within USA that would have a lower crime rate than certain areas of Australia.

http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Australia/U...

- Health Care

Australia has well established free public health care that covers general illness, radiology, necessary surgeries, disabilities etc. Higher income earners are expected to also have private health insurance and are penalised in their taxes if they don't have it. However, if you're a low(er) income earner or simply prefer the public health system it works quite well.

https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/dhs/medicare

There's also a pretty solid Welfare system if you are worried about income stability for whatever reason.

The free public education system is also quite good, although I'm unclear on how it compares to the USA.

Of course, there are also many benefits to living in the USA over Australia - particularly if you're working in the tech sector. There is a strong tech scene in Australian capital cities, but it's fairly quiet elsewhere. There's nothing comparable to Silicon Valley.

Depending on your business, the USA can also be a better place to start your own business - larger sales capacity (if you can deal with the fact States have very different taxation rules etc.) and significantly more VC opportunities (although Australia is slowly picking up its game).

Film and TV industries are also obviously miles behind LA or even New York. So if that's an industry you're interested in then USA is the place to be.

However, Australia seems to compare fairly favourably when raising a family is your biggest priority, say over career advancement.

dwhitworth1 4 days ago [-]
I agree with all your points. I worked in the entertainment industry when I was in L.A. Now, I work in tech as a software engineer. I feel my professional prospects were a bit stronger in the U.S., and I still prefer living in Oz.

I also feel like there was more pressure to "keep up with the Joneses" in SoCal. Mind you, I live in Newcastle, so I kinda avoid the housing problem that we have in Sydney and (now) Melbourne.

dwhitworth1 4 days ago [-]
"Higher income earners are expected to also have private health insurance and are penalised in their taxes if they don't have it"

Also, foreigners that move here after the age of 35! We have private health cover as well and it's great.

cylinder 4 days ago [-]
If you're referring to loading on private cover for not carrying a policy, that does not apply if you were living overseas.
nimchimpsky 4 days ago [-]
Food is better, people are friendlier, sunnier, better quality of life, better stuff for kids. Less tax.
chrisper 4 days ago [-]
Is it really sunnier than Southern California?
nl 3 days ago [-]
It's a pretty big country ;)

LA gets 284 sunny days a year (which is a lot!). By comparison, Sydney gets 236,but Perth gets 265.

Here is a site listing Australian cities: https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Australia/Cities/suns...

Plenty of places hotter than LA if it is the heat you are interested in. Adelaide had a heatwave a few years ago where it didn't drop below 35C for 10 nights straight, and had days over 46C.

hutzlibu 3 days ago [-]
"Adelaide had a heatwave a few years ago where it didn't drop below 35C for 10 nights straight, and had days over 46C."

Why would somebody ever want that? (I was suffering from 31C at lunch today)

nl 3 days ago [-]
It wasn't great...
Benjamin_Dobell 4 days ago [-]
Depends where you live in Australia.

Queensland? Sure.

Victoria? Only in Summer where temperatures occasionally exceed 100 Fahrenheit, winters are cold.

Tasmania? No, never.

ariwilson 3 days ago [-]
If you're talking about Los Angeles compared to even Brisbane, Queensland, this is wrong.
Benjamin_Dobell 3 days ago [-]
> If you're talking about Los Angeles compared to even Brisbane, Queensland, this is wrong

I wasn't, I meant what I wrote, and nothing more specific than that.

Nonetheless, even comparing those two cities, I'm not sure "wrong" is an appropriate conclusion. It really depends on what metrics you're using.

http://www.holiday-weather.com/brisbane/averages/ http://www.holiday-weather.com/los_angeles/averages/

LA certainly has more hours of sunlight, but it's not nearly as warm. However, hours of sunlight probably isn't what people mean when they say "sunnier", or else the Arctic would be a popular tourist destinations for "sun seekers" during its Summer.

daemin 3 days ago [-]
LA and Sydney are natural comparisons, both are large cities with similar climates. Although I would argue that LA is drier (despite it raining both times I have visited).
ythn 4 days ago [-]
Because everyone is so much more energy efficient by virtue of high energy bills
dwhitworth1 4 days ago [-]
LOL, and this too :P
ceejayoz 4 days ago [-]
Healthcare and college won't bankrupt you?
flashman 2 days ago [-]
How is the Newcastle tech industry? Sydney is nigh-on unaffordable (on 1.2 incomes with two children) and we're thinking about a move, but only if there's work I can do.
megablast 3 days ago [-]
This is a good thing. We also don't leave our taps on wasting water.
ontario_sucks 4 days ago [-]
Hmm. Price per kWh is not really a good way to compare.

My last bill in Ontario had about $10 in usage in kWh but on top of that there are mandatory 'delivery' charges which, in my case, amounted to $90.

The real rate I pay (before taxes) is essentially 10x the supposed kWh rate.

And from the news reports locally, I'm getting off very lightly.

My bills are multiples what they were in the UK (for the same usage) and based on that and the chart in the article, of the UK @ AU$0.30 vs just under AU$0.40 as the AU peak price, it seems more likely Canada (specifically Ontario) is much more expensive.

NamTaf 4 days ago [-]
In QLD my rates are as follows, GST included:

Supply charge: $1.10/day

Usage rate: 28.6c/kWh

Therefore, my standard quarterly bill will have $100 of supply charges in addition to any usage that occurs.

I am super lucky that I got on to PV when there was a large (unsustainably so) government incentive, so my feed-in rate is 54.6c/kWh (not including GST) which more than offsets my normal use since I am never home during the day and thus feed that all in, then use power at night at the 28.6c rate. I essentially get a negative bill as a result (told you it was unsustainable).

Nowadays, the feed-in for new contracts is just 6c or so, hence people now look to invest in using that power, or having battery storage.

viraptor 4 days ago [-]
The fact one person gets negative bills doesn't mean it's unsustainable. It's only unsustainable if it costs more in energy storage + standby infrastructure + your negative bill than it costs to run the usual energy production pipeline.

That may be the case, but it's unrelated to whether you're paid back or not.

NamTaf 4 days ago [-]
It's unsustainable in that many people jumped on this deal, far more than forecast, and so they pulled it years ago. The government had essentially subsidised solar through feed-in tariff bonuses, but hadn't expected the volume of people who ultimately took it up.

It's also my understanding is that's not how the infrastructure works. It's simply not set up such that my feeding in could be sent arbitrarily to a storage point. Indeed, a colleague of mine was having his inverter trip during summer because his + many of his neighbours were all feeding in however none were drawing out. The grid was therefore being overloaded locally and all of the inverters were hitting their automatic cut-off points because of it.

So yes, in theory it could be sustainable, but this particular situation absolutely wasn't and if you were to get solar now, you would not end up making money off feeding in like I do. It's now purely to offset self-usage.

sitharus 4 days ago [-]
Wow, here in NZ I pay 30c/day in fixed charges and around 25c/kWh. Last week's bill was NZ$25 for 90kWh.

Nowhere near as cheap as the US but I'll take it.

indemnity 2 days ago [-]
Around NZ$130/month for us, in Auckland. Four bedroom house, but it was built to 2015 code so it’s well insulated and double glazed, ambient inside is about 16C in the middle of winter, so it’s cheap to heat.

Couldn’t imagine living in one of the leaky sheds built before modern regs...

elyobo 3 days ago [-]
What sort of place are you living in? I haven't lived in NZ for 11 years now, but I recall heating costs of $100s/month in Winter (poorly insulated Christchurch housing as a poor student). Perhaps the high costs were due to high consumption rather than high unit costs... I didn't really pay attention to it at the time.
sitharus 3 days ago [-]
I'm in Auckland in a modern well insulated apartment. If I was in a normal nz house I'd expect to triple that, since we have a long distance relationship with insulation.
elyobo 3 days ago [-]
Hmmm, in VIC I pay $0.96/day supply and usage rates of about 16c/kWh. Maybe prices vary a lot by location, because the prices I pay bear no resemblance to those on the chart...
elyobo 3 days ago [-]
Possibly relevant: I do look at my usage and compare providers and I am with what appears to be the cheapest possible provider for me (according to https://compare.switchon.vic.gov.au, with smart meter data providing a very accurate basis for the comparison).
elyobo 3 days ago [-]
And having mentioned that, I thought that it had been a while since I checked... Seems I can get $0.72/day supply and 14.9c/kWh now, I guess it's time to change.
elyobo 3 days ago [-]
And having contacted them now about that offer, they've come back with $.56/day supply and 13.3c/kWh. I'm not complaining.
askvictor 4 days ago [-]
I would guess analyses like these would do something like calculating the cost to an average household over the year, divided by the usage; that would swallow up market trickery like you mention. If not, then the analysis is useless.
rayiner 4 days ago [-]
> And basically, they stuffed that up for consumers by deciding to let the networks earn a guaranteed rate of return, based on their costs. That is, the more they spent, the more they earned.

This is an ignorant criticism. Every way of structuring utility markets has one problem or the other. If you deregulate the market, you end up with limited competition because of high barriers to entry. If you set rates to guarantee a fixed return on investment, you incentivize gold plating the network. And if you have the government set price caps, you get politicized prices that are too low and starve the utility of money needed to improve the network. Out of the alternatives, rate of return regulation is probably the least bad option.

Also, there are worse things than high prices limiting demand for coal-based electricity.

Retric 4 days ago [-]
You can have a more complex structure that mixes different incentives. EX: Cost + with reductions in profit based on expected net costs.

The problem really comes down to competent regulators, but sadly that's often a major hurdle.

manicdee 4 days ago [-]
This gold plating cost-plus work in Australia was about the Government funding infrastructure improvements without checking the demand forecasts. The network has been built for doubling of demand, even as demand is dropping due to customers using more efficient devices all the way from TVs to HVAC.
andybak 4 days ago [-]
There's an old joke where in Heaven the cooks are French, the policemen are English, the mechanics are German, the lovers are Italian and the bankers are Swiss - whereas in Hell the cooks are English, the policemen are German, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss and the bankers are Italian.

I'm pondering an updated version where in hell the healthcare system is American, the energy market is Australian... Anyone care to finish it off?

bitwize 4 days ago [-]
I've heard the joke told as: Canada could have had English culture, French cuisine, and American industry... instead it has American culture, English cuisine, and French industry.
grecy 3 days ago [-]
What's amazing about that joke is Canada is a much better place to live than all of those countries, so I assume those countries tell it because they are jealous.

(I have lived in the USA / Canada / Australia, my sister in France & England for many years)

rfrey 3 days ago [-]
> so I assume those countries tell it because they are jealous

Naw, that Canadians find that joke hilarious is part of why it's a great place to live.

nimchimpsky 4 days ago [-]
The policemen are english ? Eh, why is that a thing, never heard that before.

I've heard similar but it was organising a party ...

Good party : Germans organise English music French food Belgians beer

Bad : Belgians organize English food french music germans beer.

Wait german beer is quite nice, well you get the idea.

mrob 3 days ago [-]
British police aren't perfect, but I'd trust them more than police from most other countries. When Sir Robert Peel founded the Metropolitan Police in 1829, he based it on the "Peelian principles" - the idea that the police operate with the consent of society as a whole. Policing in the rest of the country followed the same model.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peelian_principles

These principles are still mostly respected today.

crdoconnor 3 days ago [-]
The Met is probably the worst example of a British police force. They shot de Menezes in the head for no reason, killed Ian Tomlinson for no reason, they racially profile constantly, failed to convict the Stephen Lawrence killers because they were institutionally racist, they're brutal during protests (c.f. kettling) and when the riots kicked off they basically just ran away with their tail between their legs.
ldp01 3 days ago [-]
> "Power lines are natural monopolies. Traditionally they were all government owned. Jeff Kennett privatised Victorian networks, but until very recently, distribution networks in other states, such as NSW and Queensland, have remained government owned, with regulated pricing."

This author sounds confused. An electrical network operator is a regulated monopoly whether it is government or privately owned. The regulation may be good or bad, but it is independent of who owns the assets.

And why is it a surprise that building ANY sort of distribution network is inefficient in the third most sparsely populated country in the world[1]? At least in the West there is now a strong push for standalone power projects with a view to decommissioning some of the redundant infrastructure.

[1] - https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_popul...

Overtonwindow 4 days ago [-]
Sort of on-topic but I recall once an Australian company called Enviromission that was wanting to build solar updraft towers in the outback. With so much incredibly solar-rich, un-used land, I thought Australia would've gone all in for solar by now.
NamTaf 4 days ago [-]
You greatly underestimate how utterly devoid of morals both of our major parties are, resulting in them being in the pocket of the coal miners and other big corps. They are almost militantly opposed to non-coal, non-LNG investment.

This is a government which earlier this year brought a lump of coal in to parliament as a prop to say that they were 'not afraid of coal' and to attack the opposition for 'attacking the jobs of rural workers at the coal mines'. I'm not even joking: https://www.theguardian.com/global/video/2017/feb/09/scott-m...

zizee 3 days ago [-]
I'm not one to defend our pollies, but these same "utterly devoid of morals" parties are the same that put in place home solar energy subsidies that have resulted in Australia being the world leader in rooftop solar uptake.
Overtonwindow 4 days ago [-]
That is unfortunate. I spent a month living in Ryde and I fell absolutely in love with Australia. I agree, as Bill Bryson once said: "It may truly be the greatest place on earth." Hopefully things sort itself out soon.
voltagex_ 3 days ago [-]
I think there's a big problem with most voters remembering the Good Times under a Liberal government when we had a massive mining boom and the country was doing well. Now things are slowing down - I suspect the next few decades will be bumpy when China stops buying everything we dig up out of the ground.

Things could have been much better if we'd taxed the hell out of the miners, like Norway's Oil Fund.

fliptables 3 days ago [-]
We have the Future Fund but it's a joke compared to Norway's sovereign wealth fund.

There was plenty of tax money floating around back then but it was probably spent buying votes and posting budget surpluses so government could pat themselves on the back for being such good economic managers...

NamTaf 4 days ago [-]
I hope so too. It truly is a lovely place and I'm blessed to live here, however our politicians across the board and with very few exceptions leave a lot to be desired. Australian politics is truly awful.
zizee 3 days ago [-]
Australia is the world leader in roof top solar PV installations per household.

http://theconversation.com/factcheck-qanda-is-australia-the-...

And now that the technology is cost competitive, there are many plans afoot: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-29/australia-on-cusp-of-l...

jandrese 3 days ago [-]
Australia seems like a country where the politicians are excessively out of touch with the population. I'm not sure why it is the case, is it a side effect of their electoral process?

So often I see stories where the PM is saying that Global Warming is a hoax and Coal is the future and every Aussie online is screaming "YOU'RE KILLING THE GREAT BARRIER REEF, AND EVERYTHING ELSE!" and going out of their way to install personal solar or wind power.

prawn 4 days ago [-]
Coal/mining too strong here. But yes, it makes sense to me too. There are incredible amounts of flat and unused land out there, baking in the sun.
grecy 3 days ago [-]
> Sort of on-topic but I recall once an Australian company called Enviromission that was wanting to build solar updraft towers in the outback

Funny you call it "the outback". Their final proposed site was 20km from my then family home :)

I was disappointed it never went anywhere, and yes, Australians should be adopting solar much, much faster than they are.

zizee 3 days ago [-]
Australia is one of the top adopters of PV solar in the world. Granted, we are not yet at the level of Germany (500MW per million head), but we're doing ok at 250 MW per million head of population. Half the number of Germany might sound pretty poor, but it is twice that of the USA (125), Spain (118) and a a lot more than the UK (178).

Last year saw overall production increase by 13% and there are a lot of big projects in the pipeline.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-29/australia-on-cusp-of-l...

I think that you'll find people have been biding their time until the economics looked favourable, which isn't so silly in my opinion.

GlennS 3 days ago [-]
Australia damn well ought to have more solar PV installed than the UK given that the UK is about 30 degrees further from the equator.
falsedan 3 days ago [-]
*20 (unless you're comparing Cairns to Wick)
Overtonwindow 3 days ago [-]
Forgive me, I am an American :)
elyobo 3 days ago [-]
Funny, as a Kiwi living in Victoria it seems to me that, while prices have climbed a bit over the last few years, electricity costs here were incredibly low... I wish NZ was represented on that chart.

That said, my per kWh charge is about half the "market" price shown for Victoria there (although I do pay $0.94/day on top of that, which I guess brings it up a little), and that's after a 10% price hike about a year ago. Who's paying those prices?

craigds 3 days ago [-]
NZ is on the chart
elyobo 3 days ago [-]
Thanks, not sure how I missed it.

Prices seem to be highly variable even within the state, which I didn't realise. My rates in VIC are about half those quoted for VIC, well under the price of NZ. It would be interesting to see these prices broken down in more detail geographically.

andrewwharton 3 days ago [-]
It really is a death spiral in the making.

As grid electricity prices rise:

1. Insulation and rooftop solar/domestic battery storage become more competitive / cost effective

2. Which drives adoption (including retrofitting to existing structures), reducing the demand for grid electricity

3. Which, due to the fixed network and distribution costs, becomes more expensive per kwh.

Australia is primed for boom in domestic battery storage.

Why? There's already a significant amount of roof top solar installed. And feed-in bonus tarifs (up to 40c/kwh which were used to drive roof top solar adoption) don't transfer when you sell a house. This means it's far more cost effective to keep the energy on site rather than sell it to the grid at 6c/kwh and buy it back at 25c/kwh. This combined with rapidly dropping costs for battery storage... It's going to be an interesting time to be a politician.

andy_ppp 3 days ago [-]
I find it strange that a huge number of governments aren't falling over themselves to get Tesla to build one of the roughly 100 needed giga factories in their country.

Pay for it to be built, give crazy good loan deals etc. whatever it costs really to have energy independance has got to be worth it.

dagw 3 days ago [-]
How does building a giga factory in your country lead to energy independence?
andy_ppp 3 days ago [-]
By having a means of producing batteries you'll be able to rely on renewables won't you? I thought that was the whole idea?
vkou 3 days ago [-]
Unless you have very limited supply of lithium, you will not be energy-independent.

The real reason for it though is that, unlike what HN thinks, Tesla is also not the only company in the world capable of building a battery.

That, and batteries are a terrible solution to long and medium-term energy storage.

andy_ppp 2 days ago [-]
Yes, we could choose to solve a lot of these problems by pushing water higher.
gizmonty 3 days ago [-]
I'm in Melbourne. I ordered my Tesla Powerwall 2 today.
Jedd 3 days ago [-]
If you'd like a good insight into the mismanagement or corruption (interpretation is left to how gracious you're feeling on the day) have a read of The Monthly's article from a couple of years ago headlined "How network companies lined their pockets and drove electricity prices through the roof"

https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2014/july/1404136800/jes...

For a country that generates so much wealth <sic> from digging stuff out of the ground and burning it (or selling it to other people to burn), the regrettable state of the nation could appear to the casual observer to be quite mysterious.

aembleton 3 days ago [-]
30c/KWH = ~18p/KWH [1] before tax.

It varies by where you live and what tariff you're on but I pay ~10p/KWH, and this website suggests similar before the 5% VAT charge is put on [2].

1. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=30aud+to+gbp&t=lm&atb=v55-6&ia=cur...

2. https://www.ukpower.co.uk/home_energy/tariffs-per-unit-kwh

scardine 3 days ago [-]
On the other side, Paraguay is said to have one of the least expensive energy bills. According to a friend that moved a few bitcoin mining machines over the fence, Paraguay got free energy in exchange for letting Brazil build the Itaipu Dam on the Brazil/Paraguay border. This dam produces the same amount of energy as burning 434,000 galons of oil every day and supplies Paraguay with approximately 78% of its energy needs (Paraguay even sells some energy surplus back to Brazil).
surfmike 4 days ago [-]
Sounds like an ideal market for home solar and Tesla powerwalls.
cylinder 4 days ago [-]
Once enough solar farms are built, australia will have some of the cheapest energy in Asia. This is a transition period due to dirty coal plants closing and uncertainty in policy from governments.

The solar exposure is extremely high and the outback has limitless sunny land... You could build and charge all the world's batteries with solar there and ship it out on the Pacific or Indian oceans...

romanovcode 3 days ago [-]
> cheapest energy in Asia.

No, it will probably cost the same because business.

aplummer 4 days ago [-]
Australia does actually have the highest level of home solar installation in the world. Unrelated to very low government investment in it.
askvictor 4 days ago [-]
What about the massive massive rebates that were available a few years back to drive uptake? Not direct govt investment, but with a similar effect - people got some money back from the govt when they installed solar, then the govt mandated a high feed-in tariff for some years (has since dropped/been abolished)
taneq 3 days ago [-]
That's still available for new installations, I believe. The feed-in tariffs have all but gone, but solar is still well worth getting purely for the reduction in power bills (especially if you can schedule the bulk of your energy usage to be during peak solar generating hours).

The flip side is that the power grid is now going into a death spiral where falling kWh sales are pushing up prices per kWh, making solar even more competitive, etc. etc. They're going to have to start charging a large flat rate for connection (which they can't do, politically) or the whole thing's going to fall in a heap within a decade.

ENGNR 3 days ago [-]
The electricity grid needs to transition into an energy market kind of deal where their role is to balance supply and demand across the entire grid rather than a net flow in any direction.

Of course it'll never happen, the privatised incumbants will fight innovation tooth and nail to the grave like you say

aplummer 1 days ago [-]
You're right this is correct. I was thinking about commercial infrastructure aka power plants but said the wrong thing.
yakult 4 days ago [-]
I suspect that's actually part of the problem: a massive buildout of renewables without full accounting or planning for the complications to the grid, i.e. all the shock loads and lack of storage. Then the consumer is left footing the bill.

At the same time, we have signed long-term LNG contracts while simultaneously large gas projects are delayed by various red tape and doesn't look like it'll clear up any time soon. I read at some point Australia is importing LNG just to reexport it to meet contract requirements.

surfmike 2 days ago [-]
Powerwall would certainly help with storage, wouldn't it? And consumers have an incentive to buy Powerwall to decrease the amount of power they need to buy from the grid.
yakult 2 days ago [-]
Numbers don't make sense yet. Plus it takes up space, is a fire hazard, and I am doubtful the 10-yr+ warranties will actually hold up past year 5, especially for third parties.

Right now it's mostly for conspicuous consumption and virtue signalling. Those of us number nerds are waiting for the tech to improve and the price to drop more. A move off toxic/flammable lithium tech would be good too.

greglindahl 2 days ago [-]
Huh. Well, you'd better call these people and tell them to cancel the order: https://electrek.co/2017/06/17/tesla-powerpack-australian-el...
yakult 1 days ago [-]
Meanwhile in America: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Roadways

Unlike that debacle, this might even make economic sense once you factor in the government rebates/sweetheart deals and the PR bonus. Alas, nobody gives me anything on the side for buying a powerwall.

daleroberts 4 days ago [-]
What I've heard from people installing solar at home is that even though you install solar and a battery, you are not allowed to disconnect from the network unless you are a rural property.

can anyone confirm this?

aplummer 4 days ago [-]
I don't know about this one, but I'm not sure why you would. A lot of that investment gets paid back by feeding energy back into the grid - you would be throwing money away.
kbutler 4 days ago [-]
Net metering is under heavy pressure from utilities because it costs them a lot. They'd also like connection fees to pay for the infrastructure they have to maintain, even if you aren't using (much of) their electricity.
TheSmiddy 4 days ago [-]
We don't do raw net metering in Australia. You pay 30-40c/kWh on the way in and get 8c/kWh on the way out. Utility is still profiting nicely.
crispinb 4 days ago [-]
Because network costs are extremely high, and ideological machinations render these (and feed-ins) subject to ongoing uncertainty.
apapli 4 days ago [-]
I don't think that is the case at all. From a practical perspective many people probably choose to stay connected (particularly in the southern states) to ensure they have a reliable energy supply over winter.

Sure you could guarantee your energy and completely disconnect from the network with enough power walls and solar panels, but the capital investment would be relatively huge - so it will be a principle based decision and not based on pure economics.

crispinb 4 days ago [-]
I have stayed in off-grid AirBnBs in urban areas, so it is presumably legal (though there might be jurisdictional differences between States).
ta834939874 4 days ago [-]
sounds like that's part of the problem.

I agree that it is part of the final solution - but getting there is going to be very expensive with the current regulation.

nautilus12 3 days ago [-]
Lol this explains the primitive technology guy on youtube
mrslave 3 days ago [-]
And there's no inflation. Nothing to see here folks. Please move along.
elyobo 3 days ago [-]
They just need to start including house prices in there and the inflation would be pretty clear...
taneq 3 days ago [-]
That's not inflation, that's real growth in value because houses are a great investment yep you should invest in houses, everyone should invest in houses, they're great. And if young people want to buy houses we should help them get bigger loans so they can afford 'em, housing affordability is fine, it's not a bubble, can't be, not possible.
elyobo 3 days ago [-]
Unsure whether to laugh or cry :D / :(
3 days ago [-]
rmm 3 days ago [-]
Some more context.

South Australia went "all green" shutting down all their coal plants and betting big on wind and solar. However due to the peak issues etc. they now buy a lot of their power from the eastern states.

Victoria uses brown coal (about 20% less energy when burned)

daemin 3 days ago [-]
That is completely false. There is no way the state could have all of its baseline power needs met by just solar and wind. As far as I know the power plant up in the port is still running and burning coal as it always did.

The buying of peak electricity from interstate is more likely a factor of higher gas prices as mentioned in the article. This is because the coal fired plant in the port has gas turbines that get used when load spikes.

Source: I used to live there, still have family and friends there.

bash-j 3 days ago [-]
The Port Augusta coal power station was demolished. There are two gas power stations in Adelaide. One was mothballed, but the state government forced the owners to start it up again after a statewide power last year. The government plans to invest in a new gas power station, plus they have a 100 mil fund set up to invest in multiple energy storage solutions to help capture excess wind power.
daemin 3 days ago [-]
I was thinking of the Torrens Island power station. Last I knew it was a coal fired power station along with gas turbines for peak load.