Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sucked in by sticker price

Spotted this outside my local Kmart on the weekend. Looks cheap, doesn't it? I'm sure they sell much less if the true cost was on the sign.

inefficient bar fidge

The star rating sticker (with the disappointing 1 and a half stars) tells me this fridge consumes 250 kWh/year. At the current electricity price that's $73.50 per year. After a couple of years, the power would have almost cost more than the fridge itself.

To put it another way, over 10 years (assuming 10% price increase each year) it would cost $1170 to run this "cheap" fridge.

A classic case where paying a few bucks extra for a more efficient fridge can save you big money - as well as reducing greenhouse emissions. Everyone's a winner.

PS. Compare the costs of various fridge models at

Monday, July 15, 2013

2 charts in 1

1. Increasing electricity prices mean that energy efficiency is better value than ever. 2. The carbon price is a very small part of home electricity.

Previously I needed two charts to make these points, but now this chart does both.

Queensland electricity prices

Clearly, there has been a significant increase over the years (and these prices don't include the 10% goods and services tax). So the savings you make by choosing the energy-efficient fridge / feezer / TV / hot water system / light bulb etc are greater than ever.

Also, the carbon price is that little grey sliver above the black bit. Yes I know - it's way smaller than you might have thought judging by all the over-inflated talk over the past couple of years.

Even though it's small in the overall price we pay for electricity, it is significant in comparison to the black section (the cost of making energy) so that encourages the electricity generating companies to use more renewables and less coal.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sydney's Great Plan

The City of Sydney plans to produce 30% renewable energy by 2030, and reduce electricity-related emissions by 70% with tri-generation (producing electricity, heating and cooling from the one energy source). In the future, the trigeneration could even be powered from waste material.

Other plans include switching 6,500 park and street lights to LED lights. It's estimated that this will save $800,000 per year. Well done Sydney. Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The wind saved the farm

"Going into a cold winter with 5 months of no rain ... If it wasn't for the wind money coming in, I don't think we be here."
ABC Canberra interviewed this farming couple who've experienced the hardship of drought and the uncertainty that brings for a farming income. They found a secure livelihood with wind power - making even more productive use of their land.

While I like most ideas that help reduce carbon emissions, I particularly like the ones like this that are also good for the individual and the local economy - as well as the planet as a whole.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Solar Scorecard

An Australian election could be called any day now, so it makes sense to find out which politicians (and parties) are actively supporting renewable energy - and which aren't. To help you do this, the 100% Renewable group have developed the Solar Scorecard.

Solar scorecard logo

You can compare the parties, see where your MP ranks on the overall list, and who makes it into the Top 10 (or bottom 10).

I'm sure there'll be more of this kind of stuff (analysing where the various candidates stand) as the election draws closer, but this is a very good start. Check it out.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Happy Birthday Carbon Price

It's one year today since Australia started having a price on carbon - and it looks like it's having the desired effect.

Graphic showing a decrease in carbon emissions and coal use and an increase in renewable energy after a carbon price was introduced

Energy efficiency and cleaner energy combined to bring down emissions by 7.4%. We now consume 13.3% less brown coal and 4.2% less black coal. Renewables were up by significantly. Or to put it simply:

The last comment refers to the naysayers last year who were saying that towns would be wiped off the map, and that a carbon price would be a 'wrecking ball' through the economy. So how has the economy done this past 12 months?

According to Business Spectator, since the carbon price was introduced:
  • Real GDP is up by 2.5% pa
  • 157,400 more people are employed
  • The stock market is up 17% ($205 billion)
  • Wages are increasing by 3% pa
Sounds like a price on carbon has been a great idea. Good on you Australia. Now China is also giving it a go. Let's hope the USA follows too.

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