201011

Electricity Prices Are On The Rise

Electricity prices are on the rise. How can that be so in a country that has such an abundance of cheap coal. The NSW Feed-In-Tariff has been in the news a lot lately. Both sides of politicics are saying that the FIT has been axed because of a need to do something about the rising cost of electricity. Scrapping the FIT is a very simplistic response.

There are a lot of families trying to survive on a fixed single income, struggling to meet mortgage repayments. An increase in electricity prices is going to make times tough for a lot of people.

Will scrapping the FIT have an impact on rising electricity prices?

The reasons for rising electricity prices are complex and multifactorial.

14 billion dollars will need to be spent on energy transmission infrastructure (poles and wires) over the next 5 years. This probably puts the biggest pressure on electricity prices.

Lack of market certainty is a big factor. People want to invest in energy, but they want to back a winner. In today?s political climate it is unclear whether that winner will be coal or renewables. That lack of certainty is delaying investment, which is driving the cost of electricity up.

Demand is rising. Our population is growing. More people want to live in bigger houses with more electrical appliances. As demand goes up, the cost of electricity goes up.

Renewable energy is more expensive than coal fired electricity, particularly as we ignore the huge environmental cost of fossil fuels. A transition to a society powered by renewable energy is going to increase electricity costs.

A Feed-In ?Tariff is only a small part of the reason why electricity prices are on the rise. The Australian Solar Energy Society estimates that cutting the FiT for rooftop solar will save around $1.40 per household per week.

Household bills are going to rise, no matter what happens to the FIT. It is inevitable.

Our politicions need to help us reduce our electricity bills. They need to educate us about demand management, they need to make smart meters readily available, and they need to encourage the uptake of solar panels.

Scrapping the FIT will not help. The governments actions will mean job losses in the renewable energy sector. It will dampen down community enthusiasm for renewable energy at a time when we need to be ramping it up. It will delay necessary investment in renewables at a time when they are so desperately needed, and it will do very little to control the rising cost of electricity.

I am looking forward to the day when our politicians come up with a strategic approach to climate change. That day seems a long way off. That is why we as a community need to come up with our own carefully thought out response.

Matthew Nott

Mountain Biking with Champions

On 23/10/10, three of Tathra’s top cyclists tried out the Tathra Enduro race course.

Jake Iskov, Adam McCabe, John Blankenstein
Jake Iskov, Adam McCabe, John Blankenstein

Adam McCabe, 17th in his age group in the World 24 Hour Enduro championships, and Jake Iskov, arguably (and probably) the fastest man on a mountain bike in the ‘bilateral hip replacement category’, worked hard to keep up with John Blankenstein, the world 24 hour Enduro champion in his age category.

The three cyclists were asked to put the 2011 Tathra Mountain Bike Enduro through its paces.

The Tathra Enduro is a mountain bike race that will be held around the Mimosa National Park and Mumbulla State Forest in March 2011.Funds raised will go towards Tathra’s very achievable 50/50 by 2020 target. Money will be donated towards solar panels for community buildings, wind turbines, bike paths, smart meters, etc.

The consensus from the three elite riders who road tested the course was that the Tathra Enduro will be a successful event.

The course traverses pristine wilderness forest, takes in views of the Pacific Ocean and Bega River, has challenging climbs and fast descents, and includes some of the best single track the South Coast has to offer.

It was all smiles from the three cyclists as they charged around the course, chewing up kilometers with disdain. A film crew was out with the cyclists, trying to capture the action.

Most people know that Tathra has some elite cyclists but few people understand what it is like to hurtle through the bush with a world champion. John Blankenstein has two speeds; full tilt and sound asleep. If you want to know what it’s like to ride with a world champion, look up ‘Tathra Mountain Bike Enduro’ on YouTube.
Matthew Nott