Does installing wind turbines emit more CO2 than they save?

The Australian government’s own data: national-greenhouse-accounts-factors-2014.pdf says that when an industrial consumer in New South Wales consumes 100,000 kWh, 86 tonnes of CO2 are emitted.

Using this is generous, for consumers it’s more like 100 tonnes and it’s 134 tonnes in Victoria but let’s not point at Loy Yang and laugh.

This anti-wind farm web site: http://stopthesethings.com/2014/08/16/how-much-co2-gets-emitted-to-build-a-wind-turbine/ says making and installing a wind turbine emits 241.85 tons of CO2, as if this is a lot.

But that is how much CO2 is emitted in NSW when 281,221 kWh of mostly fossil fired electricity is consumed.

A 2MW wind turbine generates this in 140.6 hours of operation.

Even if the turbine only generates power at a 10% yield requiring 1406 hours of operation that’s only 56 days.

The idea that they must run hour for hour to back up each and every turbine in Australia is demonstrably wrong. By simple observation coal fired power stations are being shut down. You don’t do that unless no one is prepared to pay you for your cheap power.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-11/power-stations-port-augusta-alinta-energy/6537814

So is it as simple as the anti-wind farm activist websites are published by people with faulty calculators?

Or have I missed something?

Future in Review

I am attending the Strategic New Service conference Future In Review. I’ve wanted to attend this since Simon Hackett first started telling anyone who would listen how amazing he found it.

So, has it up to Simon’s hype?

Well, yes, yes it has proved to be amazing and I understand why Simon loves it.

The attendees come from a wide range of backgrounds but broadly it’s an older audience, mostly C level execs from business, corporate and government. There is also a large contingent of business analysts from the finance world and lots of high nett worth individuals who got that way by making well informed investment decisions.

People have talked about Internet of Things, Materials Science, Medical Diagnostics, Net Neutrality, Security vs Privacy and all sorts of other ways in which science, technology, money and government intersect.

To really appreciate the event you need to have been reading the regular news letters SNS publish. Now I’ve met a bunch of the people who contribute to the news letters I have a better measure of the deeply rational place most of these people come from.

This is not a room full of stereotypic Americans.

Mind suitably expanded.

VDSL2 in basements and carrier powers

In Australia companies that sell telecommunications services are called Carriage Service Providers. They don’t have to hold a “carrier license” to sell services.

A carriage service provider that wants to own cables or run radio links must hold a carrier license in Australia. This costs money and comes with compliance overheads. In exchange the government gives carriers certain rights, particularly “land access” which means the carrier can install cables on crown land like footpaths and even on private property like farms, basements and even your back yard.

These access rights are limited. For instance building owners own the cables in the risers in buildings unless they were installed by a specific carrier who has labelled them as their private property. The right is specific to servicing a customer so you can’t demand to install your cable on the off chance of landing a customer later. Finally, the carrier doesn’t have a right to have power delivered to active equipment. The access powers were designed in an earlier era of copper cables.

Of course carriers have been able to strike access agreements with building owners to provide access to power and building cables.

Where all of this gets interesting is when a carrier like NBNCo or TPG wants access to a basement. They are entitled to serve notice that they need to install cable to service one or more customers. The building owner has limited rights to refuse access but isn’t obliged to provide access to power or in-building cabling.

So when a carrier comes and demands access to your building and the terms of their access agreement state no other carrier is entitled to “interfere” with their services when they use your building cables and that you are obliged to provide them with electricity think carefully before signing the agreement. The TIO arbitrates land access disputes so you might like to call them if you think you’re being treated unfairly. You must allow licensed carriers to access their customers in your building but they must pay for power if they need it and they can’t demand exclusive access to your riser cables. They can install new cables in the riser at their expense.

Of course the whole issue of in-building interference is mostly a reason to insist on access monopoly. The real reduction in speed over sub 200 metre loops inside buildings is negligible, from 100Mb to perhaps 90Mb but that isn’t the narrative most people want to hear. That avoiding this reduction in potential maximum speed comes at a premium cost of say $200 per year of lost competition won’t dawn on them until they get the bill.

Don’t believe me? Go read Ericsson’s document, page 9.

http://cms.comsoc.org/SiteGen/Uploads/Public/Docs_Globecom_2009/Vector_globecom2009_final_v2.pdf

The image at the top of the post is from that page and shows performance of VDSL2 over 0.5mm copper loops commonly found in riser cables.

Xero

When setting up a business one of the critical elements is a good accounting system. Before GST it was possible to run a single employee consulting business from an invoice book and a shoe box for receipts but that was last century.

I have used single user and multi user accounting systems in businesses before and they have all sucked not least because the database needs to travel with the user.  A business with two mobile users needs some sort of remote terminal access using Windows Remote Desktop or Citrix or the lovely built-in mechanisms in OSX.

Given the need for Internet access to use this you might as well do the entire thing “in the cloud”.  Enter Xero.

You sign up for a free trial, tell Xero some details of your company and banking and you’re under way.

Then things get very interesting.  Humans call you to check on your progress and offer help.  They’re very keen to get you talking with accountants who are experts at Xero to ensure you have set up a good chart of accounts.  The human support side of Xero is done very well.

You can record purchase orders, send them to suppliers, enter bills from suppliers, process payments to them and raise invoices to customers.

The entire service so far is working nicely.  I must send some people some invoices 🙂

The next step is to get the automation working with the bank so that customer payments are processed automatically.