Skip to main content

Nuclear Power Won't Reduce Your Electricity Bill Like You Think - Australia's Energy Crisis

Cooling towers of a nuclear power station.
Photo: Petr Kratochvil
Australian energy consumers are currently in a crisis, receiving some of the highest power bills in the world, making us a prime target for the nuclear energy vultures who claim their industry will bring the cost of electricity down.

It's a smoke and mirrors argument when you consider the cost of actually producing electricity isn't the main reason for Australia's ever increasing consumer electricity prices. Hypothetically, even after the cost of installing nuclear power plants, the actual cost reductions won't be as dramatic as the nuclear energy industry would have you believe.

According to this article, A high price for policy failure: the ten-year story of spiralling electricity bills by David Blowers, published in January 2018, the two biggest factors are the cost of the network (transporting electricity), and the retailer margins (cost of billing and servicing the customer). These are followed by the wholesale cost (actually generating the power), and the environmental schemes we pay for through our electricity bills.

Overall, according to the ACCC we're paying 44% more for electricity than we were ten years ago.

Also, according to David's article the cost of the network has increased from $42 billion in 2005 to $72 billion by 2016 (an increase of 70%) despite there being no significant change in the number of customers using the network over that time period. Which means we're actually paying for infrastructure that was built but we didn't actually need (seemingly thanks in part to government incentives that encourage energy companies to build more infrastructure whether we need it or not).

Being an energy retailer is big business and, far from competition causing prices to drop, instead companies are spending more and more on marketing and passing those costs along to the very people they're competing for, the consumer.

If you've ever wondered about retailer mark ups there's a good comparison in this article by Bulk Energy, Australian electricity prices; the cost of electricity in Australia per kWh, published in June 2018. As you'll see all the markups are pretty high with the highest being South Australia at 383%.

Whilst these markups sound ridiculously high they don't necessarily translate into similarly high profit margins. Apparently these markups are essential to cover the cost of running their business.

Regardless the point of this post is to highlight that there are faster ways to cut the cost of electricity bills than building nuclear power stations... and to debunk the idea that nuclear is the answer to spiraling costs.

Government reforms in the two main key factors could significantly reduce energy costs for consumers without the need to build anything at all (least of all more network infrastructure that we don't need). Apparently it's easier to build things than it is to build good policies. Just look at that massive Tesla Battery the SA government commissioned to keep the lights on (which is, apparently saving the state money).

I feel there's a push by Nuclear Energy companies and their supporters to leverage the current crisis, attempting to get their foot in the door to change Australia's ban on nuclear energy. These companies are promising cheaper prices, and still pedalling the line that Nuclear is a 'clean' energy source because it supposedly has zero carbon emissions... which is like saying coal is a clean energy source because it produces zero radioactive waste.

It's foolish to swap one toxic power source for another that is equally, if not a more toxic, when there are actual cleaner, safer alternatives. These alternatives may not yet be able to completely takeover from current 'base' power sources but if nuclear gains a foothold here, what incentive will there be to develop renewable energy alternatives to the necessary levels required?

Australia will never become a world leader in renewable energy if we fall for the seemingly easy and unnecessary option of nuclear power. There's an argument that by not having nuclear power Australia is being left behind but, with real incentive to develop renewable energy, we're actually positioned to lead the way in making them viable sources of base energy, instead of supplementary.

As much as the media and the nuclear industry tries to tell you the fear of a nuclear meltdown is the reason we have a zero tolerance for nuclear power, I believe it's the idea of living near a nuclear waste storage facility that really turns people off.

The chance of a meltdown is minimal with only three actual nuclear meltdowns since nuclear power stations became a thing. Living next door to a nuclear waste centre is a fact. Someone has to. The trouble is most Australians don't want to, and the rightful landowners are right to say 'not in our backyard either'.

Saying yes to nuclear energy will not reduce the cost of your bill in the short term since it takes time to build nuclear power plants and, realistically, how many would you need to make a dent in prices nationally?

By the time they are built our government could have got their finger out and actually created policy reform to bring prices down, and then we'd be stuck with more network infrastructure (i.e. nuclear power plants/waste disposal centres) that we didn't need in the first place and now have to pay for.

---o ---o--- o---

If you're interested in investigating the issue of Nuclear Energy in Australia further there is a great page on the Parliament of Australia's website that covers much of the history of the issue in this country as well as the pros and cons of using nuclear energy. 

You can also read my opinion piece on South Australia's investigation into the possibility of setting up a commercial nuclear waste facility in our state that would have potentially stored waste from power plants worldwide.

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET

Popular posts from this blog

My First Time on a P&O Cruise Ship - Mini Cruise Almost to Kangaroo Island

Outwardly I wasn't concerned about my first time on a P&O Cruise ship but inwardly I guess my subconscious anxiety was working overtime. I'll spare you the details but just know my digestive system was pretty empty by the time my partner, Kathy, and I left the house.

That said, once we were on the boat for our three day cruise from Adelaide, South Australia, with a stop at Kangaroo Island (KI), and back to Adelaide again, everything went pretty well, with nothing to be too concerned about. 
The ship didn't leave until four in the afternoon. However we were able to board in time to not only have lunch on the boat but also spend a couple of hours exploring.
Our ship was called the Pacific Eden and is pretty much what you might imagine a cruise ship to be from the outside. Maybe bigger or smaller than you think depending upon whether you've seen a cruise ship before. This particular ship will be retired from March 2019, having been sold to another cruise ship company…

Guest Post: MY SOOPER DOOPER NEW CONSERVATORY/ART STUDIO!

Today's guest post is by Artist, Writer, and Mental Health Advocate, Jo B Creative who writes for her blog, Creating My Oddessey.

You should see our (almost) brand new conservatory, half of which is my art studio. 'Lucky me!' I think to myself. Not every creative bod can boast that. It's HUGE! Like a giant greenhouse.

We first moved to our pleasant cul-de-sac house - great for raising kids - when our son, who's on the cusp of thirty-one, was four. One of the main reasons that we wanted it was that, apart from its location on the fringes of a historic market town in rural Hampshire, UK, it had a sizable conservatory looking onto the back garden. It was brown wood framed and had a corrugated transparent roof sloping down from downstairs ceiling height. On the face of it, it doesn't sound that glamourous, but we loved the idea of a conservatory. Luxury! I even liked the red brick walls which it was built against - the original exterior of the house - and the light …

Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) *Spoiler Free*

Ten years in the making and Marvel finally releases part one of the Avengers versus Thanos, A.K.A. Avengers: Infinity War.

After seeing all 18 films in the MCU prior to this, and liking most of them, I was pretty confident this movie would not disappoint.

Other than a few minor issues - that are all my personal taste and in no way reflect on the quality of the film - it really delivers. Thanos is indeed the big, bad villain of the MCU that we've been antcipating.

Movie Review: Stan and Ollie (2019) *Spoiler Free*

Although I'm very familiar with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as comedic entertainers I didn't really know much about this movie going in, having only seen a brief TV spot for the film the day before.

Personally I expected Stan and Ollie to be much more of a biopic focussing on their rise to success but the film completely sails by almost their entire career very quickly, settling in on their final tour of the United Kingdom with a run of live theatre performances.

At that point the duo had come out of retirement and were trying to raise money for a new Laurel and Hardy film. As you would expect, things don't go quite as smoothly as hoped. Past grievances, and the challenges of regaining momentum after being retired provide for interesting drama.

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are spot on in the title roles, recreating classic comedic moments with understated performances and rounding out the two personalities in their daily lives.

I will say I was expecting to see much m…

Robot Uprising Update: Seamless Mobility Combines Autonomous Shuttles and Delivery Robots (No Lasers Attached - Yet!)

Continental’s Vision: Seamless Mobility Combines Autonomous Shuttles and Delivery Robots is a title that appears innocent enough on Continental's press release for CES 2019 (that was held in January) but on closer inspection they're clearly advancing the imminent robot uprising.

On the surface Continental are developing an urban robot delivery service where by teams of dog-like robots are transported to specific locations by driverless cars (known as CUbEs) to deliver packages directly to your door... and your neighbour's door, and that other place not far from you... you get it, we're talking lots of robots being transported to specific locations.

I've written before about how robots are slowly moving from patrolling our homes to keeping tabs on us outdoors, in the streets, and even from the air.

This was all happening in an ad hoc way, with many companies producing different robots to serve different purposes, that could all one day be coordinated by a rogue Roo…

Creating a Mobile Independent Artist Business - Part 10: Opportunities to make money (Part A)

In my last post I looked at What to Create and Finding Your Market. This post is something of a natural follow on from finding your market as many of these money making opportunities include their own market places that you can research to see what kinds of themes and subjects sell best.

It's worth doing this research to find out if the art you're already creating is a good fit for that market place - which is ideal - or if you may have to consider expanding your interests to cover popular themes in order sell in a particular market.

Review: Titans, Season One, Netflix/WBTV Original Series *Minor Spoilers*

When I saw the first trailers for the Netflix/WBTV original series Titans my expectations were set extremely low. Granted my point of reference was the recent Teen Titans Go animated series (and movie), which I've seen a few episodes, and don't like at all. To be fair though, that show is definitely not targeted at me.

Anyhow the Titan trailer didn't do enough to hook me in and Robin's 'F*ck Batman' quote toward the end had my eyes rolling with 'here we go again with a whiney, entitled Robin like the Chris O'donnell version in the 1990's movies.

However, from the very first episode I was pleasantly surprised with the story and ideas presented, and was hooked, to the point of binge watching several episodes in a row if I had time.

We learn Dick Grayson is trying to retire from being Robin and has moved to Detroit, where he's working as a detective for the Detroit PD.

Full disclosure, I've been wanting to see a new take on a live action Robin…