The Cormologist

Monday, June 23, 2014

Welcome Harvey - and here's the family with the little guy to celebrate

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rebooting the Cormologist

Its been 4 and a bit years and I am finally getting back to the Blog. I am now only may 4 days away from becoming a father of 3 and a lot has changed for me personally and in the political and social environment in the place I call home. Over the next few months I plan to put a few posts together on the following topics: 1. Economics, the current equity and growth conundrum as typified by the debate on Thomas Pinketty and his book on Capital in the 21st Century. I think an important piece of work but whose prescriptions don't necessarily meet the political reality - except perhaps in placing like France that exist in a parallel proto-socialist universe as compared to Australia, the UK and the USA. But I think it goes some of the way to explaining how a more even society actually has a faster growing economy (ceteris paribus). Someone say Scandanavia? 2. The conservative backlash against sustainability, that is the current swing of Australian politics towards the right has also taken its toll on policy that focuses on sustainable outcomes. Examples being the Federal government's commitment to remove the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, ARENA, Carbon tax/Emissions trading and in my home state of Victoria the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target which is being phased out as of next year. Probably the best thing about these changes is the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" argument. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency now need to stand by themselves, the role of government is probably as a legislative facilitator not as a funder of these things. But the same could be said of medical research I suppose and each regime picks its own winners even when they decry the previous government's choices. 3. The future of the Utility business in Australia. Energy Demand is falling, solar penetration continues to increase. Energy Efficiency is a no brainer. Gas prices are set to double across the Eastern Seaboard. Batteries and EVs are on the horizon. Does the current Utility structure suit the next phase of development? What do customers ultimately want from their utility? What business models are coming that could change the status quo/disrupt the industry? As usual its an interesting time to be alive, and while I focus on facilitating an improve to the demographics of this wide brown land I plan to keep thinking about the future - my kids deserve it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

To those of you who think the this blog is dead

Your probably right - but I do plan to revive it.

I am now the proud father of 2 - Sophie and now Finn and they take up a lot of my time, well that and working to help Australian's become more energy efficient and produce their own power from Solar, Fuel Cells etc.

My plan is to write something once a month on the following:

1. Is Carbon Trading Dead?

2. Solar PV - is the most government subsidised technology ever really worth it?

3. Smart Grid - why they won't work in Australia without major structural reform

4. Electric Cars - Oil price of $100+ or bust?

5. Is Parenting the hardest job ever - yes it is but it is also very rewarding (in a masochistic kind of way)

And indisperse my worldly comments with some family photos and various cormologicisms.

Oh here is a shot of Finn and I.

Ciao for now.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Better Place?

I've been busy trying to save the world over the past year and so has a company called Better Place. They have been has spreading the Electric Car message - it began in Israel, then Denmark and was announced in Australia then San Francisco and Hawaii. In Australia they are looking to raise $1B through Macquarie Bank to fund a large scale electric car recharging infrastructure project. In Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane (gold coast) they are looking at rolling out 750,000 charge spots in homes, offices, shopping centres etc and a smaller number of batter changeover stations. most charging is predicted to happen at nights on a trickle charge style systems. The batteries will have a range of 160Km and cars are coming from Nissan and Renault (and hopefully a local Australia manufacturer with money some of the Governments recently announced Green Car fund) but not until 2011/2012.

They are planning to sell "mobile phone" style contracts so that when you buy an electric car you can buy a charging plan - this is because the key expense is the battery - with a petrol car and electric really costing the same apart from the battery. Basically this is going to be a good deal for you if you drive 20,000km or more a year and the petrol price is north of $1.30/litre. Fleets and Cabs seem to be prime candidates.

I'm not convinced about their business model but I convinced about the need to roll out infrastructure to allow drivers to charge their vehicles in a large number of places before take up of the cars will happen in large numbers. And I am excited that every MWh of power that is going to Better Place will be from renewable sources.

This is also great for the renewable energy in other ways as well - because as the popularity of electric vehicles increases so does the total capacity of stored generation available. This stored generation could be used to shave peak power demand - ie an electric car could be used to power your TV and aircon on a really hot day or to help utilise intermittent renewable energy generation such as wind (which blows a lot at night in Australia).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It has been forever..but I have an excuse

Over the past 9 months my life has undergone the biggest change imaginable. Our daughter Sophie Elizabeth was born on the Leap Day this year (Feb 29)and she is the most gorgeous little thing (but ofcourse I am biased). But she is a good sleeper, and feeder and loves people and playing - and even sings along when I croon some old Burt Bacharac (sic?) tunes.

What has also happened is my faith in the future has returned, when I talk about some future date in my work life like 60% emission reduction targets by 2050 - it doesn't just seem like some distant date - although it still is. But Sophie will be 42 (or 10 in Leap Years) and in the prime of her life at this time. So its more important than ever for us (me) to make the right decisions about the future. We shape it for our kids. That's why I'm now riding to work.

Here is a shot of the little angel.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Global Warming Swindle?

There has been plenty of controversy over the past few weeks over the ABC broadcasting the Great Global Warming Swindle. A documentary made by a dubious film maker , with obvious exposure tendencies ( not that he exposes himself per se but he does seeem to yell look at me , look at me!). The documentary itself is a collection of data - which in isolation, and with the inclusion of a few scientists whom if they haven't claimed they have been misrepresented are certainly on the fringes of the global warming debate - brings into question man made global warming. I guess it is the fact that those greeny vegie hippies are perhaps right about something that sticks in the craw of so many people. And means that they would like to see the theory of man made climate change disproven. Could explain why the documentary rated so well. What annoys me about this ongoing debate is that a really high proportion of people who are suppposed to know about this stuff, ie climatologists have been arguing these things for 20 years or so and have come down to increased CO2 as the most likely culprit for the recent global warming phenomena. I mean one can plausibly believe that the moon landings were shot on a film set in Arizona; but it is implausible to believe that somehow a cabal of greenies can plant false evidence of global warming around the globe which 400+ climatologists fall for and report to the IPCC. What we should be seeing now is a documentary on the EU Trading scheme - the dodgy way permits were given out, the actaul carbon reductions in different countries as a result of the scheme, how much money power companies have made selling permits to carbon emissions that they never would have emitted anyway, the fact that more than 50% of emissions that have come from developing nations have come from a handful of HFC-23 refridgerant projects in China. But we in Australia are still caught up in the is there or isn't there man made global warming. I can't say for sure, but I also couldn't say for sure that there is actually other solar systems, or other galaxies beyond our own, because I don't understand how the universe works. But I read what smarter people than I have studied - and even if they have doubts about what it is they find - I believe them. The climatic system is the most complex system on earth. Evidence that proves global warming is man made will probably never fulfil the Popper falsifiable doctrine of scientific truth. But the key for me and for our society is - how long can we wait for the evidence? And even if the evidence exists how do you make people believe it? I'm sure that plenty of people still believed the Earth was flat long after Magellan circumnavigated the globe. Sure continue to debate the science - but by letting a few freaks hold us back from the lifestyle, societal and economic changes that we need to make to attempt to decrease CO2 concentration in our atmosphere is fundamentally flawed thinking.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Here are a few shots from our recent trip to Tasmania.
Really a very beautiful place and still so seemingly untouched.
The first shot is at Crater Lake and the next is a classic shot of Cradle mountain.

And yes a shot with me in my winter bushwalking outfit (including thermals) - the temperature was about 5C at the time.