Don’t believe Abbott and Kelly – Electric cars are part of the battery revolution

Don’t believe Abbott and Kelly – Electric cars are part of the battery revolution

There’s one week to go until Parliament resumes for 2018 and the Abbott camp has wasted no time laying landmines for Malcolm Turnbull before the Liberal Party room has its first party room meeting next week.

The Australian has a front page story today quoting Craig Kelly, Abbott’s go-to sock puppet on energy issues, who claims electric vehicles will create more greenhouse gas emissions in Australia than conventional petrol-driven cars.

Kelly’s claim is based on the assumption that Australians will charge their EVs with electricity from the national grid, which is predominantly generated from fossil fuels.

If Kelly truly believes this, he is sadly out of date for someone who claims to be one of the Coalition’s energy experts. More likely he is simply ignoring what is going on overseas (and increasingly in Australia) where EVs are a big part of the battery revolution.

Electric vehicles use a battery similar to the ones people are installing in their homes to store the electricity generated by their rooftop solar panels during the day so they can access it during the night or on cloudy days.

EV producer Tesla was one of the first companies to produce batteries like the ones in its cars as home solar storage units. This was probably a logical extension of the realisation that EV owners who keep their cars at home during the day were essentially storing any excess solar energy in their electric vehicles. So why not make that energy accessible for use by the house as well as the car?

Australians love their rooftop solar systems and are installing them in record numbers. The rooftop solar boom will be followed by the household battery revolution. Firstly those who can afford the (still expensive) batteries will install them, and then as demand increases the cost will go down, meaning even more households will increase their use of renewable energy with rooftop solar-battery combo.

solar parking.jpgBut what about the cars that don’t stay at home? By installing solar panels on the buildings or in the parking lots where EVs are parked during the day, cars can be recharged with renewable energy while drivers are at work. These types of installations are already happening in Australia.

So don’t believe the bullshit being peddled by the Abbott camp today on EVs. It’s inaccurate, deliberately misleading, and nothing more than another attempt to wedge Turnbull on renewable energy.




WTF has happened to Antony Green’s election blog?

WTF has happened to Antony Green’s election blog?

OK I’m sufficiently incensed about this to write a quick post. The ABC appears to have scrapped almost all of the election blog meticulously produced by its election analyst and our national treasure, Anthony Green.

I’m pretty sure almost anyone who’s written a considered piece about Australian state or federal politics has visited and/or cited Green’s blog at some time. It’s a veritable treasure chest of authoritative posts on a broad range of election issues including electorate distributions, double dissolutions, and election timing.

It’s fair to say that through this blog Green had ensured that Australia thought, talked and wrote more intelligently about its polity than would have otherwise been the case.

However Green’s election blog – at least as we know it – has ceased to exist. I don’t know when it was taken down, but it was some time in 2017. An anaemic facsimile sits in its place, a compilation of Green’s ABC election opinion pieces, while the over-arching ABC elections website features some of his posts but there is no easy way to search them. There is also no obvious way to access Green’s other posts, which fall into around 30 psephological categories.

Sometimes a link appears, inviting the reader to visit Green’s old blog, but the link leads to a dead end (see left).

This is a travesty and an insult to anyone who wants to think intelligently about Australian politics.

Thankfully, all is not lost. We can still access Green’s old blog because some of it has been carefully archived by the National Library’s Pandora service (from 2010), and it can also be accessed through the Wayback Machine (HT @ktxby).

So if you want to tap into Australia’s finest psephological brain to inform your own thoughts on politics, please be sure to bookmark the link and keep visiting Green’s old blog as part of your research.

You’ll be doing yourself – and Australia – a very big favour.


Relevant tweets from Antony Green here and here.


Introducing Despatches – a “new” way of analysing federal politics

Introducing Despatches – a “new” way of analysing federal politics

It’s been a month since I decided to launch a daily political newsletter in 2018. At the time I thought it might be something that I could get going after the Easter break.

But I’m thrilled to announce that Despatches will be launched on the first sitting day of this year – 5 February 2018.

This will be subscriber-only newsletter that I’ll produce on parliamentary sitting days. It will be available only to my financial supporters on Patreon. So far I have almost 60 supporters, and I’m aiming for 100 by launch date to make it viable.

Despatches will provide analysis of the day’s political developments as well as links to a selection of the day’s noteworthy political news and analysis. My aim will be to reach beyond the “what” of federal politics to give readers more insight into the “why”.

This used to be the old way of reporting politics, but has become less popular (and viable) in the 24-hour news cycle. By publishing only once a day, I’ll have time to produce the quality analysis that is lacking in the mainstream media.

Another thing that I’ll be doing differently to the “MSM” is finding out what my readers/supporters think are the important political and policy issues. I’ll be surveying supporters who contribute $5 a month or more on a semi-regular basis, and the first suggestion box is already open for comments.

I’m also going to provide additional incentives for higher level subscribers. This means I will write, publish and publicise blog posts on their chosen political or policy topic. These benefits are explained in more detail in the Rewards section of my Patreon page.

I’m well aware there’s a vast array of free political news and opinion available to you and all other readers. However this is the business model that will sustain quality writing and analysis for the future. If you’d like to support that future, please become one of my First 100 supporters and a subscriber to Despatches.

Thank you.

P.S. For those of you on Twitter, Despatches now has a Twitter account @DespatchesDaily.

Doing things differently in 2018

Doing things differently in 2018

The year is not quite at an end (there’s still two weeks left till Christmas!) but I’ve started to think about what I’ll be doing differently in 2018.

No this isn’t a post about New Year’s resolutions but about the changing nature of work. As many of you know, I work for myself and until now that work has depended mostly on writing for corporate/government clients. My political writing has been the work I do on the side.

I hope to flip that arrangement in 2018 by setting up a Patreon account. The logic behind Patreon is that if a large number of people agree to sponsor me with a small amount each month, the combined total will help to pay for necessities while I focus on researching and writing.

I’ve set a stretch target of $500 each month, and if I reach that target I’ll be writing a daily newsletter for sponsors during parliamentary sitting weeks. That will supplement the income I get from writing my weekly column for The New Daily (for which I remain eternally grateful). I also have a couple of book ideas, but these are very much embryonic at this stage.

I’m going to be blogging more, and I’ll be surveying my sponsors on a regular basis to find out what political and policy topics they think should get more scrutiny. Sponsors who pitch in $10 a month (or more) over 12 months will have the right to choose topics for my blog posts.

Yes it is weird to be asking friends and supporters for money, but I do hope that you will consider pitching in a couple of dollars each month to support me in this endeavour. I’m really looking forward to a change of pace and focus, as well as the ideas that sponsors may have for new blog posts and other projects.

Thank you all for the support you’ve already given me