March 27th, 2010 at 01:15pm
So Earth Hour is upon us again at 8:30 tonight. Thankfully though this year there is an organised call to leave the power running to celebrate Human Achievement Hour which, through no coincidence, is on at the same time as Earth Hour. Whilst technically Human Achievement Hour is just an extension of what I’ve been saying for years (as have others before me) and that is that at least some of us should turn lights on to help keep the power grid operating normally…just leaving your power on and going about your normal life and taking advantage of the human achievements which have contributed to our great standard of living is good enough.
Global warming arguments to one side (because we all know my stance on the fraud that is anthropogenic global warming), think about this from another angle…your wallet. Large sudden drops in the amount of energy consumption cause the voltage in the power grid to increase, and can cause damage to the power grid, and who do you think ends up paying to replace damaged equipment? Yes, that’s right, you, through higher electricity prices. In fact, thanks to Earth Hour, you’re already paying more as power companies have had to budget for extra staff time to prepare for the sudden drop in consumption, thereby ensuring that we don’t all end up in a permanent Earth Hour.
With lights set to go out again tonight from 8.30, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has taken precautions in recent days to ensure that Earth Hour does not prompt a breach of its operating standards.
The sudden drop in demand for electricity caused by Earth Hour can cause a spike in the frequency and voltage rates coursing through the electricity network, and there are strict operating limits for both that must be observed by AEMO.
Frequency rates relate to the speed at which power travels through the grid, and exactly five minutes before Earth Hour begins tonight, AEMO will start a 20-minute dispatch of extra frequency control services to prevent an unwelcome surge in frequency.
AEMO has also decided to operate transmission voltages at the lower end of the usual scale, in a bid to manage the rise in voltage that comes in tandem with the reduced demand for electricity.
Now, of course, Earth Hour sponsor Fairfax would never use the word “damage” but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that with all those good ole baseload power plants (coal, nuclear etc) producing a consistent stream of energy (something which “renewables” like wind and solar still can’t do), if the consumption decreases and the production stays the same (which it does as it takes time to adjust large power plants), then the excess has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is likely to be the sensitive equipment which distributes power, or on a smaller scale, the sensitive compressor in your fridge.
I personally support the idea of turning on everything I can find (see one of my previous efforts for an example) as, despite the number of people who believe in this anthropogenic global warming nonsense decreasing every day, some people do still believe, and they’re as zealous as ever. Those of us who are turning things on are helping to balance out the energy fluctuations caused by those who will turn everything off, and are therefore helping to protect the power grid.
That said, I applaud anybody who simply goes about their normal business during Human Achievement Hour, as you’re doing your part to keep the power grid safe as well.
Sadly this year I won’t be in a position to turn everything on as I will not be at home, but I will be increasing my energy usage anyway. I’m attending an event where a nice big generator will be providing power in a spot which is not on the power grid, and I will have to drive there and back, plus use extra power to record The Bill and then keep the lights on to watch it after I get home.
If I wasn’t going out, then as I said to Mike Jeffreys yesterday morning, I’d be quite happy to replace all of my compact fluorescent bulbs with the hungrier incandescent bulbs for the hour.
I am quite pleased to see though that this year, more people seem to be taking my stance. I’m pleasant surprised by the overwhelmingly positive feedback which I’ve received over this on Facebook. Normally my anti-Earth Hour message leads to me having to spend a day or two defending my position. So far, it looks like the need for me to defend my stance and educate the masses is smaller than in any previous year…people are getting the message that anthropogenic global warming is a crock.
Regardless of what your plans are tonight, I’m just going to echo the sentiments of the Conservative Leadership Foundation and say to you “Don’t be stuck in the dark with the communists. Turn your lights on!”