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Effects of climate change on the consumer


Some interesting research mentioned here:

I don’t remember seeing mention of impacts on nutritional value of stock feed before.


Industry Super Australia is supporting the development of nuclear power in Australia.

They say that it a far beter option than having a climate disaster in 50 years time.


There appears to be something not right with the cost estimates in this report? /scratches head, looks to navel, wonders about deep space and alien life for a reality check! Fails.:exploding_head:

Without having access to the source and analysis data, the rest of us can only guess at the basis of the cost estimates.

It’s already a known that residential battery systems such as a Tesla Powerwall come close to paying back the investment over the lifetime of the battery, when compared to retail consumption charges. The few Large scale battery projects provide electricity at about half the unit cost of a residential battery over the life of the battery.

The claim that a 1.5 day battery for Australia would cost the same as 1,000 nuclear reactors seems a little off the mark. ($6.5 trillion, or $6,500 billions)

The analysis really should making and comparing the whole of life costs of the options preferably using a discounted cash flow analysis.

The costing also needs to state what basis future power needs and indeed power mix has been assumed. That includes generation options.

It’s a bold assumption we need to run the whole of the country on batteries for 1.5 days?

In respect of demand, can we expect residential efficiency of use to continue to improve and reduce demand growth?

Will battery system costs continue to decrease like all things in the world of silicon and mass consumption?

Will the cost of Engineering concrete and steel construction (as for a nuclear or conventional power plant) continue to escalate?

My dumb engineering response might be that let’s buy and install 10million Powerwalls, at a cost of around $150B. One for every household in Aust approx. Spread over the next ten years that would be $15B per year. And let Industry/Business etc also innovate and manage their demands as a separate cost exercise. There are progressive goals to be meet over 30 years.

Providing each step is well defined by a comprehensive strategy, there are likely other options that will not be as scary as the wild estimates thrown up by the Super Funds.

That in ten years time or 20 or 30 there will be no wind, no solar, no hydro, no pumped storage, no gas, no remnant coal generation operating for one and a half days nation wide. Sounds just a little to contrived.

There is no real argument here for or against nuclear power.

There is however a real argument for some open and honest sharing of real facts with consumers. What ever the outcome consumers are going to foot the bill!


That would be the most expensive way to do it… …I did some back of the envelope calculations here… for residential only…

My estimate was about $27B for 1 hours supply. Or $678B for 24 hours. The duration of battery support could be anyone’s guess, but assume that it is needed for maximum 12 hour duration (night + spare capacity for peaks). This would be around $340B. 12 hours also assumes there will be over generation in some regions to cater for no generation in others.

I know these figures are rubbery and assume the capacity reported in the media for the SA Tesla network support are correct…l know the batteries don’t have this purpose, but it does give an indication of cost of mass battery storage connected to a network (which is cheaper than single residential battery packs)

Now if one includes non-residential electricity users…commercial and manufacturing…

(From DoEE, 2017, Australian energy update)

This would be about 3.5 times residential. The total would then be about 4.5 (3.5+1) residential or about $1.5T…what a minute, that is what the article says and not I am not the author of the article.

So a figure in the order of $1T+ may not be unreasonable based on today’s prices.

The cost would need to spread across all electricity consumers…or the additional costs would be about $100B per year (assuming batteries have a 10 year life before replacement).

These numbers while guesstimates, show the cost of a battery a supported could be very expensive and cost consumers about $100B+ extra per year (or about $4000 per head of population). If the numbers are real, an average families power bill would increase by about $2-3k per year (assuming residential pay on their share 1/4.5).

While home electricity prices will increase, so will every product a household uses as the costs to business will be transferred to the consumer through higher prices. If one assumes the consumer pays all the additional cost, either directly or through tax subsidies, the average household costs would increase by about $10K per year (including residential electricity bills). The actual costs would be less as some costs would be exported if we are still able to pass on the higher costs to consumers in other countries and we still have an export market as a result of higher product costs.


Why? Nuclear is already the most expensive way to generate electricity. Costs are trending higher. Meanwhile, costs of renewable generation are trending lower.

According to Geoscience Australia, the nation’s solar energy resource is “10 000 times larger than its total energy consumption”.

A study by the University of Technology, Sydney, put Australia’s onshore wind capacity alone at about twelve times current demand.

An ANU study found about 1,000 times as much pumped hydro capacity as we’d need for a 100% renewables grid. I guess that’s a good reason to deflect attention toward batteries.

We have options that are cheaper, easier, cleaner and faster to implement. It’s time to give up on nuclear.

Yes, that’s likely to affect consumers. :wink:

Reducing Reliance on Imported Fuel

I found this report to be superficial. They don’t do any modelling but quote various people who may or may not be experts in the field, I didn’t look. They don’t state all the assumptions or go into any detail about how reliable such a headline forecast might be. The retired military bloke only provides his name and a forward, neither he nor the authors are climatologists. The linked article is a summary of a summary or some summaries AFAICT.


I find some people don’t get emojis. :wink:

Meanwhile, an indirect effect of climate change: the opportunity for consumers to participate in the demand response market.


I find they are a poor substitute for words. I still have no idea what you are trying to convey.


We can assume or guess what ever rubbery figures we like.

I find the summary references to the report both alarmist and misdirecting. For the reasons I previously outlined, there is little point in trying to replicate an answer without knowing the full details of the original report.

All the Tesla Powerwall example I provided does is put into context the size of the problem for residential electricity consumption. The example uses today’s proven technology and approximate costs against the largest portion of demand.

Cynically this sector is also the major source of income for the electricity retailers, and generators. Large scale change threatens their business model and survival. Yes, it is an expensive option relative to large scale battery storage. However both options are close to break even on current energy costs. This option will only come down in cost over time.

A critical need for a meaningful discussion remains having in the public domain all the details used in developing the report. IE, what the Analysts modelled and all the data and accompanying assumptions.

A honest and proper analysis needs to consider the whole of life costs, and not just the initial capital. Currently the initial capital costs of batteries are very high, however a staged transition and subsequent payback due to the very low operational costs is now any real business would model this option, to find the lowest cost.

Battery technology has been improving at a significant rate and it has become cheaper. It is the same discussion for solar PV systems where panel costs and system costs have fallen dramatically over the previous two decades. It would be reasonable and fair to factor in a progressive improvement in battery technology reducing cost, increasing capacity and improving cycle life.

The contrast with new major coal fired systems with carbon capture or nuclear or … is those costs can only continue to increase relative to inflation. There is currently no magic bullet for carbon capture that is efficient, reliable and low cost. It may appear one day. It may be a long way into the future.

I’m more than prepared to share some more insights, and estimates. It would be better to do the nitty gritty off line, so that we do not make a complex mess for all and sundry. It might even feel like being back at work again!

However we would only be doing the work the government should already have commissioned and put into the public domain. How great is Australia? :face_with_thermometer:


Not quite, it is far more complex than that. Assuming that residential/domestic use could be externalised from any other costs (that being, a resident does not consume more than what one uses at home…which is not the case), it is unlikely that one Powerwall per household would be sufficient. Current average household consumptiin is about 23kW which means a house would need 3 x 10kW battery packs. Most dwellings would therefore need multiple Powerwalls if the same standard of living is to be maintained (even assuming some modest efficiency gains over the coming decades). So the figure is more likely to be around $450B for residences only.

One thing in my guestimate is that power consumption for today will be the same as in the future. If all forecasts are correct, electricity consumption will increase electricity replaces fossil fuels in transport (if one assumes that battery technology is the future) and heating/cooking to replace gas. Add in the transformation of industry to full electricity, the demand will be substantially higher for both residences and industry.

It is likely that multiple Powerwalls would be needed just to satisify an average residence demand…so the figure could be multiples of $150B on and above the current $450B guestimate.

Comparing guestimates, costs for Powerwalls or residential battery systems would be higher than large network battery packs which say would be $340B + transport and heating/cooking allowance.

Yes, but say costs reduce by 50% (assuming that any future demand caused by batterybadoption does not exceed supply…otherwise the costs will go the other way), both the network batteries and residential hatteries will decrease by say a similar proportion.

Cost of batteries will also be directly influenced by the cost of power used to mine, transport, process, manufacture battery components.

Residential PV and battery systems are unlikely to be the lowest cost solution to a solar and battery system. The battery systems are shown in the above comparison…and current costs of generation show that domestic solar costs significantly more than big solar (or wind) generators.

While residential systems will continued to be used, I beleive that they are unlikely to replace high generation sites around the country. If it did, the breakdown and fragmentation may reduce home electricity costs at the expense of commerical and industrial operations…in the end we would pay for their substantially higher (than would itherwise be) costs through increased goods and services.

They might have done such and it has been buried. Even Labor wouldn’t disclose its costs for more ambitious CO2 reductions in the recent election campaign…wonder why…maybe they are a bit scary like the ones above.

If our numbers are in the general ball park, imagine politically if it comes out that the cost to an average consumer would be $10K+ (could be substantially higher if transport etc shift from fossil fuels ia also included) per year more than current electricity bills. This would be electoral suicide as the additional cost of living would cripple may households…and reverse our standard of living. Imagine the impact on developing countries/less weathy countries than Australia.

While the numbers are guestimates, it does show the potential financial impacts if the wrong decisions or wrong technologies are used in the future…and why tyere needs to be a thorough discussion with all cards on the table (including nuclear, hygrogen, geothermal etc) of the best solution moving forward. Currently we are tinkering around the edges allowing the marketing spin of multinations to say what is the best solution for us…or maybe better to say what is the best solution for them.


This is perhaps a good point in time to let the discussion rest.

I can see that one approach is to agree with the report that the ABC is referencing, without informed review.

Unfortunately it is not self evident that anyone of us can reliably vouch for, accept or deny the basis and content of the report in total.

It is easy to be skeptical that the report and ABC interpretation adds any value. Hopefully the ABC realises this in time and seeks a more complete and thorough analysis by a third party that has access to all the information.

I do wonder at the timing of the release of the information through the ABC and other topical discussions around a a government assessment of nuclear power. It would seem odd that there are not balancing and equal concurrent investigations in to the alternatives. The challenge remains the statement by the government that Australia is on track to meet it’s GHG targets for 2030 without any major changes, despite the independent assessments indicating the opposite.

Without a comprehensive 30 year plan, how hard can it be?


Politely - that is your assessment, not mine.


Interestingly the New Daily, which is also owned by the Industry Super Australia has published the following. Climate Change affects people in mysterious ways! :upside_down_face:

Nuclear energy ‘not the answer’ to Australia’s power price hikes

with Dr Switkowski saying last year “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed” and that nuclear power is no longer cheaper than renewables, with costs rapidly shifting in favour of renewables.

Also a link from which the ISA report the subject of the prior discussion can be found. It is a downloadable PDF. For general interest plus, 107 pages.

Titled: Modernising Electricity Sectors, A guide to long-run investment decisions. Discussion Paper - June 2019. (nothing overtly Nuclear in the title)

P.S. (new content added)
Having one quick read of the report it might need another 100 pages to critique it!
A one line assessment suggests it is all too easy for reporters to grab a ‘sound bite’ and present it without context. It is worse when comparison as written in the report serves only to present an unrealistic possibility. The report in full suggests so! (Sorry three lines.)

As a more general note Industry Super Australia has 15 members, with Australian Super one such member. Their opening web page

If as a member of ISA Australian Super wanted a discussion paper - they certainly know how to get the attention of a wider audience. I’d call this starting on the back foot!


Imagine if it turns out to be cheaper;
Imagine if it turns out that, investing in rooftop generation and domestic storage and/or participating in demand management, consumers can actually turn a profit;
Imagine if it turns out not to matter.


Numbers like that will be more meaningful when the stock of nuclear power generators runs down.

Lots of numbers for those who are still on the nuclear bandwagon:


Even though temperatures and carbon dioxide in tne atmosphere have increasing for many decades, so has the quality and yields of agricultural crops. A recent conference in Brisbane discussed the use of generic modification technologies to continue this trend into the future…

GM technologies allows researchers to circumvent traditional breeding methods which can take a long time allowing new plant hydrids which perform better with higher yields and nutritional quality in drier, wetter, hotter, higher CO2 etc environments as a result of climate change.

To embrace such technologies, there may need to be a shift in the communities perceptions of GMO.


Would more GM be a good outcome in all circumstances?

Firstly it serves the vested interests of the agricultural seed producers. GM varieties can be developed that are not virile, protecting the patent and ensuring dependence. There may be an ongoing role for GM, however the prospect of total reliance deserves challenge.

Maintaining diversity may be more important than simply relying on large multinationals?

Perhaps some production needs to be reassessed and totally different crops or uses made of agricultural land rather than trying to keep things the same? That of course assumes failure in the face of climate change is inevitable?

For all GM offers it seems unlikely we will be growing lettuce on the salt pans west of Menindee any time soon? :joy:

What ever the outcome the report suggests agricultural production is likely to become more expensive due to lower yields or more expensive cropping practices, in response to negative climate outcomes.


Remarkable that incessant demands to delay action on climate change accompany calls to rush in to the likes of nuclear and GMOs. I know, I know; genetic manipulation is perfectly safe, nuclear power is too cheap to meter and nothing can possibly go wrong. The inconsistency is intriguing though.

Meanwhile, we might have to reconsider flying - at least until intercontinental electric aviation becomes a reality.


One should possibly read the IPCC reports. The IPCC being recognised as the leading world agency for climate change, mitigation and adaption. This organisation also guides government, business (inc. investment) and international agreements in relation to climate change, its mitigation and adaption.

The IPCC recognises that climate change can’t be prevented as it has already commenced (over the last half century or so). It recognises the transition of low carbon sources of energy. In its current report chapter Mitigation Pathways Compatible with 1.5°C in the Context of Sustainable Development. In relation to nuclear, it has assessed the contribution nuclear could make to future energy to meet a maximum increase of 1.5°C.In relation to modelling pathways, these pathways have assumed:

1. growth in the share of energy derived from low-carbon-emitting sources (including renewables, nuclear and fossil fuel with CCS) and a decline in the overall share of fossil fuels without CCS,
2. rapid decline in the carbon intensity of electricity generation simultaneous with further electrification of energy end-use, and
3. the growth in the use of CCS applied to fossil and biomass carbon in most 1.5°C pathways.

The IPCC also recognises that there is uncertainties associated with the use of nuclear due ‘to uncertainties in technological development and strategic mitigation portfolio choices’. It has not dismissed this technology to achieve a maximum 1.5°C increase.

The IPCC has also used many reports and forecasts of world leading experts to come to the above statements.

While nuclear is not acceptable in Australia, it is recognised in many countries as part of their solution to reduce their carbon emissions. The UK government, for example, is using its nuclear energy (and building additional generating capacity) in attempt to meet their reduction targets.

The US Government Energy Information Administration also states:

" Nuclear power reactors do not produce direct carbon dioxide emissions

Unlike fossil fuel-fired power plants, nuclear reactors do not produce air pollution or carbon dioxide while operating. However, the processes for mining and refining uranium ore and making reactor fuel all require large amounts of energy. Nuclear power plants also have large amounts of metal and concrete, which require large amounts of energy to manufacture. If fossil fuels are used for mining and refining uranium ore, or if fossil fuels are used when constructing the nuclear power plant, then the emissions from burning those fuels could be associated with the electricity that nuclear power plants generate."

Nuclear energy generation however has traditionally had embodied/embedded carbon through mining and use of carbon intensive building materials. With the transition to a low carbon energy source int he future, the amount of embodied/embedded energy in such building materials and through mining will decrease substantially.

There are also risks associated with the use of nuclear power. Some of these risks have been evident in some notable nuclear accidents such as Three Mile Island (human error), Chernobyl (human error and poor construction standards) and Fukushima Daiichi (building a reactor in a high risk earthquake and tsunami prone area). There have also been 450 nuclear reactors, which generate over 11% of the world’s electricity, which have not had preventable events like those outlined above.

The contribution of nuclear power to the world’s electricity generation is acknowledged by the IPCC and there are many countries which are constructing and/or are planning to construction nuclear generation plants in the future. These countries are developing their own low-carbon-emitting generation, which includes nuclear, and has done so in the believe that it is the most cost effective solutions and to meet future demands and community expectations.

I believe that even if Australia chooses not to adopt nuclear energy in the future, nuclear should be evaluated and discussed. It needs to be considered when a detailed look into what Australia’s future energy mix may look like when transitioning to a low-carbon-emitting electricity sources. Currently, nuclear is removed from any such discussion before such discussions occur.

In relation to genetic and other innovative agricultural technologies, the IPCC recognises in its report chapter Strengthening and Implementing the Global Response states:

Technological innovation could assist in increased agricultural efficiency (e.g., via precision agriculture), decrease food wastage and genetics that enhance plant adaptation traits (Section 4.4.4). Technological and associated management improvements may be ways to increase the efficiency of contemporary agriculture to help produce enough food to cope with population increases in a 1.5°C warmer world, and help reduce the pressure on natural ecosystems and biodiversity.

The IPCC recognises the use of genetic and other innovative agricultural technologies to allow adaption to climate change, in particular is temperatures increase to a maximum 1.5°C.

There are many (armchair) experts who publish their own opinion pieces in relation to what should be done on climate change. These opinion pieces and research are very narrow in focus and don’t necessary have a holistic approach to climate change, its mitigation and adaption, This is one of the key benefits of the IPCC’s establishment as it is able to take recognised research, review, sift through discrepancies and findings and provide a general consensuses and policy directions for governments and the international community.

It appears from the above (and the associated reports) that the IPCC falls into this definition as they both acknowledge the contribution of nuclear energy to climate change mitigation as a low-carbon-emitting source and agricultural genetic technologies for human climate change adaptation. One would need to be a very brave person to think that the IPCC has some sort of plans to delay climate change. This lies in the realms of conspiracy theories and shows the nonsense of such arguments.

As a consumer, I would like to see that the government makes the most appropriate decision in relation to meet our future energy needs, and not stick it’s head in the sand or dismiss any one technology (or adopt one at the expense of another without a holistic assessment) before it is fully and appropriately evaluated. Dismissing such technologies may limit future opportunities and thus increase costs or lower standard of living for all Australians.


Something our Government appears to choose wilfully to ignore.

Which makes any further discussion seem even less relevant to the topic.

Perhaps this demonstrates that one of the significant Effects of Climate Change on the Consumer is the impacts of disruptive political division and uncertainty.

The need for bipartisanship in parliament would appear most critical to delivering the best Climate Change outcomes and certainty for consumers.

The positive outcomes are easily demonstrated by this graph of GHG emissions in the UK since 1991.

Another effect on the consumer, a personal one, is that it is embarrassing to post the equivalent Australian graph.
And of note the reduction in the UK is not a consequence of Nuclear Generation. The 44% reduction which dwarfs Australia’s commitments of 28-28% reduction for 2030 has come by every other means.


Well said @mark_m :+1:


As a responsible adult, I would like to leave the planet in the best possible condition for future generations.

Nuclear and the potential for renewables have been done to death in this thread and elsewhere.

My favourite cogent comment is not on nuclear at all:

Nuclear power is at that point. Nuclear fission has its uses; generating power into a domestic electricity grid isn’t one of them. There comes a time when continuing to argue begins to look psychotic.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the states are doing what the Commonwealth should:

For the consumer; there might be short-term costs, but there’s the promise of far cheaper power in future.