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TEQs update - 3 March 2011 - Latest developments, and imp...

Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:37 pm
by Shaun Chamberlin
I thought it might be an idea for me to start copying the TEQs mailing list updates to the TEQs forum here:

Latest developments, and impatience!

Developments in the TEQs campaign continue apace, with the momentum from our Parliamentary launch and huge media coverage showing no signs of abating.

In particular, lots of people are impatient to see TEQs in action, and we now have a team of volunteers from numerous organisations around the world looking at the possibilities for building and integrating software to run the scheme, with the ultimate aim of having TEQs as an 'off the shelf' solution for Governments faced with energy crises, or wishing to guarantee emissions reductions.

On that note, I was surprised to receive an email from a senior energy specialist at the World Bank, who shared this extensive report on historical examples of electricity rationing, done both well and badly. While we are not necessarily in agreement with all of the conclusions of the report, it does provide compelling evidence that there is both a need for, and an absence of, a thought-through instrument to ensure the fair distribution of energy at times of scarcity, and to support managed demand reduction.

The other manifestation of this impatience for TEQs has come in the form of local groups (especially Transition initiatives) interested in the idea of implementing TEQs locally. Now, there are real problems with the notion of TEQs at the local level, but there is also something very powerful about real-life examples that people can visit and interact with, so we are considering the possibility of developing something meaningful, while also remaining in touch with those running existing experiments.

Meanwhile, others have been in touch to discuss the possibilities for presenting the TEQs idea in a TV/film format. Nothing concrete to report yet on that front, but if it comes off it should represent a great way of spreading understanding and debate to a wider audience.

For myself, I have been meeting with supporters to discuss the best strategy from here. The campaign is moving into a new stage, both due to the greatly increased interest in the scheme, and of course due to the death of TEQs' inventor and champion Dr. David Fleming. Accordingly, we have been considering our approach. The plan is to arrange a campaign seminar later in the Spring for supporters and campaigners to co-create that approach. More to come on that.

On a final note, campaigning organisation 38 Degrees are flushed with success after leading the campaign against the Government's proposed forest sales, and are now pondering what their next campaign should be. One of our supporters has suggested TEQs, and suggests that others might wish to do the same, either here or here.

And don't forget our "Help make TEQs happen" page for various other ways in which you can help.

Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:29 am
by emordnilap
That is a fascinating report.

Take both heart and note:
A two-way quota system was finally implemented in Brazil, which limited consumers to approximately 80 percent of their previous year’s
consumption, with bonuses given to those who consumed less and penalties to those who consumed more. Large customers had the flexibility to exchange quotas, which effectively allowed them to allocate energy savings among themselves in the most efficient way. In the end,
the program achieved its targets. Despite customers’ different price elasticities and therefore the intensity of their responses to the price signals, the rationing scheme proved to be extremely successful, in terms of engagement and results achieved. The two-way pricing system, in tandem with an honest perception of the crisis and a massive campaign on how to save energy, was critical in engaging the entire population in the overall energy conservation effort. Low-income customers, solely motivated on price signals, were the ones who contributed most.
The most often-cited objection, that of increased costs for the poor, is as always a non-starter, like the usual wind turbine/bird kill claim made by windy nimbys. TEQs are not the whole answer: they are a vital part of the whole answer.
There are smart ways to deal with shortages. Brazil is an example of an international best practice.

The example of Brazil represents a best practice in dealing with power shortages in energy-constrained systems. In a very short timeframe, Brazil was able to design an effective quota system combined with price signals to entertain demand response. The system was able to achieve a reduction of more than 20 percent of previous year’s consumption, on an almost country-wide basis, for nine consecutive months. No blackouts or brownouts were necessary.

Some enhancements built into the systems, such as the possibility offered to some customers to trade quotas, as well as a well-designed safety net to protect the poor, enabled a broader engagement of all customer categories and a more efficient allocation of a scarce resource. A well-managed process and a constant and honest perception of the crisis were vital ingredients to the rationing program success.

Re: TEQs update

Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:30 pm
by cubes
Shaun Chamberlin wrote:On a final note, campaigning organisation 38 Degrees are flushed with success after leading the campaign against the Government's proposed forest sales
I think you'll have to join the queue of people who claim to have lead the campaign against that!

TEQs are certainly going to be hard to sell to the public. I'm personally not convinced it can even be done (worth a go though) as the first thought people will have is 'rationing' a la WW2. They won't be convinced by a climate change argument alone and many won't be convinced by the need to reduce energy usage to more sustainable levels until they find energy is either far too expensive or unavailable (then will complain about nothing being done years ago!).

A documentary film may go a way to changing minds if it's well done.

Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:51 pm
by emordnilap
cubes, you're probably right viz the majority. Then there's people like me, wanting to sign up to the system yesterday...

Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:00 pm
by cubes
I'm undecided. Personally I don't think the details of the operation have been fleshed out enough - especially how you buy addition TEQ from the market if needed. Is it automatic?

I think many won't accept either the climate change arguement or the reduction of energy use arguement no matter how well argued they are though. Tbh, slapping a massive tax on energy would probably, in some respects, be more effective.

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:11 pm
by emordnilap
cubes wrote:I'm undecided. Personally I don't think the details of the operation have been fleshed out enough - especially how you buy addition TEQ from the market if needed. Is it automatic?
Sort of. You buy them if you've used up your quota. I'm a little unsure but I believe you buy them when purchasing fossil fuels or buy them in advance via a broker.