What is the language of Australia – by example

What is the language of Australia? Are we following OXFORD, WEBSTER or MACQUARIE diction?  And, what about a bit Wikipedia too being quoted to explain words not otherwise existing – maybe being invented?

Until Abbott, and particular reference is made to strict language requirements of the Howard era, we were clearly following the style guide to policy writing that favoured Macquarie.  The a recent Australian Government document named Green Army Programme Draft Statement of Requirements Consultation Process as issued 21 January 2014, and in opening statements says “The Department is releasing this draft Statement of Requirements for the Green Army Programme 2014–2017 for the purpose of obtaining feedback from stakeholders and potential tenderers about the operationalisation of the proposed Programme design, as described in the SOR.  By seeking feedback on the draft SOR, the Australian Government hopes to benefit from industry expertise and ensure that the SOR describes the best way of delivering the Programme.”

Note the repeated use of ‘programme’ (OXFORD) and the use of ‘operationalisation’ (WIKIPEDIA). Does this mean ‘real’ language is just what suits?

Or does it simply reflect we are not capable of original thinking today, we just select ‘off the shelf’ policies from elsewhere, language and all?

What is the mater of concern:

As a Noun: Program or Programme?

  • American English always uses program British English uses programme
  • Australian English recommends program for official usage.


Historically, ‘program’ is UK based language, until the 20th century when fashion came to the UK to adopt French flair and words, it was then when the spelling “programme” became more common — yes, the French managed to influence the English and the adopted the French word “programme”.


Therefore, assuming our ‘off the self’ policy is direct from England we should assume you can earn ‘brownie’ points by knowing how to use the noun programme and program correctly, examples:

  • We’re still drawing up the programme for the concert.
  • This computer program won’t run on my PC.
  • I missed my favourite television programme last night.


What about the Verb: To Program, Programmed, Programming?

Did you not know the word program is also a verb? Time to get a little different here as both American and British English use “to program” and not to programme. But wait we can still confuse you:

In American English it is valid to use –

  • programed
  • programing


In Oxford English, the far more widespread usage is –

  • programmed
  • programming


In Australia, is –

  • to program.

CO2Land org has a point to this: Just make sure you are consistent, and government should take note of this – lives can depend on it, as sure as a comma in the wrong place can be totally misunderstood. A good place to start is the government’s own style guide or a rule on which form of the word to use.


Transistions – SME or Contestable Energy Strategies

Energy procurement is significantly different in 2014 than previously. The models for success require a multifaceted theme for the energy procurement process this time around.  What is different is you must manage and arranged the information for what you see as the product, and have them – the energy retailer/supplier, evaluate whether they want to participate.  The critical success factor is no longer ‘did you get the best price’, it is ‘did you get enough participants to respond with a good price and adequately market test your result’. It was so much easier when performance was as simple as input becomes output = price paid, and outcome was the accountant is happy.

Some of you reading this may not understand that the original idea of being contestable was to adequately market test and as the market matured the real cost of generation and supply would settle at the economic point of being sustainable. This point may disappoint those that are building reputations on driving prices down, and that the market is doing as it is expected to do – show maturity of the design.

So, it is time to move on and change the model of the market? Wintelboff and CO2Land org are seeing the Australian Electricity Market and the rules are in itself bringing about change, and there is further evidence most participants in the market are not prepared for the changes. Most of the difficulties are not the will to change by the participants, but more likely to be the extent of the systems required and needed to bring about the change.

Consider that it is now clearly the market is in two different tranches, and when you last went to market the electricity market described itself as contestable down to 160MWh pa consumption, and then below that effectively you were termed domestic and regulated at a set price or reset by regulatory pricing structures and determinations. It was also much easier when you could use the meter type as the rule for whether you contested on price or sought a discount on your tariff with the incumbent retailers. The incumbent was usually your network company and default retailer.

This time around you are either on an agreed price to pay for energy as a contract rate above the threshold of 160MWh pa or seek a discount on tariff set by regulation under the rules of as a small business enterprise (called SME) from 100MWh pa. In the latter a retailer licenced to sell energy might offer aggregation of sites to a contestable size or elect to do nothing other than offer tariff rates.

Another assumption that can be dangerous is to assume as a contestable site the retailer/supplier has an association with the network service provider/utility that will work to your benefit. Changes from within the system in all likelihood  means we can no longer ring our loyal and trusted friend and say can we fix this on one side of the ring-fenced entity or the other and have the problem resolved to mutual satisfaction.  It is now a detailed process. To get a result usually you need to address what they call the asset on a project basis, and computer says yes for you to proceed. If you have previously watched the TV series ‘Little Britain’ you will understand that statement rings very true.

Pursuing sustainable outcomes too brings new awareness, and innovation and the introduction of technology would be assessed according to the business case. Where you are showing success at getting a good price for your energy it can undermine the business case for the sustainable outcome. Especially where carbon pricing is needed to level the playing field. If you have been following that approach you will be seeing with the Feed In Tariffs (FIT) and other incentives being distorted as a political whim that only brings uncertainty to the project, and uncertainty has a cost.

On the point of whims, carbon continues to be a problematic area and the federal Energy Reduction Fund (ERF) is still very much without detail other than a benchmark carbon price will be set by government as government dictates and that price can change when the government decides to do so at its whim. The assumption to be made is that either you or those that you invite onto your agreement might be liable entities under that rules and impact your outcomes.

If we are attempting to bridge the needs of Energy as strategic, tactical and operational, and we describe this as Energy Management, Transition Strategies, and Savings – the need for individual assessment is more important than ever before. Yet, most competitive services are tending to be web based and call centres. This is hardly adequate when you desire to be an energy efficiency centre.  That sort of work requires a fuller understanding of the needs, other than a checklist and dubious interpretation of guidelines according to the level of training or programing of the robot. As a sustainable approach it is likely changes to the energy needs over the life of the agreement is being sought, and that is more than price.  Another way of looking at that point is in medical practice the prognosis will be accessed as preventative (price gained now) or diagnostic (what is the best course of action). A good example can be taken as: You want to introduce solar technology, and you need to know what penalties are written in the contract and will a standard form contract be sufficient to cover this off sufficiently well. LED is another very interesting technology as it can negate the need for conventional building management systems entirely, and that could have long-term upstream effects on current contracts and relationships for tenants and landlords and building managers.

We must take into consideration the balance in terms of energy supply and demand, and the responses must relate to multiples of price, network and security, and even emergency responses. The later because increasing in frequency is disaster.




Solar black spots and Specs

What’s the story about solar – simple answer: It’s complicated. Why, it delivers less than you are led to believe; yet it is very sensible, and misinformation prevents you seeing the ‘real’ picture? Should you buy: Probably yes, but are you fully aware of what you buying? Two different buyers have asked very similar questions. For instance, my friend said they would be free of energy bills after fitting solar – $25,000 later they still get bills! A commercial entity is getting nervous about a $70,000 outlay after having heard that you can expect on hot days up to less than 20% less energy output from solar – the return on investment (ROI) would not stand up on those numbers. The obvious in all this: They did not ask the right questions about performance and reliability, they believed the mantra of free energy without considering what was the quantity of free and the quality of claims. Greenwashing and false claims become the issue.

On 17 January 2014, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) successfully prosecuted and had imposed fines of  $145,000 penalty for fake testimonials and false solar energy country of origin representations. You can find the ACCC media release 003/14 on http://www.accc.gov.au .

In direct quote from the media release is “Businesses making misleading representations can harm consumers by influencing them to purchase products, sometimes at a premium price, they otherwise wouldn’t choose to. They can also harm competitors who accurately represent their products by creating an unfair playing field.”

So CO2Land org with the help of WINTELBOFF went looking for a fair playing field specific to Australia. We found something and while it might mention Australia, we think it is applicable for all to take note of:


The Top 10 Things To Check On Every Solar Panel Specification

The message from the author is look carefully at the specifications sheet, “If the spec sheet combined with the quote doesn’t have the answers, call up the solar supplier and ask. If they don’t know the answers, that’s a bad sign”.

The Top 10 Criteria

1. Warranty.

It seems that all panels claim to have a minimum 25 year Power Output Warranty. I’ve covered how to go thru the solar panel warranty with a fine tooth comb here. But the main criteria is to check that the Warranty is backed by an Australian Entity that has to comply with Australian Consumer Protection Laws, and that it is an “on site replacement” warranty. You really don’t want to be removing the panel from your roof and going down the post office to send it back to China! Plus the last time I checked, Chinese consumer protection laws weren’t that hot. (Note: There are some excellent solar panels, made in China, these days and also some shocking ones – the best way to know if the supplier believes in their quality is to see what responsibility they take for the warranty they offer on them)

2. Cost

Typical prices for solar power systems of different kW sizes are shown here. If the cost of your quotes solar system is substantially less, then make sure you are getting a bargain, not a liability by reading this post.

If the price is much more expensive than those show, then either you have a particularly difficult install, or you are paying too much. Get multiple quotes to check which is the case.

3. Manufacturer

Do a quick Google of the manufacturer – What’s their website like? Is there a “warranty” section? Is there an Australian office? How long have they been around? Has anyone had any bad experiences with them on the forums?

4. Panel Type

Is it a mono crystalline, multi crystalline or thin film solar panel, or some wacky new technology? The types of solar panels and their pros and cons are discussed here. Make sure you are happy with the technology that you choose.

5. Solar Panel Efficiency

Unless you have a huge roof, you probably want an efficiency of at least 12%. Otherwise if you ever want to upgrade in the future, you’ll probably struggle to find any roof space left over. However don’t fall into the trap of believing that efficiency is the be all and end all of solar panel quality. You can get great quality panels at the lower end of the efficiency scale. There’s an in depth discussion on solar panel efficiency, when it matters and when it doesn’t here.

6. Power Tolerance

This is the amount that the actual power output of your solar panel can vary from the output specified by the supplier. For example a 165W module with a tolerance of +/- 5% could actually produce from 156.75W up to 173.25W.

So be aware of this number, as it will directly affect the amount of power you can get.

Some manufacturers have a “positive only” power tolerance, which means you are guaranteed to get at least the specified output from the panel and usually more. For example: a 200W solar panel with a tolerance of +5%/-0% will produce a minimum of 200W and a maximum of 210W.

7. Framing Quality

The aluminum frame which goes around the solar panel is a good indicator of the overall quality of the solar panel’s manufacture.

Look at the corners. Are they tidy joins? Are they anodized after the cut, or before. Anodizing after the cut is more time consuming, but means that the 45 degree edge is anodized too, helping protect from corrosion. Are the panels glued (bad), screwed or welded at the corners.

If looks are important to you – then you may want to look for a black anodized frame – they look damn sexy when mounted in a solar array on a roof.

8. The Backsheet.

All solar panels have a plastic backsheet glued on the the back of the panel to protect the solar cells. A flimsy backsheet with any air bubbles or signs of coming unstuck is a sign of a crappy panel.

9. Bypass Diodes

If your panel is mono or multi crystalline then these are a must. They are diodes that cost a few cents each and are put across neighboring of cells inside the solar panel. If you don’t have bypass diodes then a small shadow on a tiny part of your solar panel can stop the entire panel from making electricity.

10. Temperature coefficient.

This is especially important in sunny Australia!

The temperature coefficient is a number that describes how well the panel handles hot temperatures – where hot is defined as greater that 25 degrees Celsius.

The units of this number are “% per degC”

The lower this number, the better.

The higher this number, the more your power will degrade on hot days, when the sun is at full force! And you though that the more sun you had on your roof the more power you would get. Not if this number is too high…

A high temperature coefficient is a sign of a crappy panel. A reasonable number is about 0.5%. If you can get this down to 0.3% that is the sign of an excellent panel. Over 0.7% is a warning sign.

I’m a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last “real job” was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division. End quote.


CO2Land org ponders the Castrol advertisements of some standing: Oils aint Oils. You can speculate Solar aint Solar = get the facts first.

Then there is the elephant in the room – if you brought junk panels where do you dump them? Are they not still classed as dangerous and capable of shock! We better check that out ASAP too!