Topics of the day: Terii Vallaux, feed-in-tariff, petrol subsidies (?!?), children’s home, Roti
Today we met Terii Vallaux again and finally got to ask our touchy questions. Apparently the feed-in-tariff is applicable and working – for everyone in Ra’iatea and all the rest of French Polynesia… He admitted that it is slightly challenging to see through the matter of the 40-odd-page document, one has to read and fill in to get EDT to buy back the current fed into the grid from the photovoltaic panels (smells like a severe form of redtapism). And apparently the text wasn’t made for the man on the street – it just needs to be understood by the technical firm installing the panels (like Tenesol (Total & EDF Groups – no comment) which seems to be the most popular one here)… but they are planning on meeting up with EDT in order to make things easier for the small scale electricity suppliers (PV-panel owners).
When we enquired why the feed-in-tariff was only valid for panels installed up until the end of December 2010 (and there is no indication if and how well current fed into the grid by the public will be financially compensated) Terii justified this by stating that the world production of PV-panels increases by 30% every year (Wikipedia says 48% – who offers more? Going once, going twice… sold to the man in the green suit!) and they wanted to see how the prices develop (which seems like a fairly sensible idea for the government (budget-wise) but doesn’t really give people a lot of time to plan ahead). Rumor has it that PV-technology will be competitive(at least in these sunny latitudes) by 2015…
Terii casually mentioned that the “Service énergie” was (or had been (maybe by the last government (?)) – brain = sieve with big holes) established just for show, to calm down the population (who doesn’t seem to be ready to demand an account from their government anyway – like in many countries) but now they’re actually working (hopelessly short staffed).
I think I mentioned earlier that the petrol price here is fixed by the government (so that the fluctuations (should) smooth out themselves) but now that the price isn’t increased – the government will be subsidizing the petrol consumption in the future (what?!) and EDT gets an extra special deal from the government for being so kind and supplying the Polynesians with lovely clean energy (from petrol power plants!). The more I learn the less I want to know… I probably misunderstood something here (I hope)!
Raphael asked whether Terii (or his department) would be interested in sponsoring a translation (into French) of his thesis when it’s ready (since it will include transport (unlike the PPI (“Programmation Plurianuelle des Investissements” of the Service de l’Energie et des Mines) which they kindly shared with us) – and he’ll be using some innovative software for modeling the RE-mix).
My dad would now say: It smells better when you peed on it yourself… but Terii made a phone call (to find out if the government has a translator who can cope with technical things written in German – it turns out they don’t (what a surprise)) and then tried to convince me to translate the thing into English (I’m not sure I’m capable of that – almost 200 pages in all the spare time I’ll have when I get back to Dundee, trying to catch up on the course content covered in the first two weeks I of my 5th semester (which I will miss thanks to our project)). I hope Raphael will produce a paper that won’t just end up in some drawer but will actually help free (at least a proportion of) mankind from fossil fuel slavery (what a lurid sentence :)!
In the afternoon I went to a children’s home across the road (had seen some children playing in the inner courtyard of a building below us – it’s a good thing we have such a magnificent view from the posh skyscraper we’re living in at the moment) – the concierge of the building who taught me some words in Tahitian (but then started commenting on my “shell” – which made me flee from the roof – can’t wait to get back to Europe where white skin and blond hair aren’t anything special) had told me that the children living in this catholic institution (which is financed by the government) come from social hot spots (there are quite a few people (parents) with drug and alcohol problems – negligence: yet another symptom which can’t be treated without eradicating… the root (lets blame the flawed system (again)!)). On the weekends the kids get to go home or visit other members of the family willing to look after them. I must say the children were relatively well behaved and seemed to have formed a good social network – but they were literally screaming for attention (I was cut to the quick – having grown up in such a sheltered home myself). I had actually expected something totally different (had popped in earlier the nun in charge of the children’s home had introduced me to the person who apparently does environmental education with the kids) – we sang Christian songs and played ball games – but when it was time for me to leave, one of the little girls wouldn’t let go of me and a boy waved goodbye and said “see you next Wednesday!” – I guess that means I’m going back 🙂
In the evening Raphael and I cooked dinner over at Roti’s and talked about our bike action a bit.
Final thoughts of the day: One day I am totally convinced of an idea and the next day someone shakes the newly built foundation of my limited knowledge – I am too easily excited without knowing all the technical (and economic) details…
I wonder if this is the right platform to comment on the drinking problems of a certain politician…
Kids deserve more attention – they’re the essence of life!