It’s Carbon Night in Canada

Last night was Earth Hour night in Canada, which seems to have taken to this “switching off the lights for an hour” malarkey like a duck to orange sauce. And a red wine glaze. And some roasted vegies. Yum.

(I even had a phone call from the reception desk at five past eight, asking me if I’d like to switch off my lights and join in Earth Hour. My response was something along the lines of “considering how much I’m paying for this room, I’ll switch on as many lights as I like, thanks all the same”.)

But there was a slight problem. Saturday night is, was, and always will be Hockey Night in Canada – and not even god himself could have made Canada turn off its TV sets during the main event, the grudge match between the Toronto Maple Leafs (apparently it’s not Maple Leaves, don’t ask me why) and the Montreal Canadiens.

So it was immensely amusing to see professional eco-mentalist David Suzuki (he’s still famous over here; who’d’a thunk it?) pop up during the first intermission and exhort viewers to switch off their lights – “but not your televisions, I wouldn’t want you to miss the match”.

(I’m sure the companies who’d paid good money for advertising time on HNiC were glad to hear that, as well.)

Obligatory final note: the news over the radio this morning was that power consumption in Ontario dropped by a whole five percent during Earth Hour. And Australia was even less effective.

Update: Nemmco reckons that typical daily peak demand for the NEM (which covers the eastern seaboard states, plus Tasmania and South Australia) is about 21 gigawatts (page 11). They also reckon that one gigawatt of demand disappeared during Earth Hour.

To put that in perspective, though, the daily peak-to-trough swing in NEM power consumption is nearly eight gigawatts.

Special Bonus Update: Ontario’s power consumption increased between the 7-8pm and 8-9pm windows, despite what I heard over the radio. Are the Earth Hour dudes pulling numbers out of thin air?

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