Friday, 31 January 2014

22 kilometers going no-where

22 km going no-where.

Dear all

I just spent an hour in the traffic going no-where.

I was trying to get to Westlake. But Koeberg Road was choc-a-block. So I took my usual detour and that was full. Then I took the detour in the detour and that was full.

The Koeberg Road Intersection at the N1 is bad. So I eventually managed to turn off Koeberg Road into Paarden Eiland so that I could go via town and get onto Eastern Boulevard, but the N1 into town was bad. I eventually turned around and came home.

Interest rates went up this week. I guess people are so mad, that they have forgotten how to drive. Interest rates normally only go up when an economy is over-heating or there is inflation, but ours have just gone up because of foreigners selling Rands. And this is exactly what our politicians have been asking for!! A weak Rand to sustain exports!! But this is at the expense of huge inflationary pressures, because as our Rand depreciates, everything for everyone who isn't an exporter goes up dramatically.

And if interest rates go up, then homeowners are suddenly at risk and may lose their houses (ie can they afford repayments) and far worse, the jobs that they go to are suddenly also at risk as business owners who have borrowed money and put their own houses on the line suddenly have to downsize in order to save themselves. Yes, people, being a business owner, especially a small business owner is not easy.

I am in the process of looking at every one of my expenses at the moment and everything that is not necessary will be removed.

There are alternatives, but they require us poor people to work together. We are only poor because we don't trust each other and because we don't work together. In the meantime the rich get richer because they spend lots of time together having coffee, chatting, playing golf, and working out how to make money and have fun.


So if you don't need to drive today, stay at home. Think about the future of this incredible country that should be growing as fast as China, but isn't because our leaders are taking money out of all the things that make an economy grow, i.e. high electricity prices, high water prices, high petrol prices, high transport prices, high inflation, high interest rates, etc. Let's grow our economy and let's be great. Lets get rich together and lets have fun doing it.


Thursday, 23 January 2014

For the oldies amongst us - "The Green Thing" Story

We were so good back in the day!

Checking out at the supermarket, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because Plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologised and explained, 
"We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days."
The young cashier responded, "That's our problem today - your Generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.” 
She was right -- our generation didn't have the 'green thing' in its day.  
Back then, we returned milk bottles, lemonade bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
But we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.

Grocery shops bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we re-used for numerous things, most memorable besides household bags for rubbish, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks.
 This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school), was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalise our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn't do the "green thing" back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have a lift in every
supermarket, shop and office building. We walked to the local shop and didn't climb into a 300 horsepower machine
 every time we had to go half a mile.
But she was right. We didn't have the "green thing" in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's Terry Towel nappies because we didn't have the throwaway kind.
 We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 3 kilowatts – wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids had hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.

Back then, we had one radio or TV in the house - not a TV in every room and the TV
 had a small screen the size of a big handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Scotland In the kitchen. We blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We pushed the mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; we didn't have the "green thing" back then.

We drank from a tap or fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the "green thing" back then.

Back then, people took the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their Mums
 into a 24-hour taxi service in the family's £25,000 ‘People Carrier’ which cost the same as a whole house did before the "green thing."
We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances and we didn't need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest Pub!
But isn't it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the "green thing" back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart arse young person.
We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off...
especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smartarse who
can't work out the change without the cash register telling them how much it is!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Rich Socialists

The Rich are Rich because they socialise. The Poor Socialists on the other hand are poor because they don't socialise. How to solve this problem?

Where do the Rich socialise? Davos, World Economic Forum, World Energy Forum, International Trade Organisation, Government, COP, Trade Shows, Conferences, Institute of Directors, Clubs, Associations, Boards of Directors, Golf Clubs, etc. In many cases the DTI and others fund these people to go to conferences. Why, because they are organised. They share. They find ways to work together.

How to get the rest of us to work together to gain true equality. The rest of us are on the Internet. This is our place for sharing. Lets make 2014 the year of Sharing and Trust. See

I look forward to your thoughts.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

David Lipschitz Comments on the Integration Resource Plan (IRP) 2013 Update to the IRP 2010-2030 Plan

Dear Mr Madingoane (at the DOE)

These comments must be in by 7th February 2014. Please see my comments below and also please confirm receipt of this email.

I have the following comments re the IRP 2010-2030 Update 2013:
  1. The extended Transmission network is estimated as being 2.5 times the size it is now. However there are no costings for this upgrade. What is it expected to cost, for each of the 3 scenarios in the IRP? Have agreements been made with landowners re way-leaves (land easements)? What is the environmental impact of these additional cables? What is the visual impact on our beautiful landscape? Who will own this new cable?
  2. The price increase graphs, e.g. on pages 21, 25, etc, show a rapidly increasing price till 2018 (8% per annum and 16% per annum) and then a lowering price till 2023. I believe that these price increases should be smoothed. There isn't any company in the world that can increase prices before service delivery happens, except for government which has done this with Electricity and Water price increases. Why hasn't this been considered? And what effect will this dramatic price increase over the next 5 years have on consumer behaviour and on investment in an already fragile economic recovery?
  3. South Africa's electricity price and petrol price are already higher than those in Texas and other parts of the world. For example on 14th January 2014, the price of petrol in South Africa was R13.20 vs R8.47 in Texas, a 56% difference. Homeowner and SMME electricity prices are already 50% higher in Cape Town as compared with Austin. Texas, known as the Oil State, has dramatically improved efficiencies by using all forms of energy generation. Why isn't South Africa considering all forms of energy generation?
  4. Why isn't the South African government and Department of Energy considering using Private People to fund the Energy Development in South Africa by allowing private Utilities, private Power Stations, etc, at no borrowing cost to the fiscus and with the possibility of massive and quick job creation?
  5. Demand: The IRP update says that the Energy Intensity of South Africa is decreasing and hence fewer power stations are required. It also talks about the path of "least regret" in decision making thus deferring power station build for as long as possible. However, there is no analysis of demand in the IRP. I have heard rumours that a South African smelter wants to spend R30 billion in South Africa expanding activities. As far as I know they use 1 GW today and need another 1 GW by 2016, but they are forecasting only 800 MW in 2016. Therefore instead of a 100% increase in electricity, they are forecasting a 20% drop. Not only is South Africa losing out on massive foreign investment in our country, we are also losing out on job creation opportunities by big business which is moving to countries with cheaper, more sustainable and more reliable electricity. Why is there no demand forecast in the IRP? Why haven't the IRP planners considered that perhaps the reason for the drop in Energy Intensity is because there isn't enough electricity already and because companies are already paying a premium to run their own backup power, mainly generators?
  6. In November 2014, Engineering News said that South Africa had 31.5 GW out of a potential 37 GW available, including peaking power stations. South Africa's grid has decreased from 42 GW 20 years ago to 37 GW today and a friend of mine said there was a particular day in November when there was only 28 GW available. How does the IRP help to rapidly create electricity in South Africa, bearing in mind that we need the electricity now, not in 8 to 12 years time? One should note that Table 16 of the IRP update says that there is 42 GW of Eskom generation and 3 GW of other generation and 2.5 GW of Demand Response (DR) Available. In late 2013, DR was made illegal by NERSA. We cannot rely on foreign capacity anymore, as it is being used more and more for local needs in foreign countries. And of the 42 GW of Eskom capacity, only 37 GW is available, due to power stations which are past "end of life" and which the engineers won't let run at capacity. For example, Koeberg's capacity is 1.8 GW, but my understanding is that it only runs at an available capacity of 1.4 GW which is considered to be safe. Why isn't Table 16 considering the real picture?
  7. Demand Response, a critical part of any Energy System, has now been outlawed by NERSA. Why has the DOE allowed NERSA to remove Demand Response from the South African energy system? Has NERSA considered the effect this is having on business? Why isn't demand response being done with homeowners, which would be at no cost to business?
  8. Nuclear: The IRP update says that the Nuclear decision will be delayed for several years, and specifically until after the new Integrated Energy Plan, last completely revised in 2003, is completed. Why, then, have the government just signed an agreement for Nuclear purchases with a Russian Supplier?
  9. Unemployment and Poverty is only mentioned for the first time on page 24 of the IRP plan. There is no consideration of the National Planning Commission's report that South Africa needs 11 million new jobs by 2030 and that the only way to do this is to consistently grow the economy by 5% or more per annum. Why has this been ignored? How can the IRP help South Africa to increase electricity provision quickly so that South Africa can increase its growth from 2% to 5% per annum?
  10. Why isn't the IRP considering the needs of South Africa in terms of its electricity, job creation, economic, and other potential?
  11. Why does the IRP focus on job creation inside the energy sector, rather than focussing on job creation because of the energy sector? This is the same problem I have with the Western Cape's Green Cape Initiative, which focusses on jobs inside the Green Economy, rather than focussing on jobs because of the green economy. The most jobs South Africa can create in the green economy is about 200,000 permanent jobs. In the meantime, 11 million other people have to remain unemployed until these 200,000 people are employed. Why does this make sense?
  12. The IRP says that even with "Big Gas" and with up to 63 GW of power generation from gas plants by 2029, South Africa will still experience peak demand problems! Why is South Africa intent on building more large scale power stations instead of piping gas to households thus getting rid of the peak demand problem for good?
  13. Why does the IRP consider "learning", i.e. price decreases in renewable energy, which have dropped 90% over the past 2 decades and not consider "learning" in nuclear and coal energy? When Koeberg build started in 1974, its cost was estimated at R500 million. Its final build cost was R1.75 billion, in 1978, and even taking inflation of R250 million into account, its cost was still 233% over budget. The latest Nuclear build has been costed at between R400 million and R1.4 trillion and in November 2013, the government said it will cost R1 trillion. Considering the lateness of Kusile and Medupi coal power stations, the inability to get the boiler welding right, software problems, moving materials around such big power stations, and other problems, why is it that 36 years after Koeberg, our Nuclear and Coal costs are still spiralling out of control, even with massive government subsidies and especially insurance and underwriting subsidies which aren't available to newer energies?
  14. Why are the nuclear power stations being built at the coast when most of the electricity is needed inland? And why is the government intent on building new transmission infrastructure at taxpayers expense when it isn't prepared to pay to connect the new Alternative Energy producers to the grid, at taxpayers expense, as happens in other parts of the world?
  15. Why does South Africa continue with its centralisation approach to energy when 21st Century technology clearly shows that a decentralised grid is cheaper and more efficient, to build and to maintain?
  16. Why does the IRP consider base load as being only available from coal, nuclear and gas, when we know that recently 1/3rd of the current grid's existing capacity is unavailable for various reasons? One could therefore argue that Nuclear, Coal and Gas are only available 66% of the time. As it is, Eskom's own statistics show that its "base load" power stations are available less than 80% of the time against a world norm of over 85%. What is the DOE's definition of "Base Load"? What isn't the DOE ensuring that Eskom keeps up its standards?
  17. Eskom was founded in 1923, when about 60 private electricity producers where combined into a single monopoly, in order to save costs. Eskom therefore has a 91 year head start with information gathering, costing, transmission and distribution, yet it still wants State protection and still wants its monopoly power at the expense of an economy which needs another 11 million permanent jobs by 2030. Why aren't the strategies and policies in the 1998 White Paper on Energy and the 2003 White Paper on Renewable Energy, which call for 30% of generation and transmission to be in private ownership by 2010, in place? Why does Eskom continue to need to be protected, even with its incredible resources, and its inherent and historical ability to provide the world's cheapest source of electricity?
  18. Why do the Energy Plans continue to use PJ (Petajoules) when the Active Citizens, Voters, and "the man in the street" understand kW, MW and GW? I believe that government's documents should reflect the common and modern usages rather than some ancient and archaic way of measuring things, that the general population don't understand.
  19. The IRP says that South Africa's CO2 emissions can be reduced by building new power stations in Botswana and other countries. Is this ethical?
  20. Why isn't regional integration looked at more closely? Electricity from the DRC's Inga project is considered, but that is still at least 10 years away and there will be huge transmission losses, perhaps as much as 50% of the electricity lost as heat over thousands of kilometres. Why isn't a strategy being considered that looks at massive renewable energy developments in Namibia, especially Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) with Storage, and with massive "batteries" in Lesotho, in the form of Pumped Storage, which is estimated at up to 7 GW of power?
  21. I have heard that the new transmission infrastructure from Kusile and Medupi haven't been built yet? Please confirm if this is true and if so how, then, once Kusile and Medupi come online, how will their electricity be dispatched?
  22. I have heard that the Coal Gas Flue Desulphurisation plants at Kusile and Medupi haven't been installed, yet these were critical components in their EIA's and the reason for building these new "clean coal"power stations. What is the DOE doing to correct and enforce these requirements?
  23. Has Kriel Power Station been closed at the end of 2013? Although it can continue generating, Eskom were meant to add Gas Flue Desulphurisation to it by the end of 2013 so that it could continue generating. Why is Eskom being allowed to simply ignore its environmental responsibilities, whilst holding South African electricity users to ransom? What are the government, the DOE, the Department of Public Works and other Government Departments doing to ensure Eskom compliance with Environmental Rules? How can government ethically enforce carbon emission taxes on vehicles, charge transport companies and aircraft companies levies for environmental protection, etc, yet not enforce similar behaviour on itself?
My colleagues and I have spent R30 million over the past 6 years getting an understanding of how these questions can be answered. If the government wish it, they can pay for our time and we will show our strategy to solve South Africa's electricity, job creation, sustainability, and other crises, quickly and cleanly.

I look forward to your replies and to continuing to help doing my Active Citizen part to help make South Africa great.

Yours sincerely,
David Lipschitz

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

My Story: Creating South Africa's second Utility without any government incentives or public borrowing

Dear friends (this was originally published on 14 / January / 14)

In 2008, the government announced Feed In Tariffs. I was there. In Parliament. Invited by a Member of Parliament who I already knew because of my Energy Research, which started in about 2004.

In 2009, the government implemented Feed In Tariffs, but made them impossible to get. No one got them! In 2011, the government said that Feed In Tariffs were illegal and changed to the British Tender System. In the meantime Britain had just changed from the Tender System to the Feed In Tariff system because the Tender system had failed!

The Tender System led to over-regulation and over-regulation leads to corruption.

Meanwhile Eskom compares (benchmarks) themselves with Enel in Italy. And Italy suffered from the same problems as South Africa. great Feed In Tariffs, but no implementation. If you want to follow this approach, then Enel is the company to follow.

In 2011, the City of Cape Town announced Net Metering which they implemented in 2012 and changed in 2013. And today in 2014, not one person, organisation or company has got a Net Metering system in the City of Cape Town.

The DA has learnt from the ANC. Say one thing whilst doing another. This is called GreenWashing and it leads to corporate and private investment, which then finds that the situation isn't real, and then these investors close up shop and leave.

The DA and ANC's solution? Nuclear Power, Coal Power and Frack the Karoo. Are these a good idea? Do they solve South Africa's peak demand problem? Are they water and environment friendly? Where does the waste go? How much water do they use? Do they pollute? Are there more modern 21st Century alternatives that give 24 hour "base load" electricity?

In the meantime Billions of Rands has been wasted by thousands of businesses, investors, private individuals like myself, NGO's, NPO's, and many others, trying firstly to be ready to meet the demand, then trying to fit in with regulation and then trying to work out what to do to radically increase South Africa's electricity supply.

Many of these people were happy to give their time free of charge, but most of these people have been chased away and have given up.

South Africa is a resource rich, labour rich and capital rich country, with a lot of goodwill. It should be growing at 10% after inflation per annum, i.e. at 16% including inflation. But it isn't. Why isn't it and what can we do about it? And why has the goodwill evaporated?

The South African economy is close to R4 trillion per annum. 10% in real terms is R400 billion. The government is a 1/3rd of the economy, hence R133 billion in tax to government. This is a lot higher than all the money that can be gotten by taxing the things that make the economy work, for example electricity, water, rates, transport. And it can be done without government borrowing. And every year the backlog in schools, hospitals, school teacher salaries, etc, can be addressed, with change to spare and without government borrowing, and the tolls on all South Africa's roads can be removed, as they won't be needed.

If you are interested in these answers, in hearing my story, and learning why I and others are creating a new market for electricity in South Africa, email me and we'll be happy to come and share with you.

I have 15 minute presentations, one hour presentations, and presentations all the way up to detailed one day workshops. And if you'd like a week of my time, we can also arrange this. So far, it takes me about 3 days to tell my entire story and explain all the parts that make up the new system that I have developed. I am happy to have discussions and I am happy to talk off the cuff without notes and without tape recorders. If you want to record the sessions you are welcome. If you want to invite your entire staff for a motivational talk, you can also do this.

Ke nako: the time is right for rapid, sustainable, secure, environmentally friendly and inexpensive electricity generation which creates an environment for rapid, sustainable, secure, environmentally friendly and inexpensive economic growth.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Skype: MyPowerStation
Phone: +27 21 813 9895 (SkypeIn number: reach me anywhere in the world with a local call if you are in South Africa)