Monday, 26 February 2018

Repair Your World: Solving the electricity crisis at no tax cost to the treasury

My latest letter to the Cape Times editor.

Melanie Gosling's articles this week and NERSA today (24th February 2010) approving 25% increases (95% over 3 years) refer.

My company has a number of clients who wish to provide their own energy. We don't believe that we can rely on Eskom energy. It isn't sustainable. It isn't clean. Not only is coal polluting the air, mining it is polluting our water resources and destroying our roads. If we weren't in a recession Eskom energy wouldn't be enough for our requirements, so there is no true security of supply, especially as Eskom has not got the increase they wanted. Lastly, in the medium to long term, Eskom's energy is not affordable for our clients and there are already affordable alternatives.

However, most of the clients we consult to are too small to fit into the 1 Megawatt bracket which gets the feed in tariff (REFIT). And the REFIT itself is a farce because the government has implemented a tender system which is the opposite of a REFIT system. The tender system has failed in the UK.

Our solution. We need a "grid connection agreement" where we can install systems which connect to the grid and allow us to feed excess electricity to the grid on a "net metering" basis. This means that if we pay 88 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh), then if we generate excess energy, we get paid 88 cents per kwh. It is unlikely that we will be in credit on an annual basis especially in the early stages of implementation. And this system doesn't require long term power purchase agreements.

However, we understand that the City of Cape Town doesn't want net metering because they believe they will lose electricity revenue. This even though the City has ambitious 10% energy targets by 2020. It has taken Germany 20 years to get to 15%. How are we going to get to 10% by 2020 if we haven't even got a grid connection agreement yet, i.e. we don't have a legal way to connect private electricity supply to the grid? The City of Cape Town says that they don't want "reverse feed" into their grid, but this is a red herring and a way to slow down a process which already works in Germany.

We challenge the City of Cape Town and the Premier of the Western Cape to allow this to happen by the end of April 2010! This is not too short a time considering what Marian Nieuwoudt, the Mayoral Committee Member for the Environment in the City said in the city's Energy and Climate Change Strategy in 2005! All the legislation already exists. If the government continues to allow 25%+ annual electricity increase, its citizens must be allowed to chose from where they get their electricity.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

David LIPSCHITZ reading his Declaring A State of Emergency post

Me reading the Declaring a State of Emergency LinkedIn post, with a few verbal additions and a special ending

Saturday, 3 February 2018

MInister of Water And Sanitation speaks at the Press Club - 31st January 2018

I attended the urgently called Cape Town Press Club Breakfast with Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, the Minister of Water and Sanitation, on a Sunday morning. I think this was the first time that the Press Club Hosted a lecture on a Sunday. One should note that Nomvula means "Mother of Rain". And Nomvula believes that the rain will save us. She is almost exactly one year older than me, and she has a Certificate in Emerging Economics from Wharton Business School and a Certificate of Local Government & Provincial Law from Sweden. She came into the ANC via the Communist Party and her speech and answers to questions raised from the audience reflected her training. Considering that she was the Premier of Gauteng, she should have known exactly what Premier Zille should be doing, but she had no advice for our Premier whatsoever.

I sat with Premier Helen Zille and had the honour to meet a young lady from the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation, who is here for 2 months researching the Water Crisis.

I had one question for Premier Zille, who said "call me Helen". I asked if she knew was a Maximus was? She said it is actually called a Mandamus. I asked her if she was going to use her Constitutional Power to declare a State of Emergency in the Western Cape and she said that she is working on it. Watch this space. In the next week, we are going to see massive change in the Western Cape and it won't be coming from the absolutely no current party.

Sanitation implies Sane (you are sane once you have cleaned up your mess), but Mokonyane and her assistant ran the usual program: "we are working on it; we must form a committee; we have the best people in the world; our laws are the most elegant and up to date in the world" etc. For a decade, since I started listening to this Government Greenwashing in 2008, I have heard this stuff, but no Tachlis, no Action, no listening to the experts. Which is to be expected in a Communist Country that believes that all information and money must go via the Centre. Jacob and Pat learnt their skills in the old Soviet Union. The Soviet Union became the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) with Russia as its biggest State. The Soviet Union changed and moved to the Right. But Jacob and Pat remained where they were, trained in an out of date system and has no place in a 21st Century Distributed World.

A citizen is about to declare a State of Emergency

People should be cross with themselves for allowing this situation to get to where it is, when the likes of myself, Anthony Turton, GrahamTek and many other Active Citizens have been warning of this impending disaster for decades. And please, this is not the worst drought ever. It is the worst drought in 33 years. It is the worst water management crisis ever, and THE FIRST WATER MANAGEMENT CRISIS WAS IN 1800.

Sorry about the SHOUTING / Emphasis.

South Africans and their Government have known that Cape Town is a Water Scarce region for Millenia. Hence why the Bushman learnt how to live in the desert.

And in 1800, "modern civilisation" learnt that the Tavern of the Seas with its Abundant Hoerikwaggo water, was actually "water scarce".

The problem: People are apathetic. They plan for retirement in 30 years time, but they don't plan to be alive next week. Most people are "free-riders". eg in Milnerton, about half of residents are members of Milnerton Crime Watch and the rest get the MCW's services for free. The same with poor people who use the roads paid for by the taxes on the taxpayers.

And what of the neighbour's alarm that goes off and no-one does anything about this, because everything thinks that someone else will phone the Armed Response Company, or will look over the wall to see what's happening. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about this in one of his books. I have read all his books. When my neighbour's alarm goes off I contact MCW. I take responsibility.

But when queues of people arrive at a shop with 40 days of water to go from the dams, then it is these people who haven't been focussed on what really matters in our world. What really matters is living a healthy life. After that it is ensuring that we will be alive next week. After that it is finding the right clothes, the right accommodation, the right transport.

Please note: CAPE TOWN IS RUNNING OUT OF WATER FROM THE DAMS. Cape Town is NOT running out of water. Has anyone noticed the 30 springs coming down Table Mountain, with hundreds of rivers? People are fighting over water in shops and in Spring Road and at SAB in Newlands. But what about the 100's of rivers? What about Camissa? What about the Liesbeek and Black Rivers and other Rivers in Cape Town?

In 1483, Cape Town was "discovered" and in 1652 the Dutch East India Company sent a fleet of ships to "The Most Beautiful Cape in the World" to establish Cape Town as the TAVERN OF THE SEAS, a place for a thirsty person to quick xe's thirst, and to get fresh fruit and vegetables from the Company Garden and the many farms that sprang up around Table Mountain and into the Paarl, Stellenbosch and Constantia Valleys. Many of those farms still exist today and some are even in the same families, or perhaps have only had one or two families owning those farms for centuries.

And of-course the ELEPHANT in the room, the Sea. There are 1.332 billion cubic kilometers of water in the Sea. And Cape Town just happens to be on the coast, next to the Sea!

Many desalination projects have started and been scrapped over the years. In 2005, GrahamTek built a 300,000 litre a day plant and offered it to the City free of charge. That was a R2 million donation and they would have installed and maintained it for free. A hydrological engineer named Ian Neilson, who is now in charge of fixing the water problem, and who has been Cape City of Cape Town 's Chief of Finance for decades, has sat on this offer for 13 years. I spoke to one of the top guys at GrahamTek. And I asked how long it will take to install this system? He said "tomorrow". I said "huh?" He said that the system is in their factory in Somerset West, and they use it as a demo unit!!!!

Premier Helen Zille and the DA say that the Water Act and the Government are preventing them from implementing Water projects in the Western Cape. And that big dams and water provision are Government's responsibility.

But after trying for 10 years to see Helen, I happened to be sitting with her at the Press Club breakfast last Sunday, where the Minister of Water and Sanitation was speaking. I asked Helen if she knows what a Mandamus is? She said yes! I asked her if she was actioning one? She said yes! And then I asked her if she knows that under the rules in the South African Constitution of 1996, she can enact a State of Emergency in the Western Cape? She said yes! And yet this week, all I have heard her say is that we must save more water and that the ANC government is at fault.

A Mandamus would command the Minister of Water and Sanitation to do her job in terms of the Constitution of 1996 and the Water Act of 1998. As Helen has not done a Mandamus, I have submitted one. And if Helen does not Declare a State of Emergency by 10th February, then I will Declare one. I have the right to do it in terms of the Constitution as long as I have followed "due process" and submitted my Mandamus and warned government and all other interested parties of my intentions. I am using the Internet to warn everyone.

Then there is the matter of the 87 litres per person per day day, which just became 50 litres per person per day on 1st February 2018.

Two years ago when this water crisis "started" (note that we knew about it in 1800), this city used 1.2 Billion Litres of Water a Day. Today it is down to 600 Million Litres of Water a Day. Capetonians have come to the party and HALVED OUR CONSUMPTION. And instead of thanking us, the City of Cape Town is complaining that we must now reduce our consumption to 450 Million litres per day. Personally I don't believe it is possible for this city to use less than 600 million litres per day. Nor do I think, in an age of Water-Borne-Sewerage, that we should use less than 87 litres per person per day.

And our water prices are already up to SIX TIMES higher than they were two years ago. And this before the latest 1st February increases, which increase prices by another FIVE TIMES, so THIS CITY HAS PUT UP WATER PRICES BY UP TO 30 TIMES IN JUST TWO YEARS.

The City of Cape Town said that the higher tariffs would be used for Water Infrastructure. And in the past two years, over 600 Million Litres of Desalination COULD have been added to the system. There are plans to pump desalinated water into the Lower Steenbras Dam. There are plans to pump water from rivers into Dams. There are plans to use Table Mountain water the water from Cape Town's rivers. And many of these plans are decades old. And none implemented!

And why haven't these plans been implemented?

Because South Africa is a Communist country, where all money must flow via the Centre and where all decision making is made by "The Minister". Planning committees are ignored. People are currently blaming Mayor Patricia De Lille for her corruption. But the GCTCA already knew of this problem three years ago, when I was on their committee.

Desalination plus using Table Mountain Water, plus using River Water, implies Decentralisation. The same is true for Renewable Energy that I have been crusading for for a decade. And I won the SAAEA's prestigious Green Merlin award for my services to Renewable Energy in South Africa.

There is a way to solve our crisis. It begins with us. We must take responsibility for ourselves and remove ourselves from the South African curse: "Waiting for the future, whilst blaming the past". I invented this phrase.

It is time for Citizens of South Africa to become Active Citizens and to take responsibility for ourselves. And to stop blaming others and to stop being entitled. Blame and entitlement (being selfish) are the two biggest cancers on this planet.

Let us take responsibility and with God's help, save ourselves.