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Monday, September 9, 2013

Warning to renewable energy investors; opportunity for social entrepreneurs. 2012-08-10

David Lipschitz, letter in today's Cape Times:

Dear Editor

Alan Winde's announcement of the Western Cape government's "intention" to create jobs in Western Cape is just that: an intention. When business reads this, it invests.

Since 2003, and especially since November, 2008, the local and central governments have been making announcements of their intentions. Companies have invested hundreds of millions of Rands in being ready for these intentions.

To no avail. Whilst government is saying one thing, it is enacting every possible legislation to prevent or slow down renewable energy in South Africa. This should be illegal and it is known as Greenwashing. Saying one thing publicly whilst doing something else entirely.

As an example, South Africa has 35 rules for generating electricity using the sun. The USA has 6 rules.

So this is a warning to any new market entrants. Be very careful with your hard won savings and investments. Many companies have come and gone in the past 5 years. Many fortunes have been lost in this latest gold rush where the gold (energy) is lying in the streets, but where government is preventing people from picking it up.

Although we have an ongoing electricity crisis in South Africa and South Africa's biggest exports are jobs and raw materials, due to lack of electricity supply to convert our raw materials into finished products, government is doing everything they can to constrain the economy by its myopic electricity policies. The fastest way for South Africa to get out of its electricity crisis and associated recession is to enact the NERSA legislation allowing "Embedded Generation" with "Net Metering" and "Time of Use Tariffs" for homeowners. This will mean that private people will generate all their own electricity whilst the tariff structure will mean that people will do everything they can to minimize their electricity use at peak time, ie 7 to 10am and 6 to 8pm.

Technically we can solve our problems. And from a money point of view, we can reduce our electricity and therefore petrol, food and all our other costs, by up to 85% over the next 20 years. These cost decreases will enable massive expansion in our economy so that we become one of the world's powerhouses with zero unemployment and massive government health, education, and other social investments supported by taxation rather than borrowing.

Our problems are not technical. They are social. And until we all work together and trust each other, we will continue in this environment of constantly rising prices.

Yours sincerely,
David Lipschitz
Ph 021 551 9935

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