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Ancient Teachings

Genesis 1, 28 says that we should "go forth and multiply, and replenish the earth." Not all Bibles have this "replenish the e...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Renewable Energy 2015

If everything is renewable then we all eat the same food, we all drink the same water, we all breathe the same air, we are all made with the same stuff, and for all intents and purposes we are all the same. I mean we are 99% the same, but until this century we have focussed on our differences.
In 2015 let us start focussing on the 99% that is the same. Let's start helping each other, liking each other, trusting each other, and looking for the good in each other. Even when bad things happen.
Happy new year 2015.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cape Times Letter: 22nd December 2014: Make A Difference

I refer to my letter on November 6 in the Cape Times: "Delivery of power solution needed, but not at huge cost and long waiting period".

Many people disbelieve what I am saying, that it is possible for millions of homeowners and small business owners to work together in groups called embedded microgrids, to create baseload electricity for the grid in the 21st Century.

Well, here is one of the word's biggest companies, Alstom, saying the same thing:
It's time for the general public to believe that we can make a difference and perhaps next year we will start powering the South African electricity grid and helping Eskom and the Department of Energy with the massive task they have to kick-start the South African economy.

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Power Station - Embedded Generation

Dear all

Many people have disbelieved my writings over the past few years. Well here's one of the word's biggest energy companies, Alstom, saying the same thing!


I've been writing about Embedded Micro-grids for some time and renamed my company My Power Station a few years ago. Here is an example of a recent article that appeared in our local Cape Times newspaper in Cape Town: http://mypowerstation-sa.blogspot.com/2014/12/delivery-of-power-solution-needed-but.html

Regards
David

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Become a Power Station

7,843 people have signed a petition to stop poaching.

Only 226 people have signed a petition asking the South African government to Level the playing fields in the electricity sector. This will decrease our cost whilst improving our economy.

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/South_African_Government_Level_the_Playing_fields_in_the_Electricity_Industry/?miJGmbb

If we have enough electricity, we'll have enough jobs, and people won't need to poach!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Load Shedding and Power Failures effecting you? Please sign this petition

To my friends:

I just signed this petition -- please will you join me?

South African Government: Level the Playing fields in the Electricity Industry:

To: South African Government

The petition is really important and could use our help. Click here to find out more and sign:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/South_African_Government_Level_the_Playing_fields_in_the_Electricity_Industry/?miJGmbb

Thanks so much,
David

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Eskom's 400 Nkandlas

Dear all

Letter in 4th April 2014 Cape Times.

Regards
David


Dear Editor

I've been wondering what all the fuss is about re our president's chateau? After all it is "only" R250 million. But our two new power stations, Kusile and Medupi were quoted at R79 billion each, and are currently R50 billion over budget each. R100 billion is 400 Nkandlas!

And Eskom have said that these new power stations won't even include the environmental requirements as per their Environmental Impact Assessments. So the costs are even higher. And South African's have already paid for this electricity with higher electricity prices, and therefore every other price increase in South Africa over the past 6 years! Everything we do depends on electricity. If electricity prices go up then so do water, transport, food, inflation; everything!

According to Eskom's Fact Sheet on Medupi published in 2010, the first 800 MW should have been online in June 2012, with units coming on stream at 8 month intervals. This means that 2,400 MW should already be on-stream and we should be half way at Medupi. 2.4 GW is about 6% of South Africa's current electricity capacity, therefore Medupi should grow SA's GDP by 6%. This equates to R210 billion; and assuming Kusile was also on target, with its first unit coming on stream at the end of 2013, we could assume the additional GDP would equate to R280 billion! Our economy needs to grow faster to create jobs. With 8.5 million employed people in South Africa this R280 billion of additional turnover might already equate to an additional 680,000 permanent jobs.

South Africa is growing slowly because our government cannot deliver on its electricity promises, and it has cleverly diverted the public's attention away from 400 Nkandlas, to one particular Nkandla. A modern economy relies on electricity to grow. If this money had been spent on people power, i.e. on decentralised renewable energy grids backed up with micro-hydro, localised battery and sewerage to gas systems, local coal power stations, local water supply and purification, about 2 million houses would already be being made into power stations thus freeing up this electricity to be used for industry, thus growing the economy even faster, with at least 35,000 people employed in the alternative energy system build, which would last at least another 20 years. So about 715,000 more people would already have jobs in this alternative scenario.

Why hasn't the public protector investigated this waste of public resources? And why isn't alternative people power really being investigated? We have 1 month till our democratic elections. Who can answer these questions? Which party truly stands with the people, with a decentralised people powered electricity system powering South Africa?

Yours faithfully,
David Lipschitz

We have the power

Dear all

Letter in 2 October 2014 Cape Times.

Regards
David

Dear Editor

Your editorials 
​"Global warning" and "Climate crunch" (September 30) 
refer.

In February 2009, I attended a keynote address at a 
​co
nference in the US where the late Dr Hermann Scheer of the German 
​go
vernment, and the father of Feed
​-​
In
​-​
Tariffs in Germany, said that no government has ever changed anything technologically, of its own accord: "Which technological revolution happened because of a global treaty? None."

He was referring to all the Conference of Parties (COP) annual conferences, global climate change talks, global inter-government climate related treaties, etc
​etera​
. COP20 happens this year. How much has changed in 20 years?

People are marching all over the world demanding that governments change.

But there is a much easier way, which doesn't damage property, and which doesn't threaten society due to these mass demonstrations: 
​we c
onsumers must change our buying habits and only buy from organisations which are clean and "green", which care about the environment, which offer recycling services, which don't take shortcuts in their interaction with nature, which sustains us all, and which make their own clean electricity, or which buy green electricity.

And if there is nothing to buy, we consumers must just stop buying and make alternative arrangements
​ -​
 for example
​,​
 doing that age old thing of working with our neighbours and/or communities to make or grow what we need.

This simple change will dramatically change the way consumers interact with our suppliers; and the way that suppliers interact with us customers
​. A
nd when big business goes to government and says
​,​
 "
​W​
e need this law changed to allow us to fit into this new way of thinking (paradigm)", then governments will change.

Yours faithfully,
David Lipschitz

Power and Jobs

Dear all

Letter in 23rd October 2014 Cape Times.

Regards
David


Dear Editor

​There is much talk of the Russians having been awarded a nuclear contract.

As long as the Russians build 
​power stations
 with 100
​ percent
 of their own labour and 100
​ percent​
 of their own materials
​,​
 and as long as they sell the electricity at 30c
​/​
kWh, which is what they've said it will cost
​ -​
 and as long as the Russians insure South Africans for any type of nuclear risks, and as long as the power stations are delivered on time
​ -​
 then I guess its ok.

Note that we have localisation at the Medupi 
​coal
 
​power station
, which is over 
​two​
 years behind schedule and 60
​ percent​
 over budget.

​The c
urrent cost around R130 billion
​, and
 8,000 locals have jobs building the power station, over 
​eight​
 year
​s
. BUT if the station was up and running at close to full capacity as it would be by now, up to 2
​,​
5 million more South Africans would have jobs!

South Africans are fixated on the number of jobs in infrastructure construction, but have forgotten about the millions who depend on jobs because of that construction.

Yours faithfully,
David Lipschitz

Energy Solutions

Dear all

Letter in last 23rd October 2014 Cape Times.

They called it "Energy Solutions".

Regards
David

Dear Editor

In the wider international news (Car and Driver Online Magazine), we read the following:

"Today’s Tesla Electric Vehicle Model S batteries are manufactured in Japan before taking the long boat ride to California. Moving those processes to the USA eliminates logistics expenses and Tesla’s exposure to Japan’s electricity rates, which are roughly twice those of the United States.

​"​
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, plans to drive his energy expenses even lower with an expansive solar array and wind turbines on-site."

I think that this particular paragraph is the most important for the South African government to notice
​.

If it is cheaper to move production from Japan to the USA because of cheaper electricity, amongst other things, then it is becoming cheaper to move electricity guzzling operations out of South Africa, where our electricity prices are already higher than those in India, China and the US.

The fact that our government compares our electricity prices to those in Germany which are up to 3 times higher than here, is all very well, but Germans are prepared to pay those prices because the grid is free, everyone has access to it, and everyone can be a power station.

Germany has benefitted magnificently because of its setup, where overall electricity prices are actually falling now, and where its network is probably the most robust in the world. But our government want
​s​
 the price increases, without giving away grid access.

Delivery of power solution needed, but not at huge cost and long waiting period

Dear all

Letter in 6th November 2014 Cape times. They called it "Delivery of power solution needed, but not at huge cost and long waiting period."

Regards
David

Dear Editor

Andrew Kenny suggests that nuclear is the answer
​ ("The power facts", Cape Times Letters, November 4)​
. I agree that nuclear has helped us get where we are, and although it has been cheap in the past, there is absolutely no indication that once all external costs are included, it can still be seen to be cheap.

The main problems I have with nuclear are: 1) 
​T​
hat it takes 
​eight​
 to 
​twelve
 years to build nuclear power stations; 2) 
​O
ur grandparents said that their children would know how to deal with nuclear waste and nuclear accidents; 3) 
​E​
very time we build a nuclear power station, it costs much more than the previous one; 4) 
​These
 monsters are incredibly expensive, leading to massive corruption; 5) 
​Because
 the time
​ frames
 are long, we don't know if they are on time or late, hence even more corruption.

The real problem is that we need electricity NOW. Eskom
​, its
 their civil engineering contractors, and 
​its
 other suppliers and staff have shown that they cannot deliver on two coal power stations on time, and they are massively overbudget, causing hardship to at least 2.5 million people who would have jobs now, if that electricity was available.

So why should the people trust Eskom and the government to build another 
​five​
 nuclear power stations
​,​
 each bigger than Koeberg, when we know they will be late, massively overbudget, and that they will not be able to start supplying much needed electricity in the next few weeks?

Not only that
​,​
 but Eskom 
​is
 way behind on maintenance of existing power stations and transmission infrastructure, so if they can't build new power stations
​,​
 and if they can't maintain the existing system, then surely we need a new way of working, and thinking
​.​

With Embedded Generation, be it renewable, small scale coal or other power plants, we have the unique opportunity for the people to power the country for the first time in history. Image the Khayelitsha Power Station or the Milnerton Power Station
​.​
And imagine if these people could provide not only clean, green, sustainable, reliable, electricity, but also clean, green, sustainable, reliable, water at the same time
​.​

Imagine if Khayelitsha and Milnerton could remove their need for the grid from 6am to 10pm every single day and
​,​
 not only this
,​
but provide electricity at peaking time? For the first time in history
​,​
 it is possible that by removing ourselves from the grid, we, the people, can give the utility and
​,​
 more importantly, the country the opportunity to provide the electricity it needs today, 
​and ​
not in 12 years time
​.​

​B
ut Eskom and the Department of Public Enterprises and the Department of Energy just aren't interested in buying electricity from the small person, rather preferring to buy really expensive electricity from nuclear power station engineers and their colleagues, and to wait decades for this electricity to come on stream, thus putting the country at risk of all the ills of even more massive unemployment.

Yours faithfully,
David Lipschitz

Renewable Energy Examples Offered

Dear all

Letter in 12th November 2014 Cape Times. They called it "Examples Offered" and I wrote it in response to John Walmsley's request for examples and his belief that only Nuclear Power can offer countries, specifcally South Africa, the base load it needs.

Regards
David

Dear Editor

John Walmsley's letter
​, "Offer an alternative" (Cape Times, November 10th),​
 refers.

What us homeowners and roof top owners want to do is supply the grid with electricity, not only during the day, but also at peak time and at night. This is something that the nuclear engineers and their colleagues haven't heard and don't understand.

After all, how is it possible for a homeowner to supply the grid with base-load electricity? Well, thousands or millions of homeowners working together in a distributed energy internet can provide this level of sophistication
​,​
 and the technology and finance is available to make it happen at a huge economic benefit.

The big systems installed in South Africa, by Eskom and the so
​-​
called "independent" power producers, supply large
​-​
scale electricity exactly as Walmsley has described. Erratically. Varyingly. But not unpredictably. They are essentially designed to show South Africans that
​ renewable energy 
does not work, so that nuclear and coal engineers and their suppliers can build old fashioned technologically out of date fossilised systems that others in the world don't want anymore.

Walmsley wants examples. Two that come to mind are Wildpoldsried in Germany and Tsumkwe in Namibia.

In 2011, Wildpoldried was supplying twice as much power as it needs, using 
​solar
 
​panels
​w
ind 
​t
urbines, 
​b
iodigesters
​ -​
 in a farming community
​ -
 with electrolysis systems making hydrogen and methane, and a small 
​c
oal 
​p
ower 
​s
tation. Germany has 40
​ percent 
of the sun of South Africa, therefore the same financial investment in South Africa would yield 2.5 times the amount of electricity.

And because this electricity is localised, the homeowners can decide which day to use their excess electricity and which days to conserve. Eskom, with their large scale wind farms and solar plants cannot do this, an "essential" design flaw in their system, designed to sway the taxpayer to
​ believe 
that the only solution is large scale coal and nuclear power, with huge, but "necessary" environmental and financial costs and risks.

Tsumkwe is an example of an "off-grid micro-grid", which also became operational in 2011. Until 2011, NamPower
​ was​
 supplying diesel to run generators 12 to 14 hours 
​a​
 day, but they had problems with the supply, with frequent breakdowns, inability to get trucks through on 
​sandy ​
desert roads, and other problems. A 200kW off
​-​
g
rid system with batteries was installed, plus energy efficiency, plus a special tariff structure, and now the generators only need to run 
​three
 hours 
​a
 day, yet the town has electricity 24 hours per day.

The cost saving is initially 25
​ percent
 and will grow as diesel and other costs increase
​,​
 and solar electric costs keep coming down.

When we change the way we think, the answers will be obvious.

How do we change our minds? That is the question. And they only answer I have to constantly ask questions, to constantly find out what other communities around the world are doing
​,​
 and to constantly discuss the options we have.

Yours faithfully,
David Lipschitz

Let us all benefit

Dear all

Letter in Wednesday 19th November 2014 Cape Times. They called it "Let us all benefit".

Regards
David

Dear Editor

John Walmsley's letter
​: "Please do the math" (Cape Times, November 18), refers.

Assuming 10 million houses with an average of 3 kW systems, we get 30 GW of 
​s
olar 
​power,
 about 136
​ percent
 of the electricity available most of the time on our national grid today.

If we include all the other rooftops
​,​
 we get substantially more than this.

I believe that homeowners and SMMEs can eliminate the need for the national grid and/or supply the grid with electricity between 6am and 10pm and make use of the grid between 10pm and 6am, with many of the same incentives that Eskom give to their big users.
​ ​
In order to do this we need to be able to install systems before VAT and before tax. We need time of use tariffs, demand response and we need to be able to do net metering without a service fee. And we need to be able to purchase electric vehicles without the 100
​ percent
 import duty currently imposed. Most of these things are available to large scale electricity suppliers and users. Why not make them available to homeowners so that everyone can benefit?

Why is it ok for the electricity generators and their existing coal and nuclear suppliers to make massive profits
​ while
 homeowners
​can't make 
a profit from their actions? After all 30 GW of PV systems would cost about R600 billion without batteries and about R1 trillion with batteries, assuming one can use the grid to top up the batteries at off
​-​
peak time. And none of this would be for the taxpayer's account, with no need for public borrowing. Assuming a 20 year build, over 10,000 houses would have solar-electricity systems installed every single week, a dramatic improvement over the current situation.

The R1 trillion budget is still less than the current budget of R1.4 trillion for 
​nuclear energy 
and as per the Integrated Resource Plan, even when that Nuclear Energy is on stream, South Africa will still have load shedding at least until 2029!

And there is almost zero opportunity for corruption in these 10 million installations, which have a build time of about a week each and where one can see if they are over budget or over time in a week. A far cry from the corruption and incredible delays and budget overruns we have seen in the recent coal and nuclear power station build.

Yours faithfully,
David Lipschitz

South Africa near tipping point

Cape Times letter from me, yesterday, Monday 1st December 2014: They called it "Country less than three years away from tipping point as pleas fall on deaf ears."

Dear Editor

​Minister ​of Public Enterprises ​Lynne Brown says that we will have load shedding because the existing power station build is ​four​years behind schedule.

The Integrated Resource Plan says South Africa will be short of electricity until 2029. The government believes that less electricity is required than originally forecast because demand is falling. But demand is falling because people are leaving and setting up businesses elsewhere where electricity is more reliable and cheaper.​

​The government believes that the solution is to build another coal power station, to build another ​five​ Koeberg power stations, and to "frack" the Karoo. But ​all three of these solutions are at least 10 years away and if the existing two power stations are ​four​ years behind schedule​,​ and an equivalent amount of existing power stations to Medupi and Kusile reach "end of life" in the next 10 years, then who knows when they will be ready and if they'll actually help the South African economy and its people​?​

​In​ the meantime, because Medupi and Kusile are late, our existing power stations, cabling infrastructure, transformers aren't being ​sufficiently ​maintained and are falling apart.​ ​South Africa is in a crisis of epic proportions.

But the biggest crisis isn't the electricity crisis or the Eskom crisis.​ ​The biggest crisis is that government​ -​ ANC and DA ​- isn't listening to the people, ​but ​is​ centralising decision​-​making at such an alarming rate that soon ​officials won't even hear their people.

I've been trying for a long time to get the government to see that actually they won't lose any revenue by allowing Embedded (homeowner) Generation, but they just won't listen, and so month by month South Africa has less electricity and more unemployment. I've had meetings with the DA, ACDP, IFP and ANC, all the way up to advisors who advise the cabinet.

But we are getting to a point where everyone will be able to make their own electricity economically without Eskom​,​ and then there will be a ​tipping ​point. I believe this is less than ​three years away.

But it will be a huge pity, because people will make their own electricity and the excess which could have been sold to the grid will be wasted, and this could completely change South Africa.

​Yours faithfully,
David Lipschitz
Milnerton.