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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Does South Africa need another wealth tax?

Dear Editor

​On Thursday 1st October, ​
World-renowned French economist Thomas Piketty
​, who gave the annual Nelson Mandela Foundation lecture, said
 that South Africa should have
​a​
 wealth tax!

The South African tax payer (rich person and corporate) is already paying more than they should for electricity, water, sewerage, rates, petrol, etc, to cross-subsides the poor
​(non-
taxpayer
​)​
.

If our government wasn't wasting money, then perhaps more tax and a higher VAT rate would help, but Medupi Coal Power Station should have cost R79 billion and is currently costing in excess of R150 billion.

It is also five years behind schedule. And up to one million people would have jobs if Medupi was complete, and they would contribute massively to tax income in South Africa.

Furthermore, the loss of income for Eskom not being able to supply electricity is R2 million per hour, and assuming that 1/3rd of the revenue is
​vat​
able, then the VAT revenue
​ loss​
 is about R90,000 per hour.

So let's focus on where we can earn and save the most and stop taxing the rich.

For every hour that Medupi is late, it is costing the country R2 million, just in electricity revenue, and it is currently costing the country 15% of its GDP. 15% of South Africa's GDP is R84 million per hour!

Another reason the Gini-coefficient (the measure of the wealth gap) is getting bigger is because of South Africa's grant policy where it is easier for people not to work and receive free (already paid by the rich) education, health benefits, electricity, water, subsidised transport, retirement income, training, subsidised food (e.g. non
​vat​
able items) etc.

Poor education means that school leavers cannot find jobs in a technical world.

And this 21st Century world is "flat" (see Thomas Friedman's book "Hot, Flat and Crowded"), where is easy for anyone even far from the grids to compete as long as they have technical knowledge and an internet connection.

Off-grid electricity is easy now with renewable energy and so rural Indians and others can find work all over the world, with a laptop, renewable energy, a satellite dish, and an internet connection. They are also healthier than city dwellers with less pollution, less polluted minds, healthier bodies, and a better ability to get the job done.

And South African miners go on strike so often that it is becoming easier not to mine! For example, to use renewable energy, and other man
​-​
made alternatives to the stuff that comes out of the ground!

One reason the Rand is depreciating so quickly is because our inflation is probably amongst the highest in the world. A reason for this is because the rich get 15% increases per annum in taxation (electricity, water, etc), whilst the poor get 0%. This makes it easy to fiddle the inflation numbers. Zero Rand for 18 million people receiving grants + 15% increases for 3 million taxpayers and one can see the problem.

So:

  • we need much more efficient use of our existing taxation
  • we need our new power stations to be completed
  • we need people to be employed and to start paying tax and VAT
  • we need an education system that works and produces 21st century minds, not 19th century minds, and
  • we need an elimination of huge wastage, especially wastage in electricity provision, in infrastructure, in our national airline, and an elimination of corruption in government and business.
​And we definitely do not need another wealth tax!​

​Yours faithfully

Letter in Cape Times 28th December 2015: "Year of the battery"

2016 will be the year of the battery, when Elon Musk uses his marketing and investment muscle to make battery usage widely used in home and commercial scale energy systems.

Embedded storage is just as important as embedded energy. Embedded means that the energy and storage is produced at the point of consumption, and it also means that if there is a fault at a large-scale nuclear or coal or hydro-electric or solar or wind power station, or on the electrical distribution network, that the embedded generators and storage can come into use.

Many parts of the US have realised how important embedded generation and storage is on their grids, especially in light of recent extreme weather events that they have been experiencing.

This makes our electrical grids much more resilient, increases security of supply and brings down the cost of production overall as our grids become more effective and efficient and because there is a lot less mismanagement of funds due to almost no possibility of corruption.

Our water grids already have embedded water in the form of peoples' pools and many 5 000 litre water tanks I see sprouting up in peoples' gardens and with pool covers and systems to make this water drinkable, the pools become much more effective and efficient at reducing the risk of drought and its associated effects.

Some pundits suggest that 30 percent of food is already grown in cities. This means that our food grids are becoming more resilient as well as the water and electricity grids, and therefore we should start seeing reductions in our cost of living over the next few years.

This cost of living is not only to ourselves, financially, but also to our planet, environmentally.

One should note that while Elon Musk has made the PowerWall well known world wide, it isn't the only battery that is available, although he is working hard to bring the price of lithium ion down.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Free electricity

Germany’s wind farms are now producing so much electricity they are paying users to take it - Democratic Underground
Comments
David Lipschitz The profit in free energy is a fast growing economy, job growth, taxation growth. Our politicians can't see this.
LikeReplyJust now
David Lipschitz Oh, and they could use the free energy to desalinate water, or make hydrogen and methane, or pumped storage, etc.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A clean future for our world?

Its a real pity South Africa and other countries can't see a clean future, with much less corruption and must faster economic growth:

How can VW fix its tDi problems?

Elon Musk comes up with an innovative idea for dealing with the VW diesel emissions.

Instead of fixing the existing cars, VW must sell electric cars. There will be a far faster reduction in emissions this way!

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1101478_ignore-vw-diesels-make-company-sell-electric-cars-tesla-ceo-musk-44-others

Thursday, December 17, 2015

2016: When eveyone finally owns the means of production

2016 is upon us.

2016 is the time when everyone finally starts owning the means of production. The biggest mine in the world. The sun. The sun, which creates solar energy and wind energy and everything.

2016 is the time of phones that don't connect to anything and which can be powered by the sun, smart phones (computers in our hands), Twitter, Facebook, Google, TweetDeck, LinkedIn, about.me,  free wireless internet all over the place, fast and cheap ADSL, working from anywhere, the iPad, Skype, communications for free with anyone anywhere in the world, and who knows maybe in the multi-verse.

2016 is the time of scaleability, where homeowners and roof top owners will start owning the electricity grid in 2016. We will install systems that interact with the grid, and we will grow these systems without fraud and without corruption and the systems will be delivered in the time we say they'll be delivered.

For the first time in history, the people will really own the source of production, electricity. And when this is cheap enough, we'll use our excess electricity to take water out of the air and out of the sea, and when we can do that, we'll grow our own crops, and when we can do that, we'll make our own clothes, and when we can do that, we do what we want to do every day. If that means just tending our gardens, that's fine. If it means trading with people in our "flat world" on the other side of the world, from the comfort of our homes, so be it.

In 2016, the super-fast (communication), super-cheap, age is upon us. Communication centres will open. Satellite offices will become the norm, where people who can't work from home for whatever reason, will commute short distances to satellite offices, which will be integrated with fibre-optic connections to their main offices. These satellite offices will have video conferencing, board rooms, snooze rooms, coffee bars, pause areas, gyms, and they will be fun, just like Google and other offices are fun places to be and to spend our time.

In 2016, we will realise that time is our most valuable asset, and we will stop wasting it. If we are going to spend it we should do it wisely. Not sitting in carbon-monoxide fume traffic for hours on end, or paying e-tolls so that some overseas investors can get rich.

The time for mass exploitation is at an end.

In 2016, people will take ownership for themselves and the start of the end of mass apathy will be over. Our societies will be freer, with less crime, more jobs, more happy people, more localisation, and more fun. And a lot more local taxation, because of more employment, and more local businesses starting up, so that government can pay for all the things that we need, like communications, and an easy place to do business, so that we can enjoy our lives more. And this without borrowing and having to pay off international debts for 40 years.

The sleeping population of South Africa is slowly waking up. And when we wake up, and when we become conscious to our incredible, abundant planet, and our incredible, abundant energies.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

2016: The beginning of the Prosumer Age

A consumer consumes things.

A producer produces things and often owns the means of production.

A prosumer is someone who can produce and consume, for example for the first time in history the poor and middle class can own the means of production, e.g. making electricity, desalinating water, etc, a lot cheaper than we can buy it from others.

We will all realise at some point that we can do this once our consciousness is raised. Until then we will continue in the consumer culture where we think that cars and other fancy stuff are more important than owning the means of production.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Windhoek City Announced Water Crisis

Just a day after the City of Cape Town announced the start of water rationing, pretty much by the possible doubling of water prices, Windhoek City announces water crisis.

Pool covers mandatory. Pools not allowed to be filled. I agree with the pool covers, but I think pools should be filled. Reason: just like embedded electricity generation is critical to the functioning of our grids, so embedded water storage will also be critical to our ability to survive as a species.

http://www.namibian.com.na/index.php?page=read&id=34810

Friday, November 27, 2015

COP21, Paris, 2015

You might be interested in watching my video of Dr Hermann Scheer which I recorded at the Retech conference in Las Vegas in February 2009 https://youtu.be/w_KZ01ps6gI , especially from 3.00 to 3.12. This also remains my view. Whilst the COP (Conference of Parties - a government "how can we work together to solve the climate crisis" conference) conference is important, the world remains at a loss because its expectations are too high. We are, after all, at COP21.

Our minds have become muddled and polluted and the environmental pollution and climate change and "global weirding" (Thomas Friedman) are visual representations of what is going on inside us. I was very interested to see Prince Charles say something very similar to this in an interview this week. I think that the establishment is finally catching up with what us "weirdos" have been saying for decades. But that is the nature of the world.

I agree with Dr Scheer that the COP conference will never create the simultaneous world wide revolution that people expect. However, if you look at the huge exponential growth in renewables over the past 15 years and at graph such as the one below you can see that the revolution is actually happening without COP.



Saturday, November 14, 2015

Social Capital in an African Energy System

My second presentation at the SAEE (South African Energy Efficiency) Conference

12 November 2015

In order to have growth we need infrastructure, "base load" and very big power stations. But finding trained staff for coal and nuclear power stations, for their build, operation and maintenance is proving difficult.



Renewable embedded energy & storage as part of an integrated, smart, energy efficient, grid

Waste, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and SmartGrids.

My presentation at the SAEE (South African Energy Efficiency Conference) on 11th November 2015.

Dealing with "dumb" centralised "push" grids vs smart decentralised "pull" grids. Also dealing with energy waste and spinning reserve and what we can do with this.


Friday, November 6, 2015

Has our education system failed us and let to mass overconsumption and pollution?

The educational debate. Someone just asked me to comment on an article about bringing modern education to everyone on the planet via using the internet and home schooling, and this is my response.

Dear Hermann.

An excellent article and thank you for asking me to comment on it.

This article assumes that rural Africans and other Africans without adequate education (definition to be discussed) and also others in the world without access to our historical educational grids, should have access to the same kind of education that we had.

Recently I have been doing a lot of research in "Social Capital" in an African educational system. Last month, I spoke at a conference about this, and next week I am speaking about it at the SAEE (South African Energy Efficiency) conference in Joburg. (See http://mypowerstation-sa.blogspot.co.za/search?q=social+capital)

I don't believe that our earth can continue to sustain the kind of education that we have historically forced on our children. This has led to the mass consumption and pollution that we see today.

Instead, I see that cheap and reliable renewable energy + cheap and reliable internet bandwidth from anywhere on the planet + getting people to want to remain in their communities rather than migrate to the cities (because they can access the cities from their communities) + an educational alternative which encourages rural town development and rural wealth creation by using permaculture principles enhanced into bringing people into the internet and energy internet age, will solve our mass education problems. I see a return to city states, but enhanced to the point where everyone is "rich", ie has access to the kinds of amenities that we have today, ie fresh potable water, hot water, flushing toilets, energy efficient housing and buildings, readily available clothing and quality, organic, food, electricity, the internet, and educational resources that enhance their current lifestyles, rather than trying to make them like us.

In my opinion, our system is failing us, as it moves more and more resources to centrally controlled units (clouds), and instead of making us interdependent, is creating a culture of dependence which is getting worse and worse.

We need to test our assumptions and ensure that we want the best for other people, and not try to make other people like us.

Regards
David.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

My SAEEC Presentations

My SAEEC presentations:

DATE:            Wednesday, 11 November 2015
TIME:             13:30-14:00
TRACK:         Session 2 – Track C: Energy Management & Case Studies
TOPIC:          Renewable embedded energy & storage as part of an integrated, smart, energy efficient, grid
VENUE:         Romanus, Emperors Palace

DATE:            Thursday, 12 November 2015
TIME:             09:00-09:30
TRACK:         Session 3 – Track C: Mining & Industrial Energy Efficiency
TOPIC:          Social capital in an African energy system
VENUE:         Tiberius, Emperors Palace

Saturday, October 24, 2015

MIT: (a) Milnerton (Mandelaton) Intuitive Thinker

“David is strongly principled and effectively analytic. He approaches each project with the objective of getting the job done and adding value.

“David has worked on both Information Technology as well as Energy related projects to my complete satisfaction.”

Barry Coltham, Client Service Director at Achievement Awards Group

“David is along-standing friend and a creative thinker who doesn’t even see the box, never mind think outside of it. He is no crackpot, but an educated free thinker with several degrees.

“He is passionate about green technology.”

Dr Joy McCarthy, Senior Research Scientist, UCT, and City of Cape Town Councillor

David Lipschitz, a computer scientist and energy analyst with a UCT and Rhodes BSc Honours degree and a Cranfield MBA, has been running a Software Development business since 1994 and an Energy business since 2008.

David motivates people to change the way they think about their environment and shows people that it is possible to live a sustainable lifestyle with minimal impact on the earth.

Book David to help you change the way your organisation thinks: www.vcita.com/v/davidlipschitz/

☝B.Sc Honours; MBA; M.Inst.D; Associate Member of the Professional Speakers Association of South Africa. Fellow of the South African Alternative Energy Association.

☂ We each have our own power stations! Are we using them effectively & efficiently?

David:
Why I was born / my archetypes: Intuitive thinker, programmer, courier and bridge.
☞ "Intuitive Thinker": NT. ENTJ. http://www.thoughtfuled.com/assess_identify.php
☞ "Programmer"​
  ☞ Financial & Accounting Software using Delphi & Oracle.
  ☞ Incentive & Loyalty Software Development & Innovation at Achievement Awards Group ◉.
  ☞ Changing the way organisations think.
  ☞ Embedded Generation & Embedded Storage Expert.
☞ "Courier"​: Not scared of delivering messages people need to hear.
☞ "Bridge": Showing you how to get from here to there.

Other interesting skills: mentoring, inventing jobs.

Schedule Time With Me: www.vcita.com/v/davidlipschitz/

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Social Capital in an African Energy System

 CNBC


On Thursday 22nd, I am talking on "Social capital in an African renewable energy system" at the Sub Saharan Power Summit

Good timing due to the university student strikes going on at the moment.

I will be presenting an alternative paradigm where Africa can use its matric students and inherent African knowledge to solve its problems. We don't have enough university students in Africa to follow the European and rest of the world's economic paradigm.

How can we solve this problem?

You might also like to read: 2 billion jobs to disappear by 2030

What I am presenting discusses how we can solve this particular problem.

I don't expect success overnight as I have been discussing this in one form or another since 2009 and my wife and I have been practicing this concept since 1999 when I cancelled all my pension policies, and we decided to look after our own pension and our own interests, which paradoxically require us to work with quite a few other people.

Note my saying: "The rich are rich because they socialise. The poor socialists are poor because they don't socialise." What I'm saying is that the rich talk and share and work together, hence the main reason they are rich. All us poor and middle class people try to do everything ourselves, and we fail, generally.

See my RepairYourWorld BLOG for essays I have written since 2008. Search this page for "retire". Note one of the questions I ask: "Why does there need to be a cost of living?"

Perhaps this is scary for the big monopolies who want us to channel all our money via them. But if 2 billion jobs will disappear in the next 20 years, then the monopolies are out of date and we need a new (old) paradigm.

Thanks for all your ongoing support as I continue down this lonely path.


Monday, October 5, 2015

David's Homeowner Power Station Conference



So after seven years of preparation, my very first self-organised conference is Live and you can buy tickets.

"David's Homeowner Power Station Conference". With a twist. You decide its content. I make topic recommendations and I start the conference with a 40 minute keynote speech, titled, "Load Shedding and What we can do about it".

David's Homeowner Power Station Conference: preparing for a world without jobs.

We all have our own power stations. We have power. We have internal power which makes us who we are. And we can also generate power and save power. And energy. Hence "my power station". Say it aloud. "My Power Station". :) Feels good, doesn't it.

The conference is at the Belmont Square Conference Centre in Rondebosch, Cape Town, on the 28th November 2015. I'd like to thank the Belmont Square team for helping me to make this conference a reality and for their help and flexibility. And I'd like to thank the Webtickets team for helping me with the set up and for not complaining about the numerous changes that were needed as I learnt how their platform works.



We also have potential venues in Paarl and other parts of South Africa and if you'd prefer to attend elsewhere, in South Africa, Africa or anywhere, please let me know?

Registration is from 8am and the conference is from 9am to 5pm. Breakfast and lunch will be provided and teas, coffees, biscuits and fruit will be available all day.

There will also be special presents such as bags, USB sticks, and some special guests have asked to attend. Note that in order to cover our costs the bags and USB sticks will probably be sent to participants after the conference, but watch this space. Any sponsors are welcome.

The basic idea behind this conference is that I attend very many conferences and due to my knowledge in energy and my contribution to renewable energy in South Africa, I am given tickets to the conferences and I speak at many of them. Some of these conferences cost R7,500 per day.



I want to transfer this knowledge to homeowners and small business owners, who have limited time and limited resources. I am very good at taking complex, technical issues and explaining them in plain English. And I intend to help you along your path to developing your own power station and retiring sooner than expected.

I have chosen to make this conference especially for home owners and small business owners and to charge only R750 for the day. To cover the conference costs, pay myself, and make a small profit, so that I can organise the next conference(s), and so that I can devote more time to the Research and Development I do in Renewable Energy and Energy Storage (batteries).

Every participant will be able to ask one question. Some of the questions will be answered at the conference and all will be answered on my BLOG. We will have discussions at the conference and perhaps we will change ourselves, and maybe even South Africa and Africa, and who knows, maybe the world.

Early bird R550 for the day. Early bird available until 7th November.

After that the full R750 fee is applicable.

The early bird fee allows us to get everything up and running, pay deposits, get the handouts, make sure the food is provided, etc.

Including VAT and you get an invoice made out to you or your company. We are a PTY Ltd company and we are VAT registered and our company started in November 1994, so we have been around and we have credibility.

Buy Tickets at Webtickets or email me if you want to pay by internet transfer or if you need an invoice first.

Topics to follow.

Thanks to my brother Steve Freedom for the logo and photographic manipulation work.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Letter in Cape Times: 1st October 2015: Time for Citizens to buy Cape's SAPS, Roads and Railways

Dear all

Letter in 1st October 2015 Cape Times: Time for Citizens to buy Cape's SAPS, Roads and Railways

Regards
David

Dear Editor

According to yesterday's news​,​ "The Western Cape is the most under-resourced province".

According to research I am doing​ on 19th Century US, private landowners and business people built the highways, called "pikes".

Initially they wanted to toll them, but when they realised they could make substantially more money by bringing people to their towns and for shopping at their farms along their roads, the real build out of these "pikes" started, bringing massive investment to the towns and cities along their roads.

Different towns competed to build pikes to bring people faster and more efficiently and with better stops along the way to their particular towns.

It is now time for the citizens of the Western Cape to buy our roads, to buy our railways, to buy our police service and to take responsibility for ourselves.

Our government isn't interested in our province anymore, allowing crime stats to spiral out of control, and my staff regularly arrive late for work ​due to an under​-resourced railway system.

The Orange Free State has a surplus of police officers, whilst the Western Cape has a shortage.

Just as ​EFF president ​Malema says, strategic assets should be owned "by the people" collectively and not taxed (tolled)​, including the tunnels and passes that are currently tolled.

I don't agree with Malema that these should be owned by government because of the huge waste at the centre.

We need the transport infrastructure for business and leisure purposes.

Tolling them is like having cholesterol build up in one's arteries, preventing the smooth flow of people and goods and capital.

This can be easily started with the reintroduction of Mutual Societies and for people to buy debentures in these companies​, giving them the finance they need to buy and maintain the infrastructure that is so sorely needed to keep South Africa great.

Business owners want their staff to get to work relaxed and on time. Workers want to get to work relaxed and on time.

While​ many people think the government should be doing this with existing taxation, we all know that the government has other priorities.

This was the same in 19th ​century US. Nothing new. Local people took responsibility for their towns and cities back then.

Time to do it again, in a different time and in a different place.

Yours faithfully,
David Lipschitz

Letter in 30th September 2015 Tabletalk: "Tariff Upset"

The City of Cape Town over the past two years have chased away thousands of customers by removing them from the lifeline tariff and putting them on normal tariffs! in many cases more than doubling their electricity prices.

Most recently the City of Cape Town have told pensioners that if the house they rent is revalued to above R300,000 these renters must pay a higher electricity price!

In 2009 we installed a solar-electric system and qualified for the lifeline tariff, so we applied and got it. Our average units per month are around 300 kWh (units). Then in July 2014, we suddenly started getting bigger bills.

We had been unilaterally and without warning been moved to the "normal" tariff. Our bill increased from R2,857 in the year ended June 2014 to R6,467 in the year ended June 2015. Our units increased from 3,328 kWh to 3,851 kWh in the same period. So our tariff (rate per kWh) increased from 86 cents per kWh to R1.68, a 95% increase in one year!

Out of interest, the reason for the increase in kWh usage was because our geyser started using excess electricity and we had it replaced under guarantee in August 2015. Something went wrong with its insulation. We found this out because we measure our geyser and household electricity usage ourselves, and because we started having brown water from time to time.

What the City should be doing is putting everyone on the lifeline tariff who use less than 600 kWh per month, perhaps only giving free kWh to those who earn less than a certain amount. Reason? As an incentive to use less.

A person who is renting should not be penalised by a homeowner who has their house revalued, for example to get at capital in the house.

In this case, the homeowner should pay the extra electricity cost!

In the case where a house is revalued by the City, the homeowner should apply for a revision back to the purchase price of the property.

Just because houses of a similar size in a particular area are considered to have a particular value by the city and estate agents does not mean that your house has the same value.

One of the oldest problems in South Africa is the discrepancy between rates and utility costs; something our new government has overlooked, even as it tries to right the wrongs of the past.

In the early 1900's, the landowners decided that the utility costs should be high whilst the rates should be low. Landowners can own huge tracts of land without paying properly for this area's maintenance, whilst the renter has to pay relatively high utility prices.

This secret can be found in Professor Renfrew Christie's book "Electricity, Industry and Class in South Africa". The book is available online at https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=n3WjRrnNqCUC... Professor Christie published the book in 1984, whilst a political prisoner at the time.

Of-course someone living in their own home is not penalised. Their rates are higher whilst their utility costs are lower and overall their costs are the same.

The benefit of higher rates is that these are local to each city and municipality and can therefore be more equitably shared where they are raised.

VAT is also saved by the homeowner as their utility bills will be lower and VAT is paid on utility bills. Of-course big landowners are VAT registered and don't pay VAT.

Imagine the City saying come live in Cape Town where, if you use less than 600 kWh per month you benefit by paying less for electricity.

This benefits homeowners and business owners, and will create thousands of jobs in the blue economy.

And Capetonians will also get all the other benefits, like better housing, no toll roads, better security, more jobs, more electricity security and etc.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sub Saharan Power Summit - Cape Town - 21st to 23rd October 2015

I'm speaking at the Sub-Sahara Power Summit between 21st and 23rd October 2015. See http://www.ssapower.com/

Title: ‘Social Capital in an African Energy System’ 


Abstract:

About 600 million people in Africa don't have grid electricity and the remaining approximately 500 million people either intermittent and / or expensive electricity and energy.

Politicians and others spend a lot of time telling us that in order to have growth we need infrastructure, that we need "base load" and that we need very big power stations. But finding trained staff for coal and nuclear power stations, for their build, operation and maintenance is proving difficult. What 21st Century techniques can we use to solve this problem?

Three key takeaways:

1. A different way of thinking

2. What existing knowledge can be rapidly utilised and enhanced to grow energy in Africa?

3. People as Infrastructure.

Details:

My latest research work is on what I'm calling "A Social Revolution: Staffing the Energy Revolution in Africa". See https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/staffing-roof-top-solar-revolution-south-africa-david-lipschitz

Essentially we have the technology. And it is cheaper than most Africans already spend on electricity, which is more than 50 US cents per kWh for people using generators. Even though many Africans are "poor", in my experience this is because they typically aren't connected to any of the established grids, and because they don't pay tax.

And we have the finance. There is no shortage of international and local companies and investment banks that are interested in (solar) leasing in Africa.

The problem is finding the people to make the 1000's of GW that are needed to power Africa, and get its 600 million people without energy onto grids, and then reliably and relatively inexpensively and quickly supplying the other 400 million people with electricity. At the same time we also need to solve the water crisis and this can also be solved with the kinds of skills we already have in Africa. Africans are incredibly resourceful, but IMHO they feel "out of it" in a "modern" world, but I believe the changes to a Prosumer way of life is changing this.

And so we have a problem convincing people that there is a way to solve this problem, assuming that we have the technology and the finance is available.

Africa's populations are generally undereducated in the kinds of "base-load" technologies that are being sold to them, hence major corruption due to misunderstandings of both the technology and the possibilities. Imagine an Africa with "infinite" energy. It takes decades and millions of Pounds to train a nuclear or coal engineer. It can take six months to train a fully qualified PV or wind turbine or solar water heater installer.

And it can take a decade to build a coal or nuclear or hydro power station. Some of Africa's potential projects have been on the drawing boards for decades.

Roof top PV can be installed and running in under a day. This lends itself to massive and sustainable scaleability.

New web site

Our new best suppliers marketing web site is live:

Monday, September 28, 2015

Base Load Power in a Renewable Energy Rooftop Revolution

"It’s a funny thing, but “base load” has lost its meaning. Base load used to be a requirement for power station builders to build power stations."

Full article on SA Breaking News.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Why no load shedding recently in South Africa?

We aren't having load shedding because tens of thousands of people are installing embedded generation.

Embedded generation means generation at the point of use, or generation that is embedded inside the grid, rather than Eskom power stations which are at the source generation points on the grid.

Embedded generation including:

  • solar-electric photovoltaic (PV) systems
  • wind turbine systems
  • generators: petrol, diesel
  • gas-engines (gas generators)


Even without load shedding, electricity prices are incredibly high in South Africa, and the threat of load shedding looms for at least the next 3 years, according to Eskom, and many more years according to me and the IRP (Integrated Resource Plan).

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dysfunctional Apple Support in South Africa

Apple: I don't mind paying more for Apple equipment, but I expect their service centre to be up to the task. I have a local non-iStore repair centre I usually use, and I will continue to use them for all repairs going forward.

Background:

Apple repair: My 2011 model laptop crashed on 9th August; not a simple hard drive crash (I was prepared for that kind of fault). It was a major hardware issue. Actually a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) fault and Apple has a free repair facility. See https://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro-videoissues/

Monday 10th August was a public holiday, so I took it to the iStore on 12th August. They told me I'd have it back by between 20th and 23rd August. I asked them for a loan computer. They said they'd phone when they had one. They never phoned.

On 18th August, Apple quoted me R10,474 to fix the screen. I didn't accept the quote! I told them to fix the GPU fault and return the computer to me, as my local Apple repair shop told me they could fix the screen for R2,500.

One should note that when I got the GPU fault, there was absolutely nothing wrong with my screen. Two of my Apple friends said to me that they thought that Apple had probably broken the screen!

I got the laptop back on 5th September.

When I got the laptop back, I took it to my normal repair centre in Westlake. They checked the screen cables, and a fuse, and tested the computer for 2 days and could find no fault with the screen!!

I was quoted R10,500 to repair the screen, but when I got the unit back, there was nothing wrong with the screen. I paid my local Apple Repair shop R450 for their time.

We really need proper Apple Service to come back to South Africa. PLEASE.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Staffing the roof-top Solar Revolution in (South) Africa

"Staffing the roof-top solar revolution in (South) Africa"

South Africa and Africa’s educational level and system lends itself to a Renewable Energy powered electrical system. We don’t have the time or resources to build coal or nuclear plants anymore. So what are we waiting for, and why are we wasting time on out of date technology that we cannot support and where local people will not be employed?

http://www.sabreakingnews.co.za/2015/09/15/staffing-the-roof-top-solar-revolution/


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why Uber is important for South Africa



The photo above is from the Uber web site. I hope they don't mind me using it.

Uber is a serious part of my future plans, if I am to do as our government and local government would have us do, and use public transport. I am not a shareholder, just a thinker, and I want the best for South Africa and its people.

You see, in order to use public transport, I need choice. This means there must be competition, for example the IRT (Integrated Rapid Transit system), buses, trains, taxis, Uber, planes, other transport services, etc.

Transportation is incredibly expensive in South Africa. Worse than this, it is erratic, slow, and cable thefts, vandalism and poor maintenance means that one's staff are often late for work, stressed out, and not in the mood to work, when they get to work.

Trains, taxis, buses, etc, are all already regulated, yet, as can be seen, this legislation is unenforceable and in any case, most of the operators simply ignore it! Worse than this, public transport and minibus taxi services often cease at between 6.30pm and 7.30pm, which means that poor people cannot enjoy nightlife in Cape Town, cannot go to the concerts, and our students cannot work late at university and then get reliable transport home.

When I was at university, I was often there till 11pm and sometimes even till 3am. Doing projects. Using the computer lab. Having fun. And fortunately I had a motorbike, so I could go home, have some breakfast and then be back in time for lectures. South Africa has a dire shortage of students and degreed students, and part of this is because the transport services have forgotten about them.

Enter Uber. The potentially low cost transport option for the masses, without the burden of public transportation hampering the public purse! Uber, especially designed for developing countries.

Uber brings the first mass transport, reliable, self-regulated, and low cost transport service to South Africa.

And its vehicles can carry one passenger, if the passenger doesn't want to share, or many passengers, if they do want to share. Finally, another way of reducing South Africa's high pollution and reducing the need for foreign oil, especially with a depressed currency.

And of-course, if someone wanted to, they could easily compete with Uber!!

Uber's next foray is called UberShare, where one car is used to transport many people, like a bus, but way more versatile. When I was in Israel in 1984, there were Mercedes Limos with 3 rows, called Sheruts. These Limos could transport us students, travelling on a meagre budget around, pretty much from exactly where one was to where one wanted to be. I guess they were the forerunners of our mini-bus taxis, except to say that it felt wonderful to be in a Mercedes Limo, rather than a rattly old minibus, or even in a rattly and draughty bus.

Jeremy Rifkin, in his ground breaking book, "The Zero Marginal Cost Society", discusses Uber as one of the many services that operates almost for "free", where its costs decrease every year rather than go up. We have already seen this in free internet access, free phone calls, free movie tickets. And millennials want access rather than ownership, and the Uber service fits this new paradigm.

Although the government believe that Uber and similar services need to be regulated (by government), these services will in fact be self-regulated by social media. Imagine an Uber user who gets in a car with tomato sauce on the back seat, or a driver who smokes, or a driver, who might have been a former minibus driver, who ignores the road rules? These cars will very quickly be virused, i.e. social media will go viral on both good service and bad service, and good service will win. And at no cost to our government in terms of fines, more expensive to maintain regulations and more courts to get people to obey the law. As it is, many people simply ignore their fines and if they are summonsed, even ignore the summonses. Our jails are full and overflowing.

Self-regulation is key to our future. Millennials and social media will see to it!

I would very much like to give up my car, but I cannot because the existing services are too far away or are too expensive. What I would like to do is be able to call Uber and ask them to take me to my local IRT station. And when I get back home at 8pm after a long day, I'd like an Uber driver to meet me at my local IRT station and bring me home. Or I'd simply like to be able to use Uber for the trip, if I am not going on an IRT route.

Our local taxis are way too expensive for this and they don't like doing short routes. And they have regulated themselves into not being able to operate on "any" route, but must stick to their agreed routes, pretty much like the bus system. The system works like in many systems in spokes from the Centre, but if I want to go from "Zone 6" to "Zone 6" in another part of town, I can't go there directly by public transport. I have to go via Zone 1.

Hey App Writers: how about a "lift-club app?"

Or I'd like to walk up the road to a major thoroughfare like Koeberg Road, and simply get an Uber "sherut." I can't rely on minibus taxis to drive properly or to maintain their vehicles, and I can't rely on "regulations" because of no enforcement. And even if I was on a minibus taxi, I might find myself in the middle of a war zone, as two taxi associations fight it out with guns and knives for turf, as has happened in Westlake, Cape Town, causing me to take 2 hours for a half hour journey. They are doing themselves out of jobs in their rush to be "first."

Competition is incredibly important in an environment where one wants to give up one's car.

I need the IRT. I need the railways. I need the taxi services. I need services like Uber. I don't want to take the mini bus taxis because they typically drive badly and ignore the rules of the road. If Uber, and other similar services, usurp them, and they usurp an unreliable and expensive bus and train service, then these service providers only have themselves to blame!

SAEE Convention News

David Lipschitz speaking at The Southern African Energy Efficiency Convention in November 2015

Elon Musk's Top 10 Rules For Success

Monday, September 7, 2015

Activating the solar revolution in South Africa

Article that appeared in SA Breaking news this morning: titled: 

"Dear Investor: Put your money in Solar Leasing to build new power in SA"


Energy Analyst David Lipschitz writes a letter to an international financial institution on ideas for projects in South Africa:

Dear Investor

Thank you very much for your email and for your generous offer of mutual cooperation.

I am particularly interested in getting Solar / Energy Leasing For Small Scale Projects going in South Africa. Up to now, investors haven’t been particularly interested in Solar Leasing because of government rules, but thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of private people, companies and organisations are installing battery based renewable energy systems, or renewable energy systems which do not feed the national grid, and this is legal, up to 1 MW. Hundreds more want to install, but don’t want to have the finance in their bank accounts or in their homeowner bonds or on their balance sheets. It looks like a lot of money to pay R100 000 ($ 7200) for a homeowner or R10 million ($ 720 000) for a business owner, even if the project is cash flow positive from month one and/ or even if the investment means that load shedding (administered power failures) won’t affect the home or business owner.

One should note that the ANC government in their Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010 Update 2013 said that electricity users might install renewable energy and embedded generation with or without the consent of government and with or without government incentives. This is happening, mainly because of the three government “incentives” of overinflated electricity prices, load shedding, and lack of promised electricity supply, forcing electricity users to find alternatives.

Of course our target market would be anyone with a roof and with an existing electrical supply. The wires are already in place. And no Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) or big monetary tendering outlay are required.

It is also good for South Africa, as in my opinion, we should have 426 GW of electricity, and we have 33 GW. Eskom’s own projections show that we should have 50 GW by now, and other commentators are saying we should have between 50 and 100 GW by now.

Whatever the total is, it should be substantially more than it is now, and within the next 20 years, almost all of Eskom’s existing power stations will reach end of life, which implies a massive build out and requirement for energy in South Africa and Southern Africa. At least 100 GW of new build will be required in the next 20 years. Private people and capital can provide this build out at a third of Eskom’s capital cost; and it will be completed on time and to budget and to the desired quality.

We are also suffering from droughts, and it makes sense to use spare capacity in a renewable energy system (and even in a fossil fuel system) firstly for pumped storage, secondly for charging batteries, thirdly for making hydrogen, which can be converted to methane and easily stored and used in gas-engines (generators which use gas as the fuel source), and then for desalination. These energy storage options and desalination are essentially free in a Renewable Energy system, besides the capital and OMI (operations, maintenance and insurance) cost.

Furthermore there are private generators of energy (called Independent Power Producers – IPPs) in South Africa, who have built power stations, and who are being paid for electricity, but who aren’t physically delivering that electricity, because Eskom hasn’t built the Transmission and Distribution (T&D) network yet. The other problem with IPPs is that they are simply “off-balance sheet financing” for Eskom, where Eskom is still committed to payments for 20 years, just as if they had borrowed the money and built the power stations themselves.

Embedded Generation already has all the T&D networks in place. And it reduces the maintenance requirement on the grid. Our politicians don’t like it though as they believe that it will reduce their income, but imagine a grid with at least three times as much electricity as now, and where all that electricity flows via a nationally owned electricity grid. The carriers of the electricity (government) would make substantially more money than they make now, but they don’t listen to me, and perhaps they will listen to you or us?

I realise that you probably don’t want to invest in hundreds or perhaps thousands of small projects, but what of funding a New Specialist Local Finance House or New Bank, which specialises in Solar Leasing?

I believe that you could achieve substantially more than your desired 10% ROI (Return on Investment) for the project, or you could use the surplus to fund projects in underprivileged areas.

I look forward to your reply and to continuing our discussions.

– David Lipschitz FSAAEA, computer scientist, mentor and energy analyst with a Bachelor of Science Honours and an MBA, has run a Software Development business since 1994 and an Energy business since 2008. David motivates people to change the way they think about their environment and shows people that it is possible to live a sustainable lifestyle with minimal impact on the earth. Keynote, conference and workshop topics include energy efficiency, load shedding, and producing electricity.

See http://www.sabreakingnews.co.za/2015/09/07/dear-investor-put-your-money-in-small-scale-projects/

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Medupi: More is less?

Article that appeared on SA Breaking News on 1st September 2015.

“The USA uses three times as much electricity per capita as South Africans, so South Africa should be at 402 GW, but we are at 32 GW. Even if I’m over by 100%, South Africa should have 200 GW by today. So where is this other electricity?”

The roof-top solar revolution

Article that appeared on SA Breaking News on August 26th 2015.

David Lipschitz's story.

“Whilst the South African government created and then killed Feed In Tariffs, they created a new life and business environment for me and many others, and for this I am grateful, as I pursue my dream of making the world a little bit of a better place each and every day I am here.”

Nuclear questions South Africans should ask their government


Article that appeared in SA Breaking News on August 21st.

The South African government wants nuclear power. They won’t be here to see it implemented, so is it fair?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Energy Keynote Speaker

Dear all

Just a reminder that I'm available for motivating your staff to reduce their cost of living, increase their performance, be motivated to share their energy efficiency experiences, and become power stations.

Power Stations in the external and internal sense of the word.

My links.

Regards
David

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Medupi coal power station strangles South Africa

Medupi coal power station should be online by now

9th August 2014 at 15:16, David Lipschitz said this on Facebook:

Just a reminder: Eskom's first 800 MW Medupi Power Station turbine (unit) was meant to go on stream in September 2012. And then we were expecting the other units to come on stream at 9 month intervals, so we should have at least 2,400 MW on stream by now, but we have nothing, and the latest news, from our new Minister of Public Works, Lynne Brown, is that the first 800 MW unit will be on stream in December 2014 and then the units will come on stream at 12 month intervals.

South Africans are being held to ransom by our government, Department of Energy, Eskom officials, and their consultants, advisors, contractors, staff, and foreign suppliers. They are impeding growth and contributing to South Africa's debt crisis, unemployment, exchange rate crisis, inflation, and the possibility that South Africa might be downgraded to Junk Bond Status. Foreign Investors cannot invest in "Junk Bonds" and will sell their South African debt (bonds) and possibly investments, potentially causing a massive crash in our stock market and possibly worse strikes and hardship. But the situation doesn't need to be like this. We can change it.

The situation must change.

South African citizens must take responsibility for themselves and not rely on government to help anymore regarding electricity provision, although government obviously still has a role to play.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Government Actors

Actors in government; I kid you not.

Almost every person in senior echelons of the South African government are "Acting". Acting CEO of Eskom. Action CFO of Eskom. Acting CEO of Transnet. Acting Minister of Home Affairs. Acting Director Generals.

It seems to me that far too many people are "acting". Do these actors have the same responsibility as a normal director? Are the compensated as permanent employees or contractors? Do they get share options and / or bonuses? Are there responsibilities the same as for Directors? Can they be sued?

Bearing in mind they might only be in the position for 3 months or 6 months, can decisions be attributed to them?

What happens if a person in an "Acting" position signs a nuclear or coal deal that binds South Africa for the next 50 years to a particular contract? Should this be allowed?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Join my email list

Dear friend

Please sign up to my email list.

Almost every day I write on one of my BLOGS or Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter orSlideShare or I record or favourite a video on YouTube or I help a journalist write a technical article or I appear on TV or I do work on the boards of the GCTCA or SAAEA or I do software development.

For the past few years I've been writing to you at 4 separate lists:

  • GBCSA: people I met at the GBCSA Exhibition a few years ago
  • Load Shedding Guru: people who subscribed from my Load Shedding Guru web page
  • RepairYourWorld: people on my personal Repair Your World BLOG, who I've been emailing since 2004
  • My Power Station: people on my main email list.
  • In order to simplify things, from now on, I'm emailing one list only, My Power Station. This will make my life a lot simpler and you will get more communications from me.

My mission is to mentor people about the energy environment in order to save money or produce electricity to make money or to protect the environment. I spend lots of time at Energy Conferences and now I want to take the messages I have learnt in the Energy Industry to a technical and non-technical audience.



I have combined my 4 email lists into a single email list and I intend sending a short email daily with a tip or tidbit to help you on your way. Feel free to delete the emails or forward them to your friends or let me know that they are too long or too often. I find that the best email lists are the daily short emails. The long weekly or monthly emails, I hardly ever read.

This introduction email is a bit longer than a tidbit. Just to introduce my new style and remind you what I am doing.

Besides being an expert software developer, specialising in Delphi and Oracle and financial and incentive and loyalty systems, I have become a conference speaker and am now moving into keynote speaking. See my new web site at keynotespeaker.global.

In 1931, Thomas Edison said: "We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. ... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that." Auguste Mouchout invented the first Solar Electric Photovoltaic (PV) panel in 1860.

After 155 years solar electric photovoltaic (PV) system research and development and pricedecreases, solar-electric systems with storage have come of age. Have you got yours? Do you want one? Do you have Load Shedding?

Are you interested in learning more about "Load Shedding and How to Prevent it?" Or would you like to know about "The Mercedes on my Roof"? Or would you like to build a "Community Power Station" and don't know where to start? Or perhaps you'd like to understand Eskom's 1,200 Nkandlas and want to understand what R100 billion or R2,3 trillion means in normal every day numbers?

Or perhaps you are interested in security of supply for your home or business and don't know who to talk to or where to start? Perhaps you just want to be able to speak the lingo (jargon) so that you aren't taken for a ride?

Or maybe you want to know what happens on the other side of the plug in your wall?

If you want answers or presentations to any of these questions, please email me, phone or Skype (numbers in the side panel) me, or schedule an appointment with me: http://www.vcita.com/v/davidlipschitz/

I look forward to interacting with you. There are tons of free information on the web detailing my journey over the past 8 years. You are welcome to read and research it and use it. If you'd like it to be distilled into a half hour, or one hour, or half day, or one day or one week discussion, workshop, conference, then contact me.

Very best regards,
David

Cape Times Letter: 6th August 2015: Alternative Medicine and Healing

Dear all

The following letter appeared in the Cape Times on 6th August 2015.


Pharmaceutical companies say that natural products are the alternative medication, but chemically based medicines made in laboratories are actually the alternative medicines.

Aromatherapy oils, incense, herbs, spices, crystals, healing with hands, etc, are in our oldest literature, for example Exodus Chapter 28 vs 17 to 20 and Chapter 30 vs 22 to 25.

David Lipschitz
Milnerton


Cape Times Letter: 4th August 2015: Alternative Energy

Dear all

The following letter appeared in the Cape Times on 4th August 2015.

Coal, nuclear, crude oil and gas are really the alternative energies.

We've had solar, wind, river energy, etc, since time began.

David Lipschitz
Milnerton