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Friday, August 26, 2011

38 Days till the end of the world?

This letter appeared in the Cape Times at the end of July 2011.

People continuously ask "when is the world going to end?". I now have the definitive answer.

South Africa has on average 38 days of above ground coal stocks at any time. A coal strike puts this in perspective.

At any time, South Africans have about 38 days till the world as we know it ends!

If there is coal disruption for any reason, most of our power stations will stop producing electricity.

If we have no electricity, we have no water as water is pumped using electricity.

If we have no electricity, we have no transport as petrol and diesel are pumped using electricity.

If we have no electricity, we have no food as food is transported using petrol and diesel and refrigerated using electricity.

If we have no electricity, we have no money as our ATM's and banks run using electricity.

If we have no electricity, we will have no jobs and no livelihood.

If we have no electricity, then our backup diesel generators will quickly run out of diesel, perhaps giving us a few days more than 38 days.

If we have no electricity, then 60% of Cape Town City's income is gone. Why put so many of your income eggs in one basket?

Isn't it about time that we are allowed to take responsibility for our own electricity provision, after all there will be nothing without it?

Investments in energy efficiency renewable energy will seem cheap in comparison to having no world at all.

Grid tie hits parity (same price) with City of Cape Town electricity costs

Much more detail here.


Grid Tie Photovoltaic systems have become the same price as electricity prices in the City of Cape Town for homeowners, if one excludes VAT. Email david at mypowerstation.biz for proof. Electricity for a house which uses 1200KWH per month costs R1.13 per kwh excluding VAT. A medium size Photovoltaic (PV) system costs R1.13 per kwh if borrowing costs are 7% and including Operation and Maintenance costs. If a large cash investor who is earning 7% interest takes money out of her bank account and invests it, she would want to earn a return of 7% or more. She can finally do this in South Africa, 3 years before the Renewable Energy Industry expected, mainly because the City of Cape Town has increased electricity prices so much and because the cost of installing Grid Tie PV systems has halved in the past 3 years.

All we need now is for the Business and the Citizens of Cape Town to convince the City to allow Grid Tie Systems that Reverse Feed the Grid and Net Metering to allow one to buy and sell electricity at the same price. None of this needs research or inventing. It is already happening all over the world, but not in South Africa.

Let's work together to make this City "a City that works for all."

Toll Roads a Blessing In Disguise

As government including cities and municipalities gets bigger and bigger and fatter and fatter, it needs more money. To satisfy its insatiable appetite for money, it increases rates, taxes, water charges, electricity charges, and as it adds new taxes like carbon taxes, fuel surcharges, levies on flights, levies on electricity, toll roads, etc. And all these at much higher than inflation, eg inflation at 5%, electricity increases at 25%, supposedly to pay for new power stations, but actually to pay bigger salaries and bonuses to staff.

As workers and businesses have less and less of the money they earn they will seek alternatives like working from home.

All "clerical" people like accountants, lawyers, software developers, call centre staff, etc, i.e. everyone except plumbers, electricians, doctors, maintenance people and others who have to go on site to fix or repair things or people, can work from home or from local office centres to which people can walk.

This will have a massive impact on the IT, TV and Communications industries which will have a dramatic increase in revenues. At the same time as this, car companies, road repair companies, oil companies, city services, and some CBD building owners, will see a decline in revenues and will eventually become irrelevant.

This is as it should be and is the only way that we can recover from this recession which is being caused by massive structural change and uncontrolled government and central bank borrowing. Only business and private people can combat this. The age of government control is almost over. Governments will again serve their people. The balance will be righted.