Energy Efficiency the Answer for South Africa

ENERGY efficiency could be the immediate solution to South Africa’s current energy crisis argue experts attending the Power and Electricity World Africa conference, in Johannesburg.

They added the country should view energy efficiency as “another fuel” that can be used to improve power supply, particularly with the past and expected power interruptions across South Africa.

Eric Callisto, chairperson of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, suggested that energy efficiency should be a regulatory issue from a financial viewpoint, as any investment in energy efficiency was far more affordable than building and operating power plants.

Callisto added: “It also promotes local economic development and energy independence, and holds real financial and comfort benefits for residential owners. It further gives a competitive edge to business and obvious benefits to the environment.”

Project development general manager Prish Govender of Eskom, South Africa’s state utility company, said the nations energy system is limited through to 2013, while Eskom work on solutions to the energy deficit. With the South African government setting a target for a new and varied energy mix to be in place by 2030.

Govender commented, “Eskom needs clear instructions from the national government and support from local government regarding infrastructure to tackle the changing energy mix and energy efficiency drives.”

Callisto agreed, with his experience obtained during the energy efficiency drive in Wisconsin, he felt that policy-makers need to be clear about what they want to accomplish, for energy efficiency programmes to be regarded as successful. Any energy efficiency programme needs to be effective and consistent, with customers and trade allies should be educated about efficiency.

“Government and stake- holders should identify solutions that have proven to deliver savings, as well as energy efficiency standards. These solutions and standards should be updated regularly and implemented,” he added.

Last month, Eskom, in tandem with the South African government and businesses, launched a substantial energy-saving campaign, titled ‘49M’, as they face major supply disruptions over the next couple of years due to rising demand and a short fall in supply.

Picture by NJR ZA

Friday 15th April 2011

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