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South Africa: South Africa is Ready to Unleash Significant Energy Efficiency Potential

News   •   Apr 28, 2015 02:00 CEST

South Africa is one of the fastest growing countries in Africa, but due to its aging energy infrastructure it is unable to meet the rapid growth in demand for electricity. South Africa is currently one of the most energy intensive economies in the world. Efficient utilization of energy is essential for reasons such as security of energy supply, economic competitiveness, global warming and environmental sustainability and therefore South Africa is currently in the process of developing their next National Energy Efficiency Strategy running from 2016 to 2030.

A Strategy to find the First Fuel – Energy Efficiency
South Africa holds a spot as number 16 on the list of top 20 global greenhouse gas emitters. With this position comes a great responsibility, one that the South African government in 2005 signaled it is ready to face with the development of the National Energy Efficiency Strategy setting an overall reduction target of 12 % by 2015. However, the strategy has been reviewed since 2011 on various subjects and the South African government has now with support from Denmark commissioned Danish Energy Management to facilitate the development of a comprehensive strategy for energy efficiency.

The Department of Energy`s Energy Efficiency Directorate in South Africa has a very clear mission to optimize the energy sector by ensuring development through efficient utilization, production and consumption of energy resources. Several, very specific objectives have been embodied, counting the promotion and development of:

To successfully achieve and implement these ambitions, the South African government has - in cooperation with Danish Energy Management and the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) programme for support to emerging economies - initiates a series of three workshops:

  1. The first discussed the indicators for energy efficiency monitoring, the current status of data available in South Africa and how data could be shared.

  2. The second workshop began the process of discussing the targets for the respective sectors of the economy and defining data gaps.

The third workshop took place in Pretoria on 22-23 of April 2015 and falls within the inception period of the post-2015 project to formulate South Africa’s next National Energy Efficiency Strategy, which is part of Denmark’s collaboration with South Africa.

The Danish experiences on Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency has been the corner stones in Denmark’s green transition. During the last four decades Denmark has improved our use of energy significantly using a combination of long termed planning, coordinated regulatory frameworks and an innovative private sectors providing and implementing integrated solutions. These experiences from the Danish Energy Model were shared at the workshop by an advisor from the Danish Energy Agency, Helle Momsen, in order to spread Denmark’s lessons learned and give input to the discussions and formulation of the new strategy.

The workshop gave the more than 80 participants from both the public - and private sector an overview of the huge possibilities for energy efficiency improvements in South Africa and highlighted best practice from other countries on how to set targets and measures towards a more efficient use of energy with key inputs from IEA. Based on these input together with input from the last two workshops, the participants discussed and identified current barriers for energy efficiency and identified measures and targets both short – and long termed within buildings, public services, industry and transport. These input and discussion will be used as input to the inception phase of the post 2015 National Energy Efficiency Strategy.

Current Initiatives and Long-Term Prospects

That South Africa is facing an immense energy challenge is a fact that President Jacob Zuma addressed recently in a speech prepared for delivery at the launch of the presidency energy saving campaign at the Union Buildings in Pretoria:

The lack of energy supply and reserves has definitely been central to the suppressed economic growth,” Zuma emphasizes that the single most important challenge of priority is to establish energy security in order to effectively jump-start the economy. In the long term, the government is looking to develop a sustainable energy mix including electricity and wind etc. 

This is exactly the kind of situation in which Denmark as a green frontrunner will be able to contribute to and support South Africa in the development of effective strategies with energy efficient solutions and offer our guidance within energy technology production.  

Watch this short video with the Director of Energy Efficiency Xolile Mabusela from the Department of Energy to know more about the South African and Danish collaboration on energy efficiency 



Read more about renewable energy in South Africa, More material on the South African coorperation
 Presentation on Energy and Environment Energy Efficiency

Helle Momsen Fredslund
Center for Global Rådgivning og Forhandling
Tlf.: 25 72 82 91