Public hearings on energy efficiency – 5 September 2012

PMG 10 September 2012.

Date of Meeting:

5 Sep 2012


Mr S Njikelana (ANC)

The South African National Energy Development Institute opened with a presentation on the measurement and verification processes involving energy efficiency. The Institute emphasised that energy efficiency covered a far broader spectrum than simply electricity efficiency but that LPG gas and other forms of power generation were all part of the mix.

In South Africa, Eskom had received R5.4billion of rate payer’s money for energy efficiency and Demand Side Management Implementation through the MYPD2 allocation from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa. The funding window was over a 3 year period and was required to deliver 1037MW in demand savings and 4055MW of energy savings. The M&V function to ensure these targets were met however resided with Eskom and was seen as a dire conflict of interest.

Representatives from George municipality in the Southern Cape Karoo provided information on the successes achieved in the area by implementing energy efficiency programming which included retrofitting street lamps and solar powered geysers and their plans for the immediate future. From 2009-2012 savings in terms of kWh per month had increased from 1.46million to 3.4million kWh. Thus proving that energy efficiency combined with load management and renewable energy generation was the best way to solve power shortages in South Africa. Members hoped that the successes of George could be implemented on a national level across all municipalities.

During the presentation from Saint-Gobain (a construction products company; thermal insulation) it was emphasised that New Building Regulations would go far in achieving energy savings in building stock and it was strongly suggested that a retrofitting program should be implemented immediately which would create jobs and improve the health of residents.

Mr Dani Coetzee, a farmer from Northern Cape and appearing before the committee as a private citizen expressed a need for more energy generation capacity in South Africa. He noted three potential choices which included coal- but had the consequence of global warming, nuclear power – which could lead to a nuclear disaster, and finally renewables- however they came at a high cost.

Possible solutions to the current energy crunch in the country were solar powered cars for short distances of up to 100km per day, home solar systems, and in the farming community instead of biofuel using solar powered tractors was also suggested.

The final presentation by Pert Industrials focussed on the need for greater education and workshops at schools while emphasising that teachers were facing more and more challenges at school, with large class sizes, and little time to teach subjects which were not in the curriculum. Dealing with South Africa’s energy crisis would be achieved through more activities in schools on energy storage and distribution, efficiency and renewables. It was strongly expressed that work done in primary schools to teach school children about energy would trickle down to parents at home and make a difference in communities.

Members were united in calling for greater efforts in promotion of energy efficiency as it had direct ramifications for the national economy and related to issues of poverty and unemployment. It was raised as a matter of concern that more had to be done to increase public awareness and make energy efficiency relevant to not only the middle class but also to the poor.


Opening Remarks
The Chairperson stated that these public hearings would be part of the roadmap to engage with the Department of Energy (DoE) and make recommendations so that the Department’s revised strategy on energy would be amended accordingly. This was necessary as the DoE remained far from reaching the targets it had set across all sectors. It was equally Important that the Committee facilitated the move towards energy efficiency which could not be only paper based but needed to involve real on the ground policies…