23 November 2011
“We all know that an economy cannot grow without energy, but that does not mean inefficient use of energy,” the Department of Energy’s Ompie Aphane said at the official launch of South Africa’s Industrial Energy Efficiency Improvement Project.
“It is clear that we cannot continue on a wasteful path as we have been on,” Aphane, the department’s deputy director-general for electricity, nuclear and clean energy, said in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The project, first introduced following the rolling energy blackouts in the country in 2008, is a collaboration between the Departments of Energy and Trade and Industry, the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs, and the UK Department for International Development.
It seeks to provide a framework for businesses to follow in becoming energy-efficient, with focus so far on the agro-processing, chemicals and liquid fuels, metals processing, and engineering sectors.
The Department of Energy’s executive director, Tshenge Demana, said industrial energy efficiency could be a significant contributor to climate change mitigation.
At the same time, he said, the Industrial Energy Efficiency Improvement Project had already demonstrated the importance of energy efficiency to industrial competitiveness.
“Energy-intensity reductions, in the manufacturing sector especially, lead to superior productivity and therefore contribute positively to national industrial competitiveness,” Demana said.
Over the past few years, energy costs have become an increasingly significant portion of total production costs for South Africa’s manufacturing sector. Demana said that, in order for the industry to achieve better ratios of energy intensity to production, change was necessary.
Industrial Energy Efficiency National Project Manager Gerswynn McKuur said the project had created an enabling policy framework, a framework of measurement standards, codes of conduct, and other support measures to industry implement energy efficiency measures.
“The project has been on-going for the past 18 months,” McKuur explained, adding that over 900 people have been skilled in the project’s energy management system, while seven large companies had been recruited to implement energy management systems within their operations.