Hope Mashele is a certified energy manager, a registered professional engineer (Pr. Eng) with Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), and a board member of Southern African Association for Energy Efficiency (SAEE). Mashele shares his industry predictions with ESI Africa for the 2016 year ahead.
Eskom, under the leadership of Brian Molefe, has once again done a brilliant job in keeping the lights on. The outstanding and visionary leadership of Mr Molefe has ensured that all summer maintenance has been done without any requirement to load shed.
With a little assistance from the economic slowdown, the hard-working people of Eskom have ensured over 100 days of no power disruptions as the country faces another challenge in water shortages.
Here are my predictions on what the industry is going to see this year and the next going forward:
- Energy price increases are still going to be a factor as South Africa goes through its biggest built programme for power generation, ever. The multi-trillion rand investment in the new power stations, huge renewable projects and all the talk about the equally necessary base load nuclear power stations, will not be fully funded through the fiscus without Eskom being profitable and secured within its cash-flows. This means higher than inflation increases in electricity rates for a number of years to come.
- Small scale renewable is going to continue to grow even stronger, to the point of being double the 2015 growth for South Africa and for the rest of the continent. This is due to the multiplier effect of rising electricity rates and falling prices for renewable sources. With the slight slowdown of the Chinese and Indian economies, the globe currently has an oversupply of renewable equipment that only Africa has huge demand for.The continued low crude oil pricing will ensure that the developed economies reduce their demand for renewable sources slightly and use up the excess oil reserves and new-found gas as the energy source is making renewable sources a long-term instead of a medium-term goal.
- Sustainability Management is evolving from Energy Efficiency. Due to the recent power shortages in the country, all talk had been about how individuals and companies must save on energy. In our circles, we have been consistently talking about energy efficiency as part of a comprehensive sustainability programme. This means taking into account all aspects of making sure that we minimise our impact on the environment and save money at the same time which are:
– Energy Management
– Water Management
– Waste Management
– Utility Management
The trend in 2016 is such that all four areas are becoming equally important as no economic activity can occur in a space where these four factors cannot be managed. The country must save energy and water for it to function and grow. Saving water and energy without saving money using a utility management programme integrated with an energy management programme is a recipe for failure.
The management of all four aspects culminates in a sustainability programme where sometimes:
– Energy wastage is reduced and energy is saved
– Waste is reduced, recycled and used as an energy source
– Water wastages are reduced and water is recycled and reused
– Utility rates are managed properly to reflect the above efforts, saving money and sustain the business case of doing all the above
Hope Mashele is a certified energy manager, a registered professional engineer (Pr. Eng) with Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), and a board member of Southern African Association for Energy Efficiency (SAEE). He is a former board member of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) as well as the Energy and Environment Committee at Business Unity of SA (BUSA). Hope is currently a member of Council of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE).
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