4 October 2013 – Energy efficiency is recognised as the most cost-effective, least-polluting and readily available energy source. More than half of the electricity-sector related carbon emissions reduction target in the coming twenty years in South Africa could be achieved through energy efficiency.

In 2005, the South African government published South Africa’s national energy efficiency Strategy that set a target of 12% energy demand reduction by 2015. In addition, the department of energy’s approved 2012 strategic plan for the next three years has set a national energy saving target of 20 TWh from implemented energy efficiency and demand side management (EEDSM) measures across all sectors including the public sector.

The review of South Africa’s national energy efficiency strategy, has just been completed, however the focus was more on implementation in the past years including the areas of improvement prior to the target year 2015. The overall target is based on sectorial targets from the residential section (10%), industrial and mining sector (15%), commercial and public buildings (15%), power generation (15%) and transport (9%). Although a variety of energy efficiency measures have been introduced since 2005, monitoring and quantification of energy savings has been a challenge.

The municipal energy efficiency project forms part of the EEDSM programme. It is envisaged that through the municipal EEDSM interventions, municipalities can reduce their electricity bills by optimising energy use, improve service delivery and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The selected municipalities will receive grants for planning and implementation of energy efficient technologies in the field of traffic signals, street and building lighting, as well as water purification and pumping plants In line with the targets and strategies of EEDSM programme, municipal energy efficiency projects strives to contribute to most efficient solutions for energy savings.

The recommended municipal energy efficiency programme’s scope of work to be considered by municipalities includes the following:

  • An energy audit and baseline study of all public facilities in the municipality’s demarcation targeted for improvement (i.e. street lighting, traffic signals, municipal buildings, water purification and pumping plants).
  • Suggestions for improvements to operate and maintenance practices.
  • Financial details on the investment required, including materials and potential service providers, expected savings, and payback period.
  • A list of the energy efficiency measures prioritised according to the highest rate of return on investment and organized into short, medium and long term categories.
  • System mapping of the public facilities within the municipality to cover size, geographic location, type of technology, etc.
  • Energy efficiency awareness and communication.
  • Monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of energy savings.