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The South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) recently pledged its support for South Africa’s 49M initiative. The 49M campaign was launched in March 2011 as a response to the country’s constrained power system.  The campaign encourages individuals and corporates to lead energy smart lifestyles.

Sanedi is a government agency mandated to encourage a transition to a low-carbon economy in South Africa. Sanedi’s 49M signing brings to 134 the number of businesses and organisations that have pledged to cut down on their energy usage and play a contributory role in the reduction of electricity consumption in South Africa. Commenting on the significance of the partnership Kevin Nassiep CEO of Sanedi said a positive behaviour change towards the use of energy can go a long way in reducing South Africa’s electricity strain and carbon emissions.

“There are numerous factors affecting this drive and strangely enough, one of them is that the current electricity price in South Africa is reasonably low in comparison to other high carbon-emitting countries. However, it is not price alone that triggers behaviour change and we need to do more, to promote the economic, environmental and social benefits such as job creation, in transitioning towards a low carbon future for South Africa,” Nassiep says.

He says that signing the 49M pledge was a natural step for the organisation as the initiative’s objectives were in line with Sanedi’s goals. “We have been providing an on-going advocacy and advisory service to all categories of customer, as well as providing approximately 130 bursaries to post graduate students in the field of energy efficiency at the Sanedi funded Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management Hub at the University of Pretoria. These Masters and Doctoral graduates are all filling important positions and assisting in countering the general skills shortage of specialist energy efficiency professionals in the South African workplace,” he says.

He adds that the organisation has also been facilitating the 12-L Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives on behalf of various government departments to encourage businesses to accelerate the uptake of energy efficiency and to counter the potential impacts of the proposed carbon tax in 2016.

Nassiep says the organisation has further opted to walk the energy talk to encourage its staff to become more energy conscious. “Sanedi’s offices are situated in a 5 Star-rated building by the Green Building Council of South Africa, that on its own offers the opportunity to continually and visibly make all staff aware of our own energy and water consumption, as well as exposing them to some of the most innovative energy efficient equipment currently on offer in South Africa.”

Sanedi, Nassiep says, is also leading the drive towards the introduction of a Cool Roofs programme in partnership with various energy conscious partners. “We are driving this programme to establish a viable Energy Efficiency Services Market model in South Africa. For that to materialise, green funding from commercial financial institutions are absolutely critical and in support of this, Sanedi is providing technical assistance facility to three banks in South Africa, on behalf of the French Development Bank,” Nassiep concludes.

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