The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusam- menarbeit (GIZ), in Sep-tember last year, on behalf of the German Government, started the roll-out of the R120-million South African–German Energy Programme (Sagen), which will focus on improving framework conditions and capacities for enhanced investment in renewable ener- gies and energy efficiency in South Africa.
This, among other agreements, was solidified during South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s visit to Germany, in May, for the Germany–South Africa Bi-national Commission, which seeks to strengthen cooperation between the two countries.
Areas of cooperation include economic development, development cooperation, science and technology, the environment, and arts and culture. This year’s topics of discussion are renewable energy, and education and training.
Sagen, which is facilitated and will be implemented by the GIZ – a government agency – will work with South Africa’s Department of Energy and the South African National Energy Development Institute respectively.
Sagen programme manager Daniel Werner says South Africa has good potential for using renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency in all sectors of the economy. “South Africa is a high energy-intensity country and the need to shift some power generation to renewable energy is important.”
Further, he notes that South Africa faces the triple challenge of dealing with energy supply constraints, energy related environ- mental impacts and economic growth, including job creation. “Renewable energy and energy efficiency are solutions to these challenges,” he adds.
Meanwhile, the GIZ says the South African government has recognised the importance of energy efficiency as part of its sustainable development strat- egy, with new approaches to energy efficiency being developed through numerous energy implementers such as energy agencies, municipalities and State-owned power utility Eskom.
However, the GIZ points out that delivering measures and policies have been challenging. These include limited consumer awareness of the opportunities for, or benefits of, energy efficiency, lagging implementation of policy pronouncements, and limited development of private-sector capacity for energy efficiency project identification and investment.
Werner believes Sagen has responded well to these challenges, alongside other bilateral cooperation projects in the ‘so called’ Focal Area on Climate and Energy. “This includes technical, financial, scientific and technological cooperation.”
In August last year, the South African government launched the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, as an instrument to deploy 3 725 MW of renewable energy by 2016 through a competitive bidding process.
Werner says according to a study commissioned by the GIZ, a successful independent power producer programme will lead to a reduction of 8.4-million tons a year of carbon emissions, contributing significantly to government’s strategy of making the economy greener.
The South African government has initiated numerous programmes to promote energy efficiency, while simultaneously creating jobs. One such initiative is aimed at auditing the energy consumption of public buildings.
The Department of Environ-mental Affairs, in partnership with the GIZ, is implementing the Building Energy Auditor Train-ing project, which aims to train 100 energy auditors.