South Africa Launches Energy Saving Campaign

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has launched the South African government’s energy saving campaign. 

He used the platform to urge the nation to contribute to the campaign by observing energy saving measures no matter how small they may seem.

“Government has identified energy security as the single most important challenge that must be prioritised and addressed effectively to jump start our economy,” President Zuma said on Friday.

Flanked by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe among others, President Zuma said the government energy saving campaign was informed by the need to lead by example.

“We need to save power at home and at work,” he said, stressing that it would not be correct for government to tell the private sector what to do to save energy while government was not doing the same.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) has been tasked with ensuring that all government buildings become energy saving spaces.

The Department of Energy has also concluded the Energy and Climate Change Strategy for the public buildings sector, which is to be tabled for Cabinet consideration.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said his department has moved from “intention to implementation” with the launch of the government’s campaign to save energy.

“As Public Works, we have partnered with the Department of Energy to carry out the necessary research to develop policy and norms and standards.

“We’ve engaged service providers to undertake pilot studies. We have set targets for savings over the five years of this administration of R2 billion on energy consumption and R500 million on water consumption,” he said.

Progress is also being made under the Green Building Programme. In efforts to save energy, the Union Buildings has installed motion sensors which are estimated to save around 330 432 kilowatt hours per hour.

On the whole, the country has recorded some growth in its renewable energy programme, which was launched in 2011. Thirty-two renewable power facilities are currently in operation. These plants contribute more than 1 500 megawatts to the national grid.

The President commended work being done by the Cabinet electricity “war room”.

“In the long term, we are looking to develop a sustainable energy mix,” he said.

Small actions with big results

President Zuma urged the public to make simple efforts to save power such as switching off plugs and lights when leaving the office and also to be equally vigilant at home.

“We urge the private sector to also engage in energy saving drives,” he said.

In order to encourage private sector energy saving, government is looking to increase the energy efficiency incentives on offer.

“The current tax rebate scheme on offer to companies will be extended. Proposals will be published for public comment later this year,” he said.

In addition, government is also working to transform the domestic electricity appliance market as part of promoting energy savings.