The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) would assist the South African Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) energy-efficiency monitoring and implementation project with a contribution of R13,95-million, which would boost implementation of energy efficiency in public buildings of five municipalities.
Energy Minister Dipuo Peters and Swiss Ambassador Rudolf Baerfuss on Friday signed the bilateral agreement, which would support the DoE in monitoring the achievement of targets for energy-efficiency in the municipalities of Sol Plaatjie, Rustenburg, Polokwane, Mbombela, and King Sabata Dalindyebo, in the first phase of the project.
The project would be “addressing constraints identified during the implementation of the energy efficiency strategy by lack of capacity at national, municipal and the sector practitioners level to measure and monitor the impact”, said Peters.
The project was also aimed at improving the way in which the municipalities collect and compile their electricity sales data. This data would in turn be used by the DoE for monitoring electricity consumption figures.
“By monitoring energy-efficiency achievements, tools can be generated to support the municipalities to manage energy efficiency interventions and improvements in the building sector,” added Peters.
The project would also focus on capacity building within municipalities to support the South African Local Government Association (Salga).
The programme would run over four years to 2013 and would be implemented through close collaboration with local government at central and municipal levels, as well as research institutions, nongovernmental organisations, and the private sector supported by regional and international best practice including Swiss expertise.
Baerfuss explained that Switzerland was not endowed with resources such as coal for power generation and relied largely on hydropower. This meant that the country had to use its energy very efficiently, and thus expertise in this area could be extended to South Africa, he said.
“What gets measured gets done,” said Baerfuss, adding that the bilateral agreement showed that the relations between the two countries were dynamic and progressing day by day.
“There is a lot that we can learn from the Swiss when it comes to energy-efficiency standards,” confirmed Peters.
The energy efficiency monitoring project staff would be housed within the DoE’s offices in Pretoria, and overseen by a steering committee comprising representatives of the SDC, the DoE and Salga.
The contribution from the SDC formed part of its larger R120-million climate change mitigation programme in South Africa, as the project would contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through energy efficiency interventions at policy, monitoring, research, training and implementation level.
Energy-efficiency has been put forward as one of the most cost-effective climate change mitigation options in South Africa.
“Building sector energy-efficiency improvement can only be successful if there is sufficient capacity at all levels of interaction, not only an enabling policy environment, but also actual implementation capacity at the local level,” reiterated Peters.
The overall outcome was to reduce energy consumption in the building sector through enhanced energy-efficiency throughout the full lifecycle of buildings