Plug into energy efficiency

November 8th, 2013, Published in Articles: Vector

by Valerie Geen, National Business Initiative

The National Business initiative (NBI) has been awarded £8,6-million by the Department of International Development (DFID) to implement a countrywide project on Energy Efficiency support to commercial and industrial companies of various sizes and sectors. We call on the private sector to plug into the NBI’s energy efficiency initiative referred to as the Private Sector Energy Efficiency Project (PSEE).

Valerie Geen

The play on “plugging into” as opposed to pulling the plug is intentional. The idea of plugging in is about getting involved, raising your own levels of awareness about energy efficiency as a company or small enterprise, and joining the call to action to save all forms of fossil fuel-generated energy, or to reduce your demand. Through the Energy Efficiency Leadership Network, we have provided a platform for companies to collectively contribute to the country’s energy efficiency strategy, engage directly with government and  other stakeholders and build capacity or identify further capacity building needs.

The introduction of the PSEE is opportune in that companies are struggling more than ever before to stay in business as the cost of energy absorbs up to 40% of their operating costs. A second challenge identified by companies is that, without a proactive response to increasing prices, energy security and impending government policies such as the carbon tax, industry in South Africa will struggle to remain competitive and demonstrate real growth.

The PSEE is aimed at giving many companies direct support through consultants and the NBI’s project management within the PSEE, to either start their journey towards great energy efficiency improvement or assess and implement further improvements based on their own roadmaps. Such action will mitigate the ever increasing cost of energy and the potential cost of carbon taxes, improve energy security, and will promote business competiveness and growth through more efficient energy use. Services have been prioritised to give the greatest support to large companies. This is determined by an overall annual energy spend of over R45-million. The project will follow a cost sharing model with a 60% contribution to up to 60 days of consultant support provided to over 60 large companies. This support is focused on a strategic engagement with companies to define where they are versus where they should be. This can include energy audits, opportunity assessments, development of energy management plans and business case development pitched for internal capital investment or through sourcing and accessing external financing or tax incentives. Capacity building on site can also be included as part of this support.

One thousand medium-sized companies with an annual total energy spend of between R750 000 and R45-million will receive free energy audits/site surveys aimed at providing them with actionable energy efficiency interventions and further follow-up support from PSEE staff. A total of 2500 small enterprises will benefit from remote advisory support through a dedicated website which will include energy efficiency awareness raising, information guides, written and audiovisual case studies, toolkits and tutorials. A helpdesk for advice and signposting to further assistance will also be available and based on these engagements. Focused training will be provided.

Plug into energy efficiency by responding to this call to action and by committing time and people to work with us on your energy efficiency journey.

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