Call to extend New Energy Strategy deadline
LOBBY group Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) wants the government to extend the comment period on the New Energy Efficiency Strategy, which the Department of Energy published in the Government Gazette on December 23.
According to the Department, the strategy outlines a package of measures for different sectors to address barriers to realising the untapped energy savings potential.
But Outa questioned the timing and wisdom of publishing the strategy before the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) and the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) have been finalised.
“Outa feels that by publishing a gazette for comment in the heart of the summer holidays, and then to only provide society with 30 days to comment thereon, is unacceptable.
“In our opinion, government could be accused of trying to sneak this document past the unsuspecting taxpayers, and that the haste of the gazette may be linked to the unexplained haste to pave the way to add nuclear to South Africa’s future energy mix,” said Ted Blom, Outa’s portfolio director for energy.
Blom said the organisation was also concerned that the document was based on energy consumption between 2000 and 2012, “with critical data for the last four years not taken into account.”
The strategy proposed that industry and the mining sector should reduce consumption by 16 percent by 2030.
The sector, which accounted for about 23 percent of total gross domestic product in 2014 and employed approximately 2.2 million people, was responsible for 34 percent of South Africa’s total final energy consumption.
According to the strategy, the commercial sector, which includes wholesale and retail trade, the motor trade and the hospitality industry, should have a 37 percent reduction in consumption by 2030. It accounts for up to 5 percent of the country’s total consumption.
The strategy said the residential sector should reduce consumption by 33 percent by 2030.
It said government-owned buildings were expected to display energy performance certificates.
This, it said, would be extended to buildings rented by government on signing of a new lease.
The so-called green leases would become a standard requirement for all properties rented by the public sector on the uptake of new leases, “specifically requiring the provision of information on resource consumption to the building occupiers in managed properties.”
The strategy envisaged a 20 percent reduction in the energy intensity of municipal services. The document said municipalities would be required to submit energy efficiency strategies.
The strategy targeted a 50 percent reduction in public buildings’ energy consumption by 2030. The public sector’s final energy consumption is between 2 and 3 percent of the country’s total energy consumption. The strategy said there were significant barriers to further improving energy efficiency. It said market failures such as energy service companies that did not have the capacity to adopt innovative financing and technology solutions, the high costs of energy efficient appliances, and the negative incentive of high borrowing rates, reduced the uptake of energy efficient solutions.
Commenting on energy efficiency within the electricity sector, the department said approximately 18 percent of electricity that was bought from Eskom by municipalities was lost.
It says governmentowned buildings are expected to display energy performance certificates.