Call to ex­tend New En­ergy Strategy dead­line

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS NEWS - Siseko Njobeni

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.

Crit­i­cal data

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.

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