Owing to Covid-19, the South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) has witnessed an increase in the number of new applications from companies for the Section 12L Energy Efficiency tax incentive.
“With companies aiming to be competitive under the pandemic and remain in business, they are left with little choice but to improve operations and become more energy efficient,” says Sanedi GM Barry Bredenkamp.
The uptake of renewable energy interventions across all local market sectors has also increased, he adds.
The tax incentive provides an allowance for businesses to implement energy efficiency savings through a tax reduction of 95c/kWh on energy consumption over a consecutive 12-month period.
Bredenkamp states that this year, particularly during the lockdown period, Sanedi has worked with local companies and measurement and verification professionals to process applications for the incentive.
Sanedi was also appointed by the Department of Science and Innovation to provide a national secretariat for all the department’s energy-related research projects.
New energy efficiency projects in public buildings, wastewater treatment plants and cool surfaces have also been initiated during the lockdown period and will continue to be rolled out in the coming months, he states.
Meanwhile, Sanedi cites the finalisation and publication of the updated National Energy Service Company Register as a significant milestone achieved this year, despite the impact of the pandemic on the local economy and energy use.
Bredenkamp explains that this publication provides an ideal platform for industries to choose from a range of experts in the local energy efficiency industry when considering implementing energy efficiency measures.
Sanedi also continued with the National Residential Energy Research Study, in conjunction with the University of Cape Town, during lockdown.
The research focuses on ascertaining the use of domestic appliances in local households, across different Living Standard Measure (LSM) groupings.
LSM is a research tool used in South Africa to classify standard of living and disposable income.
The research was conducted by Sanedi using electronic questionnaires and the final report for this research is scheduled for the end of December.
“To date, the results are providing insights with regard to domestic energy consumption,” says Bredenkamp.
Bredenkamp highlights how the Sanedi component of the Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) project, supported by global entity the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, was “hampered by the delay in supply chain management processes during the initial lockdown”.
The IEE project was initiated in South Africa in 2010 and intends to demonstrate the impact of energy management in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and to show the financial impact of in-plant energy management.
The project has also been run locally in partnership with Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and government organisation the National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
The first phase of the project, concluded in 2015, focused on establishing a footprint in order to provide assessments which highlighted potential improvements that could be made.
Accessing the pre-identified markets to conduct the necessary energy efficiency research was, therefore, limited during the lockdown and is only now beginning to progress.
Currently in Phase 2, the IEE project is a multi-stakeholder initiative that supports increased and sustained energy efficiency in industrial and selected commercial sectors.
Phase 2 is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.
This phase includes many aspects to increase energy efficiency, particularly in implementing policies and frameworks for energy management systems and standards. Further, the project seeks to mainstream training programmes aimed at implementing sustainable energy management systems.
Bredenkamp adds that Sanedi’s role in the project will focus on research into the energy efficiency potential in the local paper and pulp industry, as well as the automotive sector, for the remainder of the project duration.
He adds that Sanedi has engaged with several stakeholders in these industries, particularly regarding Section 12L.
“Further, we plan to undertake a thorough research exercise of the baseline energy consumption, efficiency potential and intensity of the various processes in these local industries. As these industries are global players in the market and they are all familiar with the latest technologies and trends in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
Bredenkamp mentions that this research will be used to fill the current gaps in data for these industries. This will assist in planning future updates to the national energy efficiency strategy.