With the second phase of the Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) project ending in December this year, National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPC-SA) IEE project leader Sashay Ramdharee says that, for the remainder of the year, the project will focus on developing sector-specific energy efficiency guidelines for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The focus will be on providing these guidelines for SMEs in the commercial buildings, automotive, metal casting and agricultural processing industries.
“By developing these guidelines, NCPC-SA hopes to achieve energy efficiency deployment within the targeted sectors and policy development in South Africa,” he adds.
The guidelines aim to provide a holistic approach for managing energy within the various sectors and to guide businesses in attaining energy efficiency in these respective sectors.
“Through the tenure of the project it has emerged that one of the most common barriers for implementation in SMEs is the lack of funding or technical capability around the development of project proposals,” Ramdharee points out.
A financial guideline for the development of bankable business proposals for clean energy projects aims to provide clear and useful information about what is required for such proposals.
It explores the various avenues of financial assistance that are available for the implementation of these projects in South Africa, including government incentives and grants.
This guide is based primarily on qualitative research and aims to assist companies in South Africa to overcome challenges as well as enable companies to move forward with the implementation of their clean energy projects. According to Ramdharee, there are a few common pitfalls when it comes to South African energy projects. These incude the credibility of the client and the offtaker, and the technology.
With SMEs facing these challenges, there has also been a growing need for financial packages that promote the implementation of renewable-energy solutions.
Consequently, in pursuing the implementation of renewable-energy and energy efficiency projects, the lack of knowledge pertaining to the available funding mechanisms or grants and the process of accessing and vetting the viability of these options have emerged as challenges, says Ramdharee.
While the aim at the start of the IEE project was to drive impact within larger companies to create greater energy savings, the NCPC-SA has identified the significant potential of SMEs to implement energy savings.
With the use of guidelines such as the financial one, SMEs will have the knowledge and tools required to ensure obstacles in funding and other processes can be overcome and energy savings achieved.
Ramdharee concludes that the IEE project not only enables the NCPC-SA to assist companies in attaining their energy reduction targets but also builds a positive knock-on effect in terms of reducing the carbon emissions for future sustainability.