Government organisation, the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) says clean energy principles and technologies should form part of the country’s post Covid-19 economic stimulus plan.
This will help to ensure the country stays on target to achieve national environmental targets while also boosting economic growth.
The institute believes the promotion of clean energy technologies in any infrastructure stimulus plans will allow government to prescribe and accelerate local production, which will create additional employment in the current economic scenario.
This sentiment is echoed in the International Energy Agency's (IEA’s) recent Energy Efficiency and Economic Stimulus report, which states that energy efficiency actions can assist with the goals of economic stimulus programmes by supporting existing workforces and creating new jobs.
The report further notes that energy efficiency actions can also boost economic activity in key labour-intensive sectors such as energy service companies (ESCos) and can deliver longer-term benefits such as increased competitiveness, reduced greenhouse-gas emissions, improved energy affordability and increased expenditure.
“Energy efficiency interventions such as energy audits and retrofits, measurement and verification of data, all require significant numbers of people to effectively support and execute it. And since energy efficiency is still a relatively new phenomenon in South Africa, most of these activities will accelerate the need and establishment of new jobs into the economy,” explains SANEDI energy efficiency GM Barry Bredenkamp.
“At SANEDI, we have learned that many countries are promoting these activities in public areas such as schools, hospitals and clinics. In South Africa, we have a similar plan in place to kickstart economic recovery based on clean energy practices.”
He indicates that the rollout of cool roof technology to residential dwellings in the appropriate regions in the country, can create many local jobs as these roofs need to be coated with the new and efficient technology.
Looking at the long-term benefits of integrating clean energy as part of the post-Covid-19 economic stimulus package, SANEDI posits that it can potentially establish a new industry in the country.
“If implemented correctly and in line with international standards, it could prepare South Africa for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), as most new clean energy interventions are coupled with a move towards digitisation, including the introduction of devices such as smart meters and two-way communication between consumers and suppliers of energy,” says Bredenkamp.
SANEDI, as an agency of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), notes that it is well placed to support this drive towards a more sustainable, environmentally conscious and energy efficient economy.
“We have strong relationships with key energy industry role-players and continuously engage with customers through programmes such as ESCos, the 12L Tax Incentives, deployment of cool roofs, e-mobility, smart grids and many other sustainable energy projects,” concludes Bredenkamp.