Conference aims to foster low carbon economy

3rd February 2017 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Creamer Media Reporter

Conference aims to foster low carbon economy

TRANSFORMING INDUSTRIES The Industrial Efficiency Conference aims to guide industries in energy, water and waste efficiency

With South Africa’s signing of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations twenty-first Conference of the Parties in 2015 requiring it to have met certain greenhouse-gas emission reduction targets from a mitigation and an adaptation point of view by 2020, this year’s Industrial Efficiency Conference will aim to help industry transition to a low carbon economy.

Hosted by the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA) – the resource efficiency programme of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – NCPC-SA marketing and communication manager Julie Wells notes that, with the DTI’s strong environmental focus for the next two years, carbon reduction will be “on everyone’s lips” because of the targets to which government has committed.

Several industry representatives and government officials will be speakers at the third biennial conference, which will be held on September 14 and 15 in Cape Town.

She adds that international experts and a keynote speaker from the Department of Environmental Affairs and/or the DTI will outline the role of industries in mitigating and measuring carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

“The aim is to empower companies to reduce their resource consumption, thus saving energy, water and materials – and reducing their carbon emissions. We also aim to encourage and guide them to measure the amount of CO2 saved . . . demystify this process and . . . clear up misconstructions regarding carbon tax. This will be supplemented by a slot on funding and financing,” explains Wells.

Conference Sessions
On the first day, the first session will detail efficiency and savings in industrial energy, drawing from the NCPC-SA’s Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) project and following this topic’s success at previous conferences.

“The IEE project started in 2010 and, in the first five years, it saved industry enough energy to electrify 280 000 homes, or 1.7 GWh of energy, for a year, which equates to R1.7-billion worth of energy,” he notes.

In partnership with the South African National Energy Development Institute, the event will feature case studies of companies that have successfully saved energy, experts on energy management systems and opportunities for industries to optimise systems at their plants.

The second session will explore industrial water efficiency locally, in collaboration with the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Water Research Commission, and internationally, in collaboration with the Danish government, which partners with government.

People can expect quite a good discourse on water and practical measures they can take to save water, Wells points out.

The third session will cover industrial symbiosis or waste exchange and material, featuring case studies from industrial symbiosis programmes in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

The NCPC-SA is hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on behalf of the DTI and has capitalised on this by signing up one of the country’s leading experts on waste, CSIR principal researcher professor Linda Godfrey, as a keynote speaker.

The NCPC-SA will partner with the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa and Proudly South African for its last session of the first day, which will focus on how manufacturers and retailers can communicate their resource efficiency work to consumers to encourage responsibly buying.

Day two will focus on the supporting areas for low carbon transitions, including energy efficiency and other green financing, green skills development and sustainability reporting.

Wells indicates that on the second day a new aspect of this year’s conference will be a session to teach companies how to run industrial efficiency awareness campaigns: “It doesn’t help if you buy new compressors, optimise your systems and reticulate your water, but your staff are still leaving the locker lights on or taps dripping in the showers. It’s often behaviour changes that can save . . . energy or water.”

Through the conference, the NCPC-SA plans to bring in specialists from the advertising, communications and marketing arena to talk to companies about the kind of initiatives that can be implemented to save energy, she adds.

Lastly, the finalists and winners of the Technology Innovation Agency’s Cleantech Innovation Programme – which identifies and supports innovative clean technology entrepreneurs in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste-to-energy, and water efficiency – will showcase at the event, ensuring a platform for the latest in South Africa-developed clean technology solutions.

As the NCPC-SA hosts this biennial conference on behalf of the DTI, to capacitate industry, attendance will be free of charge. A form for preregistrations and requests for information can be found on the NCPC-SA website