Lisa Reynolds opened the 7th South African Energy Efficiency Convention in Johannesburg today 14th November in the absence of the Honorable Sisa Njokelana, Chairmen of the Portfolio Committee for Energy in SA.
Keynote speaker Prof LJ Grobler, feels that the time is right for the “perfect storm” as the right combination of factors have come together for the Energy Efficiency Industry to take off. Grobler went on to describe some of these factors which included the fact that climate change is no longer a matter of debate, the dire need to drive to cost of energy down is fully appreciated by both companies and individuals, benchmarking in energy efficiency for various products across various industries has been done, processes for energy management are in place and in fact South Africa is the leader in ISO energy management systems and sound Measurement and Verification practices and standards are available for use in country and internationally. In addition, there are more and more funding opportunities coming on stream.
This combination of elements, make the time ripe for energy efficiency to be an integral part of the daily life of individuals and companies in SA and to assist South Africa move to a low-carbon economy so we can compete internationally.
Grobler went on to say that traditionally power was cheap and the sharp price increases have been one of the key drivers but also points out that uptake has been slow in the past because we are in the “business of nothing. And to be successful as companies there needs to be more nothing”. Getting to a Net Zero Building for example is not such as strange concept anymore as we see the first school in the USA – Richardsville Elementary in Kentucky, having achieved this in 2010 already. Normal business practice does not think about selling “nothing” as we sell more and more product in a consumer based society.
However, with the price squeeze on energy, businesses are realizing that just a technological approach – which we can control easily, will not work and a holistic approach is needed for energy management as we see large savings just through behavioral changes. The Energy Management systems come into play here and although they do not guarantee savings, they very often lead to good savings or “nothing” being used.
It goes without saying then that not having the benchmarking or a sound measurement and verification system in place is like running a company without a financial accounting system and SA has become a leader in this field internationally as SA, through SANS 50010 have one of the first country MnV standards and are now as a result assisting with the international ISO MnV standard development process.
The conditions for that perfect storm have arrived.