Two UK organisations, the Department for International Development (DFiD) and the Carbon Trust, are lending their smart (and a fair amount of cash) to set up a national body for South Africa that will help businesses save energy and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.
Dubbed the Private Sector Energy Efficiency Project (PSEE) and based out of the Department of Energy, the initiative will be run by the National Business Initiative and aims to save South African businesses a whopping R3.5bn over the next five years.
The plan came out of a bilateral trade agreement between the two countries. DfID has provided R149m to get PSEE up and running, while the Carbon Trust is providing best practice advice. The Carbon Trust have some experience in this area – as a business consultation agency, over the last 12 years, it claims to have saved its clients more than R85bn and reduced the output of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 53.5Mt. It’s also been an influential lobbyist and advisor at both a national level in the UK and within the European Union.
According to PSEE’s stats, the South African economy is currently the seventh most energy intensive in the world. The International Energy Agency ranks South Africa as the 11th most polluting country by a ratio of carbon emissions to GDP, and 13th most polluting overall. The government has spoken much recently about plans to make South Africa a leading user of renewables, and one of three large solar power plants recently came online in the Northern Cape.
PSEE’s work will cover several areas. Its most public face will be to run awareness campaigns around saving energy at home and in the office, and explaining why it’s probably a good idea to turn all those lights out. It also has three different programs in place already for small, medium and large businesses around money saving measures that are quick and relatively simple to put in place.
Its work will feed into and implement government plans for energy policies over the next few years. If you want to save even more sooner, of course, you could just take your entire life off-grid.