As a side event to the African Energy Indaba 2017, The National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC-SA) hosted an Energy Efficiency Workshop in partnership with the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) and the Chemical and Allied Industries Association (CAIA). MechChem Africa’s Glynnis Koch attends and reports.
In her capacity as executive director of the Southern African Association for Energy Efficiency (SAEE), Valerie Geen was chosen as Programme director and MC for the day. Geen is a former head of energy at the NBI (National Business Initiative) and is now a projects expert with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
The panelists for the morning discussion consisted of: Alex Haw, general manager for corporate sustainability, Massmart; Crescent Mushwana, research group leader for Energy Systems, CSIR Energy Centre; Deidre Penfold, executive director, CAIA; Ndivhuho Raphulu, director, NCPC-SA; and Sisa Njikelana, energy patron of the SA IEE project, former chair of the Independent Power Producers Association and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee (Energy).
Alf Hartzenburg, national project manager, SA Industrial Energy Efficiency Project, NCPC-SA, began proceedings with a keynote address in which he noted that the NCPC-SA must position itself as a ‘centre of excellence’, capable of being a source for producing experts for various energy efficiency solutions as well as a of cleaner production systems and data in South Africa.
Driving success is the harnessing of behavioural change, and developing mentors, interns and graduate engineers, he said, citing examples of the work that has already been done in Mozambique, Myanmar, Mauritius (a technical feasibility study for thermal plants), Germany and the USA. He also emphasised fostering women’s empowerment, saying that many have found, in general, that women are better at managing improvements in energy efficiency than men.
Hartzenburg believes that lifecycle assessments of companies must be fast-tracked and the monitoring and evaluation of companies must become more robust. Other challenges and opportunities include: intelligent biogas heating systems, smart power, storage technologies and intelligent drive and control systems. Although there is a growing base of technical expertise among managers, He noted that there was no room for complacency in the NCPC-SA. Rather, he stated: “We must maintain a sense of responsibility and keep up the good start that has been made in improving energy efficiency in South Africa.” Quoting Abraham Lincoln, he added: “We must rise with the occasion, think anew and act anew.”