role of cities
SA and the GCR
green initiatives
solar energy
energy efficiency
water and sanitation
mobilising the region
energy efficiency – the ‘neglected’ frontier

'Energy efficiency may be the farthest-reaching, certainly the least-polluting and clearly the fastest-growing energy success story of the last 40 years. The irony is that it is also the most invisible, the least understood and in serious danger of being overlooked as the most cost-effective and economically viable opportunity for addressing the challenges of climate change and maintaining a strong economy.'

Laitner, 'Understanding the Size of the Energy Efficiency Resource', 351

Between 1973 and 2005, energy efficiency had already saved up to 58% of what was actually consumed. But major improvements are still possible.



A 20% energy efficiency target could:

  • create over 10 400 jobs
  • add R640-million to labour income
  • reduce energy expenditure by more than R16- billion per year
  • facilitate additional investment in equipment of about R10-billion per year

The Provincial spend for a programme to enable greater energy efficiency would be around R13-million per year


out with the old

The traditional way of creating energy capacity is to create more supply. However, this can also be achieved by reducing demand – which is a more sustainable achievement.

Energy efficiency compared to conventional energy:

    • costs less per MWh
    • creates more jobs at less cost
    • stimulates more economic activity.

Laitner, 'Understanding the Size of the Energy Efficiency Resource', 351

but there’s more…

The benefits of industrial energy efficiency in South Africa also include:

  • significant reductions in local air pollutants
  • improved environmental health
  • reduced electricity demand
  • delays in new investments in electricity generation.

The co-benefit of reducing GHG emissions could result in a reduction of as much as 5% of South Africa’s total projected energy CO2 emissions by 2020.

Winkler, H. Howells, M. and Baumert, K. 'Sustainable Development Policies and Measures', 212

The proposed Gauteng target is a 15% improvement in energy efficiency by 2025. When considered against what other countries are seeking to achieve – South Australia at 20% and the UK at 30% - as well as our high energy intensity, it can be argued that a more ambitious target should be set, possibly even as high as 30%.

what can be achieved in terms of growth through energy efficiency?

what interventions do we propose?

  • enable municipalities to be rewarded for driving energy reduction rather than for electricity sales
  • educate energy users on the savings that can be achieved through energy efficiency
  • implement compulsory energy efficiency standards
  • provide access to finance for energy-efficient equipment.