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‘‘Today’s Wastage Is Tomorrow’s Shortage’’ Electricity Saving Assessment for Southern Africa (SADC)

Remember the saying ‘‘Energy conserved is energy produced’’? Conservation of energy is essential because

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Remember the saying ‘‘Energy conserved is energy produced’’? Conservation of energy is essential because it protects our environment from greenhouse gas emission and also saves valuable resources from getting depleted. Also, to highlight the importance of energy consumption and its use in our day-to-day life, its scarcity and its impact on sustainability of global eco systems, it is important to take efforts to conserve them.

In support of the mantra above, the African Energy Commission (AFREC) in partnership with United Environmental programme (UNEP), through the United for energy efficiency (U4E) undertook a Regional Electricity Savings Assessment in 2019/2020, to asses energy-efficiency mechanism in member states and identify some of the most effective ways to reduce electricity consumption and mitigate climate change.

The project which is targeted to cover all five African Regions (South, central, East, West & North) in all 55 African Union member states, will assist countries to adopt robust MEPS and energy labels, improve policies and regulations standards which will set minimum efficiency floor to prohibit future sales of inefficient products from the mark countries even during the transition.

The study focused on electricity products scope, definitions, test methods, minimum efficiency levels, and a set of minimum performance requirements along with market surveillance, to ensure consumers satisfaction. The policy and regulation guide focused on assessing saving mechanism on five products namely: Lighting, room air conditioners, residential refrigerators, electric motors, and transformers, to simplify the deployment, adoption and enforcement of regulations in developing and emerging countries.

A comprehensive report emanating from the regional electricity savings assessment was presented to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states in July/August through a two-day workshop, highlighting the key importance of transforming Africa energy market to Higher Efficiency Lighting and Appliances with Strategic Integrated Energy Policy Approach at the Continental Level, as well as summarising potential benefits which can be attained from the implementation of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for lighting, appliances and equipment at a regional level.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Mr Rashid Ali Abdallah, the Executive Director of AFREC mentioned that the saving assessment duly quantify how much energy can be saved and it will assist AFREC to guide member states, decision and policy makers on which policies and relevant regulations are supposed to be developed to ensure energy saving mechanisms and initiatives are informed by evidence-based information, and are implemented within the region and thereafter across the continent.

Mr Moses Ntlamelle, Senior Programme Officer for energy who spoke on behalf of Ms Mapulao Mokoena, the Director for Infrastructure at the SADC Secretariat said that the SADC aim is to transform the African into a high efficiency lighting and appliances with a strategic objective of a broader policy. ‘‘Energy efficiency is critical in the SADC region, and recommendation will divert the intended investment in the power production by applying energy efficiency and promoting it across all sectors of the economy especially the power supply and energy utilisation’’.

The SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREE) Executive Director, Mr Kuda Ndhlukula said, the SADC region has a large population of its people who have no access to electricity, or to clean and modern energy services, including sever power challenges in the region, energy saving opportunities are prominent. Hence, this is an opportunity for the region to support and promote industrialisation, as the region have already adopted the decision to phase out inefficient lighting.

Some of the prospective benefits and indications from the electricity assessment in the Region indicated the following results:

  • A reduction in electricity use between 15 to 24 TWh per year which is 5 to 9% of current regional electricity will lead to a total cumulative electricity savings of between 100 TWh and 160 TWh by 2030.
  • These electricity savings are worth between US$ 1.3 to 2.2 Billion per year by 2030 leading to total cumulative savings on electricity bills of US$ 9 to 14 Billion.
  • The reduction in electricity demand could prevent the need to build about 7 to 11 large power plants [500MW each] in the region by 2030, saving a further US$ 7 to 11 Billion in unnecessary capacity costs.
  • These emissions savings are equivalent to taking between 3 to 5 million fossil fuelled cars off the road.

In addition to the initiative current being undertaken in the region by SACREE including the Energy Efficient Lighting and Appliances(EELA) programme, it was recommended that AFREC provides the following additional supports to the region:

  • Capacity building for players across the EELA value chain on MEPS setting and enforcement.
  • Establishment of Test Labs for Member States that do not have a national test lab (as some have indicated to have this as a national EELA project to support MEPS enforcement).
  • Market assessments for appliances such as Fans, TVs, Motors, Waters Heaters, etc. that have not yet been done in the region.

The regional electricity saving assessment for the East African region is now ongoing.

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