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Clean energy can boost Covid-19 economic stimulus plan

SANEDI (South African National Energy Development Institute) claims that clean energy principles and technologies should form part of South Africa’s post-Covid-19 economic stimulus plan; ensuring the country stays on target to achieve national environmental targets and boost the economy at the same time.

The institute believes the promotion of clean energy technologies in any infrastructure stimulus plans will allow the government to prescribe and accelerate local production, which will create additional employment in the current economic scenario.

This sentiment is also echoed by the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) IEA’s recent Energy Efficiency and Economic Stimulus article which says energy efficiency actions can assist with the goals of economic stimulus programmes by supporting existing workforces and creating new jobs.

The article further notes energy efficiency actions can also boost economic activity in key labour-intensive sectors such as Energy Service Companies (ESCo’s) and can deliver longer-term benefits such as increased competitiveness, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved energy affordability and expenditure.

The General Manager of Energy Efficiency at SANEDI, Barry Bredenkamp explained that 

Energy efficiency interventions such as energy audits and retrofits, measurement and verification of data, all require significant numbers of people to effectively support and execute it.

“And since energy efficiency is still a relatively new phenomenon in SA, most of these activities will accelerate the need and establishment of new jobs into the economy. 

“At SANEDI, we have learned that many countries are promoting these activities in public areas such as schools, hospitals and clinics.  In SA we have a similar plan in place to kick-start economic recovery based on clean energy practices.”

He also added that the rollout of cool roof technology to residential dwellings in the appropriate regions in the country can create many local jobs as these roofs need to be coated with the new and efficient technology.

Looking at the long-term benefits of integrating clean energy as part of the post-Covid-19 economic stimulus package, SANEDI comments it can potentially establish an entirely new industry in the country.

“If implemented correctly and in line with international standards, it could prepare SA for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), as most new clean energy interventions are coupled with a move towards digitisation, including the introduction of devices such as smart meters and two-way communication between consumers and suppliers of energy.”

SANEDI, as an agency of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), is well placed to support this drive towards a more sustainable, environmentally conscious and energy-efficient economy.

“We have strong relationships with key energy industry role players and continuously engage with customers through programmes such as Energy Service Companies (ESCo’s), the 12L Tax Incentives, deployment of cool roofs, e-mobility, smart grids and many other sustainable energy projects.” 

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