Demand side management has a critical role to play in reducing South Africa's electricity crisis

Posted On Friday, 19 December 2014 07:09 Published by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Demand side management has a critical role to play in easing SA's electricity crisis

 Brian Wilkinson

In the aftermath of another wave of load-shedding, constant reports about Eskom's state of affairs and the significant increases in the costs of electricity over the past few years, there's certainly a lot being said about electricity.

Everyone seems to be blaming everyone else Eskom, the Government, previous Governments, suppliers, contractors and so on. The constant in the blame-game is the 'supply side' of the electricity crisis – power stations being late, coal silos, maintenance, diesel outages, and so forth – leaving us all literally and figuratively powerless.

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) believes a big part of the answer to SA's electricity crises is to also place far more emphasis on the demand side component of power.

Brian Wilkinson, CEO of GBCSA, comments, "We can achieve huge reductions in electricity use through demand side management interventions. The really cool thing about this is we can achieve results in the short term and in a manner that has an excellent business case. Most importantly it's something we can all do something about."

The GBCSA seeks to inspire property owners to design, build and operate, better, greener, buildings this is a response to the significant role the built environment plays in damaging our already fragile environment – 40% of end-use energy consumption is from the built environment. Also, 12% of water consumption and 40% of the waste that goes to landfill is from the built environment.

"By transforming the way we design, build and operate buildings we can mitigate against climate change in a very effective way," says Wilkinson.

One of the wonderful outcomes is that green buildings are incredibly energy efficient. An analysis of South African Green Star certified commercial buildings earlier this year showed that, on average, these green buildings use 34% less electricity than a standard building.

The experience will be the same for residential buildings. "We've just completed a My Green Home" project in Cape Town as a demonstration of what can be achieved at the residential level," notes Wilkinson. "Simple behaviour change resulted in a 30% saving in electricity, and the family has, with some retrofitting of energy efficient fittings, achieved a saving in excess of 50%."

Wilkinson explains that when we ratchet up the findings of these two analyses, we get some really meaningful "mega" benefits – consider:

  • Eskom currently has 42 gigawatts of generation capacity.
  • It is generally accepted that the built environment accounts for about 40% of total energy consumption
  • Therefore the built consumes about 17 gigawatts
  • If the entire built environment saved 34% that would save about 6 gigawatts – more than Medupi will generate – and it won't take 12 years to come on stream.
  • But realistically, let's assume that we can only do this for half of the buildings out there – that's still a massive 3 gigawatts – or nearly one-and-a-half Koebergs.

"Many commercial property owners, and homeowners, began implementing ways of making their buildings more energy efficient, to various extents, after South Africa was first exposed to load-shedding in 2008," points out Wilkinson. "Seeing the benefits of energy savings and attractive green assets, many have continued their green building journey, and we commend them for this. But there's much more that can be done, and more of us that could be doing it."

"While we certainly need an effective solution for South Africa's electricity crisis, let's get far more conversation and emphasis on demand side initiatives, and how we can to "power up" these project and help take better care of our fragile planet," Wilkinson encourages.

Last modified on Friday, 19 December 2014 08:42

Most Popular

Growthpoint begins construction of the Kent residential apartments in KZN

Aug 26, 2021
Marius Els, Development Project Manager at Growthpoint Properties
Growthpoint Properties (JSE: GRT) has commenced the development of Kent, its first…

On Auction: Iconic Redevelopment Opportunity in Oranjezicht Cape Town

Aug 26, 2021
Currently operating as a 43 room guesthouse / backpackers.

On Auction: Spacious offices with multiple amenities in Norwood

Aug 26, 2021
Default Image
Spacious offices with multiple amenities on Auction in Norwood.

On Auction: Retail & Offices Property with unutilised bulk in Rivonia Johannesburg

Aug 26, 2021
The anchor tenant is Road Adventure Dirt (Pty) Ltd (RAD) which is the premier KTM…

On Auction: Commercial Historical Building in Cape Town

Aug 25, 2021
Cape Town Commercial Property for Sale - 3 Church Street
436sqm Commercial building comprising of retail and office space.

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.