There are fears of a global energy supply crisis affecting the security of electricity and fuel, precipitated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while uncertainty around Russia’s oil supply, which is the world’s third-largest producer, has driven up the price of oil.
In addition, thanks to the efforts of European countries to reduce their dependence on Russian gas, energy efficiency will become the most effective tool to address high demand and low capacity or supply, says the National Institute South -African Energy Development (SANEDI) Energy Efficiency and GM Corporate Communications Barry Bredenkamp.
“Due to massive infrastructure efforts and the inevitable delays needed to increase local power capacity, countries are once again realizing the need to reduce demand from the power grid and are calling on businesses and the public to donate priority to energy efficiency.
“This will improve energy security, while allowing consumers and businesses to save on energy costs in the wake of growing economic uncertainty, rising oil prices and other inflationary pressures weighing on consumers” , did he declare.
At the same time, climate change will not stop, with energy security taking precedence over sustainability. As countries consider delaying the transition from coal and other fossil fuels, energy efficiency, which reduces consumption, will continue to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Efficiency measures have proven to be one of the least expensive interventions against climate change, with multiple benefits for consumers, notes Bredenkamp.
As winter approaches in South Africa and heating demand is expected to rise dramatically, state-owned power utility Eskom is starting to feel the pinch of rising diesel prices amid tight global oil supplies. The costs of soaring diesel prices will inevitably be passed on to downstream consumers, says Bredenkamp.
Fuel data released mid-month by the Central Energy Fund predicts fuel prices could reach R24/ℓ for petrol and R23.60/ℓ for diesel. If the estimates bear fruit, South Africa will experience the highest fuel prices in history this winter.
“By removing demand from the national grid and Eskom, electricity users can potentially reduce the risk of load shedding and give the power station the ability to continue critical maintenance of its power plants, while reducing the need for ‘use diesel turbines when the units fire,’ says Bredenkamp.
SANEDI has a mandate to promote and advance energy efficiency and offers tips and methods to improve energy efficiency for commercial and residential consumers on its website. SANEDI translates its mandate into projects that encourage and support energy efficiency through taxes and projects such as the Bridging the Energy Efficiency in Buildings Information Gap initiative, called Bigeye.
South Africa’s first Energy Efficiency Strategy was published in 2014 to improve energy efficiency practices and regulations in energy-consuming sectors of the economy.
The strategy recognizes the economic benefits of improving energy efficiency, which has been well documented since the first oil crisis in the early 1970s. This happened again in 1993 when the oil crisis put energy efficiency back energy in the spotlight, as a mechanism to compensate for limited oil supplies as tensions mount between the United States and Iran.
“Since then, key partnerships like those between SANEDI and the Equipment Energy Performance Organization, the Collaborative Appliance Labeling and Standards Program, have worked to implement new or related to consumer labelling, quality and performance standards, and the promotion of household energy efficiency. appliances and commercial equipment,” says Bredenkamp.