What did you learn this month? Well, I learnt that a vital South African energy efficiency programme for business is about to run out of cash, and could grind to a halt.
The Private Sector Energy Efficiency (PSEE) scheme has helped businesses small and massive to identify ways to cut down on energy use at a time when our public utility Eskom cannot cope with demand.
However, the main funder for this initiative was the British government, which is now pulling the plug. Surely this cannot be because the magic of Mandela has been replaced by the sleaze of the Zuma era?
Now, energy efficiency is a good thing, because you can achieve it without the scale of investment which might be required to generate new capacity through renewable energy schemes. Companies which pursue this route are not just helping themselves, but are also helping to solve this country’s biggest capacity challenge.
So what is to be done? An obvious solution came from green energy expert Duane Newman from Cova Advisory, who addressed a conference being held last week by the PSEE – an event which was more a celebration of success than a wake to bury the programme.
Newman suggested that SA government should step up to the mark and provide the necessary funds to keep the programme going.
A lot of work has been done, a lot of expertise has been built up, and the benefits of keeping the PSEE programme going must surely be obvious. Certainly, it was praised by Eskom’s participant in the conference Andrew Etzinger.
And there was a small ray of hope from the government official who read out the Energy Minister’s speech (she presumably didn’t have the energy to attend in person?) He said that ways were being looked at to keep the scheme afloat, and I suspect that if this is the case we might see some sign of this in this week’s mini-budget.
However, one does wonder why there is this last-minute panic, as it seems the UK made clear two years ago that its funding would draw to a close by the end of next month.
ZA Confidential attends a lot of events, pleasurable and awful. On balance, this event was well staged, with useful breakaway sessions, an MC who kept his ego under control, and edible food. They stuck to the schedule, and I was pleasantly surprised by the set-up in the Wanderers Club. My one gripe is becoming a major concern – the conference room had hardly any power points, which is a major drawback, as the paper notebook has now largely been replaced by electronic devices.
Tweet of the Day:
Jewish Comedians (@JewishComedians): Rodney Dangerfield: My wife only has sex with me for a purpose. Last night she used me to time an egg. | #Quotes
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