Regulator and Utility Support for DG in selected Sub-Saharan Countries

The program effort will result in development of clean and renewable energy sources and greater access to energy in targeted African countries, which will contribute to development of local businesses and communities. It will also contribute to access to cleaner and healthier environment and mitigation of climate change.

‘Supporting Sustainable Energy in South African Municipalities’ Programme

The 3-year Supporting Sustainable Energy in South African Municipalities Programme (SSESAM) is being implemented by Sustainable Energy Africa NPC (SEA) and funded through the South African German Energy Programme (SAGEN). A key component of SSESAM involves capacitating municipalities to respond pro-actively to the many challenges of the energy transition taking place, including the growth of Small-Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) and larger Embedded Generators (EG) on distribution networks. Video content will play a crucial component in assisting with this process.

Sustainable Energy Transition: Empowering Cities Through Expertise and Innovation

Municipal Sustainable Energy Transition Support Programme offered technical expertise to cities on implementing SSEG (policies, tariff design) and provided research into alternative business models.

Scaling Sustainable Energy and Climate Action in Sub-Saharan African Cities

Sub-Saharan African support is expanded under the Covenant of Mayors programme in 10 Cities in Africa, using knowledge transfer and technical assistance to develop Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plans.

SEA continues to extend its reach into sub-Saharan Africa. Under the Covenant of Mayors programme

SEA builds capacity within African cities using knowledge transfer and technical assistance to develop strategy plans.

SEA assists cities with Net-Zero Carbon bylaws

South African Buildings Programme provided technical support to C40-member Cities to develop bylaws for NZC buildings and embedded SEA staff four cities

Extending the capacity development model into Africa

A partnership with Ghana, Uganda and UK support agencies is now expanding our approach into developing African cities.

Reinvigorating the urban energy poverty dialogue

Energy poverty has always been at the core of SEA’s work, particularly in the area of sustainable housing and energy services development. SEA has researched key elements of urban energy poverty, and incorporates pro-poor measures into its city and national service delivery frameworks.

Implementation and the building of an urban energy platform amongst local and national stakeholders

A City Energy Support Unit was established to drive the new and challenging area of implementation of strategy commitments and the development of a national Urban Energy Platform. The scope has included vertical engagement with provincial and national government, policy participation, the development of provincial energy strategies and a role in the low carbon chapter of the National Development Plan.

Building capacity and developing strategies

SEA’s Sustainable Energy for Environment and Development (SEED) Programme gained momentum as the first nationwide urban energy learning network and capacity building programme. It deployed and supported energy advisors within several cities, several of whom now hold key government positions.

SEA is formed

Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) was established as a non-profit organisation. The energy-intensive urban areas were identified as a strategic focus of the new organisation because of their importance in addressing development and climate-related energy issues.

The Early Years

The Energy Development Group (EDG) – forerunner to SEA – was set up in 1993 and provided input into the energy arena in the early years by bringing issues of development, poverty and alternative energy into the picture.

Sustainable Energy Africa promotes the development of an equitable low carbon, clean energy economy throughout Southern Africa. Through our work we promote the more efficient use of conventional energy, the transition to more sustainable energies such as solar and wind power, access to safe and affordable energy for all, and a holistic view of sustainable development.

The context

64% of South Africa’s population reside in urban areas and 40% are located in the metropolitan municipalities. Given the growth that many cities are predicted to encounter over the next few decades, there is a unique window of opportunity to grow the city space according to sustainable planning and development principles, which will reduce carbon emissions and be of benefit to all people in the city. This would include implementing healthy densification (with associated resource efficiency implications of a more dense city), integrated transport and spatial planning approaches, sustainable housing delivery, addressing welfare in the ever increasing informal settlements, and moving towards cleaner and more efficient forms of energy production. Implementing these measures effectively will result in increased employment and economic growth through a sustainable green economy, while concurrently improving equity and social benefits for the citizens.

The recognition of energy as a key thread in the workings and function of a City has led to a dramatic shift at the local and national level. Energy issues at the local level, previously relegated solely to municipal electricity departments, have now been integrated into a range of service delivery and environmental departments and, in the larger Cities, new energy units have been established to plan and manage this key area. Emerging national policy also now explicitly recognises the role of local government in shaping energy demand into the future.

Municipalities need support to build their capacity, to provide them with detailed technical information, and to prioritise from the range of management options in relation to this new area of work. SEA has provided such support since its inception in 2000.

The work

Sustainable Energy Africa promotes equitable, low carbon, clean energy development in urban South Africa and Africa. Through our work we promote energy efficiency, the transition to more sustainable energies such as solar and wind power and access to safe and affordable energy services for all. We do this through research, capacity building, policy engagement and information dissemination.

South Africa is in an enviable position with regard to natural energy resources, particularly renewable energy sources. SEA is at the forefront of promoting sustainable, efficient and cost-effective energy whilst at the same time addressing poverty, climate change and environmental issues.

While SEA works with all three spheres of government, we focus particularly on local government as this is the seat of delivery, and where capacity shortages are greatest. Sustainable energy transitions require that municipalities take a more proactive role in energy management if the country is to meet the challenges of sustainable development.

Internal sustainability

We believe that a sustainable future is dependent not only on policy and implementation shifts at the level of government, the economy and civil society, but that it begins with our own organisation and with our own behaviour. Thus, in addition to looking at our organisational sustainability, we also look at our personal lives and carbon footprints.

We have designed and built our own offices: a ‘future-normal’ green building, which utilises natural and recycled materials, feeds renewable energy into the grid and is designed to make use of passive solar temperature regulation. This building uses 70% less energy than a standard commercial building.

We are proud of our work/life balance ethic because we believe quality of life and productivity are positively influenced when work, family, community and leisure are all seen as equally important. As a result we have introduced work-from-home, flexible hours, part-time work, and a culture of transparency where all staff have input into decision-making processes.