The first of its kind - SALGA launches the energy efficiency and renewable energy strategy for local government

The innovative strategy developed by Sustainable Energy Africa was launched by SALGA and the Swiss Development Cooperation earlier this year. The strategy was developed using a bottom up consultation process which involved all municipalities in the country. Eight priority areas were identified.

SALGA launches the energy efficiency and renewable energy strategy for local government
Author: Aurelie Ferry, SALGA

In an attempt to promote energy efficiency in municipalities, SALGA launched the Local Government Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Strategy earlier this year in Pretoria. SALGA, together with the Swiss Development Partnership piloted the development of energy strategies in five municipalities: King Sabata Dalindyebo; Polokwane; Sol Plaatje; Rustenburg and Mbombela.

The strategy – a joint initiative by SALGA and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) – is aimed at developing capacity in municipalities in the fields of energy and renewable energy. The strategy was developed by Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA), who consulted municipalities through provincial workshops organised by SALGA provincial offices, to develop the strategy in a bottom-up approach.

The strategy is indeed multidimensional and can be adapted to the needs and capacity of all municipalities. The strategy moreover provides directions as to how SALGA can assist and support municipalities to take this work forward. Eight areas of strategic priority have been identified by municipalities, on which SALGA can provide a ‘support and coordination role’. Partnerships with relevant stakeholders, and in particular with national departments or other institutions, are crucial for the successful implementation of the strategy.

The strategy first identifies that a sustainable energy governance framework would enable municipalities to work in the sector with a clear mandate, and resources and capacities dedicated to the fulfilment of the mandate. The adoption by municipalities of local level policies and plans, included in the Integrated Development Plans, should be promoted and facilitated.

Municipalities indicated their willingness to lead by example by implementing their own energy efficiency initiatives within the municipal built environment. Research so far has shown that the street lighting and the water and wastewater sector provide the greatest potential for successful implementation of energy efficiency (EE) projects. The second priority area mentioned by municipalities was providing sustainable energy access for all their citizens.

After these priority areas, which should be implemented across the board by all municipalities, five other strategic priority areas have been identified in the strategy, which all carry huge potential and where much support is needed to ensure successful participation of local government in these sub-sectors. This includes:

For each of the priority areas, the strategy identifies existing initiatives and programmes and further activities which could be undertaken by municipalities. It further indicates the supporting role which could be performed by SALGA, in partnership with relevant stakeholders.

The wide range of activities identified shows that energy efficiency and renewable energy questions are cross-cutting and need to be integrated in different sectors and at different levels. The strategy is very comprehensive and touches on a wide range of areas and sub-sectors. It paves an innovative, ambitious and clear way forward for local government and now needs to be disseminated and implemented.

The SALGA EE/RE strategy for local government is available here