SEA-SALGA-SACN ENERGY NETWORK MEETING A Sustainable Grid for All - Newsletter piece

In June 2022, the Urban Energy Network held its first in-person event since the Covid-19 lockdown. Themed “A sustainable grid for all” the session aimed to understand what the climate commitments of metros and other municipalities mean in renewable energy development terms and clarify what mandates and mechanisms municipalities can draw on towards contributing to meeting these targets.

City of Johannesburg EV Readiness Support Programme

SEA is one of the implementing partners to the UK PACT to undertake an electric vehicle readiness project in the City of Joburg. The primary goal of this project is to build the capacity of City of Johannesburg officials to be EV ready

SEA's comments on Consultation Paper 2 for the section 34 ministerial determinations

SEA offers the following comments to the recently published Consultation Paper regarding the procurement of generation capacity.SEA endorses the generation capacities and technologies reflected in the consultation paper and advises that implementation should proceed with haste.

State of Energy in South African Cities 2020 report

Cities are major drivers of energy demand in South Africa, influencing the country’s energy and emissions profile and socio-economic development of the country. Since the first State of Energy in South African Cities report in 2006, energy demand in cities has grown. Not only has growth been absolute, but Cities also represent a growing demand relative to the rest of the country. Sustainable energy development and climate response in cities are therefore critical to achieving a resource-efficient and low-carbon and equitable future for the country.

BLOG: Naseema Elias helping eThekwini Municipality be Africa’s most caring and liveable city

Naseema Elias is the Technical Officer for the C40 South African New Buildings Programme, seconded to eThekwini Municipality by Sustainable Energy Africa.

BLOG: Hlompho Vivian helping City of Tshwane to transition towards green buildings

Hlompho Vivian is a Technical Officer for the C40 South African New Buildings Programme, seconded to the City of Tshwane by Sustainable Energy Africa. The aim of the C40 Buildings Programme in South Africa is to support the City of Tshwane along with three other metropolitan municipalities in the country to go above & beyond current minimum building efficiency requirements, through the accelerated implementation of low carbon building actions.

VIDEO: Sustainable Energy Africa reaches its 20-year milestone – moving from strategy to action!

In 2020, Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) turned 20 – an exciting milestone, achieved thanks to the support of a strong network of partners and donors cultivated and sustained over the years.

SEA comments on the Ministerial Determination on the procurement of 2 500MW generation capacity from nuclear

Comments towards the concurrence with the Ministerial Determination on the procurement of 2 500MW generation capacity from nuclear: NERSA consultation paper published 23rd November 2020

Sustainable Energy Africa’s Comments On the Draft Regulations Amending the Electricity Regulations On New Generation Capacity, 2011

As an organisation that has supported South African local government for more than 20 years, SEA welcomes the notion that municipality can play a more active role in contributing towards the energy mix (either through generation or procurement) and the explicit reference to this in the amendments published.

Cape Town’s Energy Water Waste Forum puts the spotlight on stakeholder collaboration in meeting energy challenges for a carbon neutral future

The latest EWW event took place on 27 February 2020 and was titled “Towards a Carbon Neutral Cape Town”. The objective of Forum was to understand what the City (local government) and other public and private sector players are doing to achieve carbon neutrality.

SEA contributes to the REN21 Renewables in Cities Global Status Report

This report is the first comprehensive resource to collaboratively map the current trends and developments of renewable energy in cities. SEA is excited to be a contributor to the African component of this report, highlighting the progress towards implementing renewable energy in several African cities.

IRP 2019:Some implications for Local Government

The recently released Integrated Resource Plan 2019 directs the future of the electricity sector, and includes greater renewable energy and embedded generation allocations compared with the previous plan. This presentation by SALGA and SEA describes the IRP2019 with a focus on the implications for municipal distributors.

Second INVITATION TO APPLY FOR SUPPORT: Municipal Small-Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) program development

After the first successful invitation to participate in 2018, the second round of support is now available for approx. 25 municipalities to help establish or improve their SSEG processes, although preference will be given to municipalities that have not received support before and do not have SSEG processes in place. Support will be provided through training for staff (5 days), technical expert input and other on- and off-site support.

China’s pathway towards ultra-low energy buildings

Technical officers and city practitioners involved in the C40 South African Buildings Programme took to Beijing to learn about the efforts of China's C40 Cities on their journey to ultra-low energy buildings.

Green Building goes Net-Zero Carbon

To advance our mission and propel the industry, some of the founders of SEA together with an architect designed the Green Building to demonstrate how low carbon buildings could be designed, constructed, and occupied – and demonstrate commercial viability. The Green Building, which is the home of SEA, went Net-Zero Carbon in September 2018, and this blog post documents the journey of achieving this milestone.

SEA comments on the Integrated Resource Plan

SEA commends the Department of Energy on courageously taking the planning of the electricity sector in a new direction. SEA is primarily active in the establishment and maintenance of networks supporting the sustainable and equitable use of energy through local government in South Africa and the region. Our criticisms and comments are therefore made positively and constructively. The following comment is entirely that of SEA based on its experience in the sector.

What is the missing piece for building ‘green’?

Despite the emerging business case for ‘green’ or NZC buildings, the perception that such buildings have a higher capital cost with low returns on investment remains a barrier. An initial scoping exercise, in support of the C40 Buildings Programme, highlighted the common concern that ‘green’ or NZC building requirements would financially burden and constrain development, particularly in a time of recession. This prompted the implementing team at Sustainable Energy Africa with the eThekwini advisor for the C40-SEA New Buildings Programme, to explore the question in some detail, hoping to establish an evidence-base of the cost differential between ‘standard specification’ buildings and NZC buildings.

Deepening the conversation on the access of financing critically needed for climate response action at the local government level

Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) recently held a dialogue meeting under its Vertical Integration Low Emission Development (V-LED) project to deepen the conversation on accessing climate finance. The discussion interrogated the actual nuts and bolts of this highly sought after aspect required for mainstreaming climate response action into service delivery functions such as the opportunities; innovations and constraints; governance; and institutional issues.

Bridging the critical aspect of climate response and climate finance

Over the last two years, the Vertical Integration And Learning For Low-Emission Development (V-LED) project has been focusing on the much needed aspect of finance, to enable the mainstreaming of climate response into local government service delivery functions. Climate finance has been identified as one of the critical elements needed to implement climate strategies and action plans that many municipalities have recently developed and are ready to operationalise.

City of Cape Town engages business on achieving a resource efficient, Net Zero Carbon future at their September Energy, Water and Waste forum

The City of Cape Town’s Energy, Water and Waste forum was established in 2009 to enhance communications with the business sector on resource efficiency. It provides a platform for sharing city information, practical knowledge and support for taking action. This September Forum focussed on carbon neutral business strategies.

Just energy transitions – how do we get there?

The National Planning Commission is currently working on an exciting project to make headway in transitioning to an environmentally sustainable, climate change resilient, low-carbon and just society. The project is premised on Chapter 5 of the National Development Plan and thus seeks to bring about its implementation, through firstly reaching a common vision for the country and developing long-term pathways with concrete options for low-carbon economic and climate-resilient future through a series of facilitated dialogues.

Supporting the green economy of George through community skills development

SEA, in partnership with the Green Business College, convened a 5-day training course aimed at capacitating low-income, vulnerable households in George on how to start a hotbox manufacturing business. In particular, the training aimed at improving the energy welfare of women, who are the ones usually responsible for cooking, and are most exposed to indoor air pollution as a result of using unsafe fuels like paraffin, wood, and coal.

Illuminating homes for brighter futures: A case study on partnerships during the solar light kit distribution in Polokwane and Mthatha

Despite South Africa’s enormously successful electrification plan, 13% of households in the country remain without access to grid electricity and thus do not have safe, quality lighting which is necessary for human development. Through an SA Airlink initiative, SEA together with government and business partners were able to distribute 5000 solar light kits to vulnerable households.

Supporting budding green entrepreneurs in George

In July 2018, SEA in partnership with the Green Business College convened a 3-day advanced hotbox business skills training for the George local community to further upskill the budding hotbox entrepreneurs.

V-LED Africa Workshop

Save the Date: the V-LED Africa Workshop "Localising Climate Finance and Action" will be organised on 23-25 April, 2018 in the surroundings of Cape Town, South Africa. We invite experts to submit abstracts for a think piece or session input for the workshop. The closing date for abstracts is 12 February 2018. Contributions can be based on research, policy or practice that capture the latest African knowledge around local climate action for the achievement of the Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs), local climate finance and multi-level climate governance.

Aiming for Zero-Carbon New Buildings in South African metros

Four of South Africa’s metros – Cape Town, eThekwini, Johannesburg and Tshwane – are working towards the implementation of ambitious policies and innovative programmes that aim for net zero carbon emissions from newly-built buildings by 2050.

SEA comments on the Climate Change Bill

On the 8th of June 2018, the Department of Environmental Affairs published the Climate Change Bill for comment.

Will small-scale renewable energy crush municipal revenue?

Municipalities across the country have been concerned about revenue losses resulting from customer uptake of energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy. Using the most comprehensive model developed to date by Sustainable Energy Africa, they show that energy efficiency has the biggest impact on revenue and service delivery. To find out more about this and to calculate what your projected municipal losses are, read more here

Conflicting agendas - Reflections on a low-carbon development process in municipalities

The ICLEI Urban-LEDS project adopted a unique collaborative scenario planning approach to low-emission development planning in two South African municipalities. It reveals diverse insights into the challenges linking climate change to the future economic competitiveness of the region.

Innovative Densification: Showcasing the Joe Slovo National Flagship Housing Project

The Joe Slovo settlement in Cape Town has been used to demonstrate the Department of Human Settlements’ approach to sustainable housing under the IRDP initiative. Built at the same cost as a conventional RDP house, this pioneering densification project includes, amongst other interventions, improved thermal performance and energy services.

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.

Will wind energy in eThekwini be the end of birds?

With numerous wind farms emerging in the country, eThekwini investigates the effect of these farms on biodiversity within its Municipality. Using the Wind Repowering Project for the study, the research shows the importance of a location-specific investigation for realistic impacts.

Cape Town shares its lessons from installing energy efficient interventions at the Gallows Hill Building

The City of Cape Town is in the process of implementing sustainable energy efficiency measures in some of its public buildings. The first of these is the Gallows Hill Traffic Department building, which has implemented smart metering, rooftop PV systems and LED lighting. There have been clear benefits in electricity consumption reduction and interesting lessons have emerged.

Small Scale Embedded Generation: Solar PV challenges and approaches for local government

While municipalities are being plagued with applications for small scale solar PV they still face financial, technical and regulatory hurdles around this. Sustainable Energy Africa outlines these challenges and clarifies the steps necessary to ensure that SSEG introduction is undertaken in a way that does not threaten municipal revenue or compromise power system quality and safety.

Small Scale Embedded Generation – Update to the regulations

SALGA, AMEU and Eskom, with the support of GIZ, have been collaborating to provide NERSA with a formal submission of comments on the 'Standard Conditions for Small Scale Embedded Generation' issued by NERSA. Technical workshops relating to safety aspects of embedded generation are also underway.

One stop urban energy information portal - Urban Energy Support website

We announce with great excitement that Sustainable Energy Africa, in partnership with SALGA, have recently developed the Urban Energy Support website, which serves as an information portal of relevant documents and resources related to the urban energy sector. The website provides important practical tools and guides for municipalities to support the transition towards sustainable local energy development and a local carbon trajectory.

New research shows overwhelming savings in support of densification

A new model developed by SEA shows that if densification is applied to the Voortrekker Road Corridor in Cape Town, a 50% reduction in energy and carbon emissions can be realised, along with a financial saving of ZAR 2 billion per year by 2034 in that area.

The Small-Scale Embedded Generation conundrum - see how NMMB tackles the the issue

In 2012,Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality included embedded generation in their Green Economy Business Plan. Rather than viewing SSEG as a threat to their revenue, they have instead seen it as an enabler for long term economic development and have view thus made significant progress in allowing feed in into the grid. Read the case study to learn more about their experiences.

Can day light savings help with the electricity supply crisis? EThekwini investigates this highly controversial topic

EThekwini recently completed a pre-feasibility study on the effect of mandatory day light saving on electricity consumption. The study reveals that the potential for reductions in the residential sector is negligible but could have substantial benefits on electricity peak loads and traffic congestion if implemented properly as a voluntary option.

Study Confirms SACN Member Cities Are Sitting on a Goldmine of Energy Savings Potential

An important new study, has confirmed that cities are sitting on significant energy savings potential within their operations. It also shows that past energy efficiency retrofit programs in cities have been successful in improving efficiency. This report compiled by SEA provides an analysis of the potential energy savings that can be realised from energy efficiency in municipal facilities and operations. You can find the full report here. If you would like to calculate the energy efficiency potential for your municipality click here.

Cape Town uses an exciting partnership approach to develop a low carbon strategy for the central city

Cape Town Partnership, together with the Stockholm Environment Institute and SEA have developed a new way to tackle low carbon development within cities. By defining emission sources and using private public partnerships, a clear and implementable plan was developed. If you would like get involved contact the CTP offices.

The mysteries of energy data

Access to data is critical for future energy planning. SEA has been undertaking State of Energy reports for more than a decade and these reports rely heavily on detailed, accurate and up-to-date energy data. While our experience has shown that data collection and accessibility has improved considerably within the large municipalities, several data issues still plague the sector. These issues are highlighted here.

To frack or not to frack? Key economic questions for South Africa

WWF-SA has just recently published a report on the economic viability of shale gas fracking in South Africa. The report investigates the key economic drivers of fracking including the technological and market aspects of the entire process. Using these drivers WWF-SA has developed a framework for decision making in the fracking industry.

What will eThekwini look like in 2040?

Using computer modelling software, SEA explored different energy development paths for eThekwini municipality. After a grueling data collection exercise, several scenarios were investigated. These scenarios used a combination of energy efficiency and energy supply options taking into consideration essential economic, social and environmental factors. The research shows which paths should be followed to reach a sustainable future.

Hot off the press - State of Energy in South African Cities, 2015

This report produced by the City Energy Support Unit of Sustainable Energy Africa provides an update on the 2006 report. It attempts to contribute to the body of work detailing and documenting city work and the policy arena relating to energy development.

State of Energy in South African Cities 2015 report shows that SA cities could be on a low carbon trajectory

The 2015 State of Energy in Cities report completed by Sustainable Energy Africa, tracks energy consumption and carbon emissions for the country's highest energy-consuming municipalities over the past decade. The report, which includes comprehensive datasets for 18 of these municipalities, shows that metros in particular, are embracing sustainable energy practices and that there is a clear positive shift in energy profiles.

From poo to electricity - how much can SA wastewater plants produce?

SALGA and SAGEN have developed a tool to assist municipalities in determining the biogas potential from their wastewater treatment plants. The tool is designed to provide high-level results that will allow a municipality to decide if this technology should be pursued.

Demystifying household energy use in Polokwane

SAMSET has recently completed a household energy survey in Polokwane to assist the municipality in implementing its Energy and Climate Change Strategy. The results of this survey show that while electrification and multiple fuel uses remain a challenge, there is huge potential for energy savings through fuel switching, efficiency measures as well as improved urban form. Read the report here.

Going beyond basic energy access - How can local government empower communities

The UNDP has produced guidelines to assist national and local governments in creating sustainable communities by focusing on both energy and non-energy strategies that work in concert with each other. The EnergyPlus guidelines aim to ensure productive uses of modern energy thereby reducing energy poverty and cultivating self-sufficient thriving societies.

EThekwini launches a nifty web-based interactive tool to determine solar rooftop feasibility

Another first for eThekwini - As part of the Durban Solar City Framework to stimulate PV uptake, the Durban Solar Map allows residents to calculate the financial viability of a PV installation on their roof.

New project fosters climate change policy alignment amongst all spheres of government

adelphi, SEA and OneWorld have partnered in a four-year project which aims to strengthen vertical coordination relating to low-emission development amongst national, provincial and local government. The project aims to stimulate learnings and knowledge transfer between the spheres of government. It intends to strengthen the implementing capacities of local government in order to meet national climate change targets and priorities. Read about the key activities here.

USAID is partnering with the government of South Africa

to provide support to the government's green growth agenda. The Program is designed with a focus on strengthening public sector-related development planning and project development capabilities for low-emissions development.


SAMSET Africities 2015 Summit OPEN SESSION: Sustainable Energy in Urban Africa - the role of local government

SAMSET (Supporting Sub-Saharan Municipalities with Sustainable Energy Transitions) invites you to attend an Africities open session on the 30th of November at Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg from 15:00 - 18:00.

Lessons learnt - how can municipalities diversify their energy mix?

SALGA, GIZ and SEA have developed a series of six case studies on municipal renewable energy projects. These case studies identify the processes followed focusing on regulatory processes, and the success factors of each project.

How do households in Cape Town use energy?

SAMSET undertook a survey of energy use in high, mid and low income households in Cape Town.

Realising low carbon energy transitions

WWF-SA shows how a renewable energy mix of up to 20% can be materialised by 2030 through a series of reports which tackles the techno-economic aspects, socio-economics, small enterprise development and the industrialisation of CSP.

Mitigating climate change in the Western Cape

In response to the national Mitigation Potential Analysis, the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs has developed scenarios to determine the mitigation potential within the province. The study also identifies the role of municipalities in emissions reductions.

Showcasing low emission development solutions

ICLEI have recently completed the design and implementation of six showcase community projects around the country demonstrating that resource efficiency and sustainability is relevant and beneficial to people across the socio-economic spectrum.

Gender and urban energy poverty in South Africa

This report reviews the status quo of urban energy poverty in South African cities through a gender lens.

Sustainable Energy Solutions for Local Government - A Practical Guide

This is the third iteration of a practical how-to handbook for local municipalities on the roll-out of sustainable energy measures.

Sub-Saharan African cities are invited to join Covenant of Mayors initiative in the region

Sub-Saharan cities across the continent invited their peers to join Covenant of Mayors Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) to make a voluntarily political commitment to implement climate and energy actions in their communities and agree on a long-term vision to tackle 3 pillars, namely access to energy, mitigation and adaptation.