German energy plan to address crisis in South Africa

Feb 08, 2008 01:00 AM

A German-South African energy project which consists of sub-projects is to address the direct energy concerns in the short and medium terms, which include solar heater roll out programmes.
Speaking at the Enerkey Research Project briefing in the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Professor Harold Annegarn, co-principal investigator in the project, said his university was working with German researchers and government with the aim of developing strategies for sustainable energy transformation.

Professor Annegarn said one of the early significant successes was that the Enerkey programme which has formed a closer relationship in the field of energy environment.
"This sub-project will assist the cities to devise economic and business models to install 200 000 solar water heaters within two years, a building retro-fit programme to make existing buildings more energy efficient. This will also train managers and technologists to maintain buildings, projects to analyse vehicle energy use, congestion and air pollution emissions," said Professor Annegarn.

Chosen by the University of Stuttgart in Germany, the cities of Gauteng (Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg) were seen to have been merging into a continuous urban metropolitan area, essentially constituting a megacity.
Commenting on the current electricity crisis in the country, Professor Annegarn said: "As we all aware of the current energy crisis facing our country, I regret that as a research programme, we do not have a fast-food take away solution to the crisis."

Germany and South Africa have common concerns about urbanisation, landscape settlement distribution, energy provisioning and distribution as both countries need to investigate the environmental impact assessment of these processes, said Professor Annegarn.
Sharing this common interest on sustainable transformation of societies, a German delegation of researchers and political academics, led by German Education and Research Minister Dr Annette Schavan came to attendspecial briefing on the progress of the project.

Pointing out the objectives of the project, Professor Annegarn said establishing a research network of South Africa and German institutions in sustainable research while demonstrating an integrated approach which included technical, economic, ecological and socio-economic aspects was one of the key issues.
"This example of German-South African partnership shows international co-operation at its best, sustained programmes over longer periods based on genuine partnership and not just fashionable science," he said.

German Education and Research Minister Dr Schavan assured the University of Johannesburg the two countries will continue working together as a team. Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica announced government's appeal to use of solar power in new houses, flats and businesses, amongst others, which were contained in the proposed new energy-saving regulations which are to be included in the Electricity Regulation Act.
"The aim of this campaign is to change behaviour of consumers and we urge to switch off unoccupied buildings especially after working hours as this goes for street and highway lighting during broad day light," Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica said, launching the National Energy Efficiency Campaign.

According to the new regulations, incandescent lights will not be accepted by the department and only the use of energy efficient light bulbs will be advocated, lights in an unoccupied building, especially after working hours, will have to be switched off.
"We are committed not only international co-operation between science and industry, but also economic and ecological social issues as we have to find amicable solutions to the problem," the minister said at the time.

Source / BuaNews
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