Energy efficiency industry created to the detriment of entrepreneurship
It is becoming more evident daily that we are experiencing an energy efficiency entitlement epidemic, where hand-outs are expected.
So writes Yolanda de Lange of Energy Cybernetics: Eskom DSM and similar energy efficiency ‘assistance-type’ programmes has in my opinion, in a majority of companies, created a culture of expectation, even before initiatives are taken to implement energy efficiency projects.
No sustainable mind-shift
The DSM approach, whilst creating significant awareness and being overwhelmingly successful to ensure the lights stay on when needed – has not actually created a sustainable mind-shift. But it did what it had to do when it had to do it.
Yes, an ESCO and energy ‘expert’ market quickly mushroomed when Eskom DSM started their programmes. Now that DSM is gone, most of these knowledgeable companies and skills that have been developed are virtually ‘hanging in the air,’ so to speak, and are struggling to make ends meet.
What’s in it for me?
Industry is just not as keen to embark on energy efficiency projects, as they are not able to “get something out of it”, other than the savings. ESCO’s and other energy consulting-type firms and entrepreneurs that relied on the DSM programme have had to become very creative in changing their offerings to be able to successfully quote for jobs.
On a daily basis we receive enquiries at the Energy Training Foundation (EnTF), and of late the questions asked have moved from mere, “What is the course about?”, followed by a booking or not, or, “Where can I buy product ‘X’?”, or helping to find a Certified Professional for a project; to in the last few months me feeling like a career guidance officer brainstorming with enquirers as to how they can use their training or qualification they received from the AEE to get business in.
Yes, there are some tenders out. Some emulating another ‘assistance-type’ solution to clients, but this energy industry is a tough one, which is the backbone of the ‘green skills’ and environmental jobs the government wants to grow. Tenderers are finding that they have to tender and quote to the bone, offering lean quotations, whilst having to cover increasing expenses to keep businesses afloat.
No holistic focus on sustainable energy management
Is the problem not that the real benefits of sustainably implementing energy management to ensure continuous energy efficiency with all the related benefits have not been the focus, but rather one project at a time? Offering a client a properly constructed energy management plan is the only way one can make sure the project(s) that have been implemented remain optimal in delivering what the client needs, and more importantly, it gives the energy market a lot more credibility than just churning out once-off projects.
Besides enabling South Africans to become internationally qualified as energy professionals through the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), at the EnTF we are passionate about making sure companies get started correctly so they can continuously benefit from optimal energy management. Which is why we believe ISO50 001:2011 Energy Management System standard is the only way to go – whether it is for Certification purposes, to ensure that continuous benefits from energy efficiency improvements are gained. We offer workshops where we have skilled staff to get you going towards ISO50 001 in three full days, in which all your key staff participate and so understand the journey your company needs to be on to become truly sustainable.
Maximum savings targets for sustained long-term return
This approach provides the client with enough information to make informed decisions to implement an energy management policy and plan according to a standardized approach. This in order to set and meet maximum energy savings targets and achieve sustained long-term and maximum return on any energy efficiency and renewable investments. After the session the client will have a clearer understanding of:
- What needs to be done on the site to achieve optimal energy management
- Where energy could be saved at significant energy use areas
- Estimates of what energy savings could be expected
- What needs to be further investigated for more accurate energy saving targets
- Who needs to be trained and to which level
- Which services would need to be outsourced
- Which services could be catered for in-house
- How much needs to be invested in the short, medium and long-term
- Which technologies and retrofits need to be considered
- Which incentives and rebates could be pursued
- What is required to continuously save energy
For course dates for next year, please click here.
Source: The Green Times