The benefits of capitalising on human development

Capacity – or human capital – development, as defined by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is “the process through which individuals, organisations and societies obtain, strengthen and maintain their capability to set and achieve their development objectives over time.”

Human Capital Development (HCD) in the sustainability space thus focuses on addressing the obstacles that inhibit people and organisations from realizing their developmental goals, and on adapting their training methods to ensure long-term mindset shifts. One area in which this is taking place on a global scale is in the area of industrial development. Concepts such as resource (in particular energy and water) efficiency and cleaner production methods require a whole new skill set, and in developing nations these skills are even more critical to the ultimate goal.

Global cleaner production alliance

The UN’s Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and Environment Programme (UNEP) have established 47 national cleaner production centres (NCPCs) in developing economies over the past 20 years. The NCPCs foster industrial development where economic growth and increased standard of living include reduced resource use, pollution, waste and impact on nature and communities via resource efficiency and cleaner production (RECP) programmes.

Local sustainability resource for industry

South Africa, the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA) is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and hosted by the CSIR to oversee industrial sustainability in key manufacturing sectors. Focused on energy, water and materials efficiency, and waste management, the NCPC-SA advises industry on resource efficient business practices, offering support through in-plant assessments and training.

The NCPC-SA’s sector-focus approach is aligned to government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), to ensure industry competitiveness, economic growth and job creation for SA industry. The nine industry sectors currently spotlighted are: agro-processing; automotives; chemicals, plastics fabrication, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals; clothing, textiles, footwear and leather; pulp and paper; metals fabrication, capital goods and transport equipment; green industries and waste management; tourism and hospitality; and mining (Industrial Energy Efficiency / IEE Project only).

Local impact – global networking

The NCPC-SA is a member of UNIDO and UNEP’s global resource efficiency and cleaner production network (RECPnet) and plays a leading role in the African Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production (ARSCP), with the NCPC-SA Director currently president of the African body.

Due to the energy crisis and ever-rising costs of energy both locally and globally, the NCPC-SA is a stalwart supporter of SA industry’s ability to manage its energy consumption.

In partnership with UNIDO, the NCPC-SA promotes and implements Energy Management Systems (EnMS) and Energy Systems Optimization (ESO) through the Industrial Energy Efficiency Improvement Project in South Africa (IEE Project).

Participating companies are equipped with skills to improve energy performance and offered opportunities to showcase their successes.

Developing young sustainability leaders for national industrial impact

The NCPC-SA is actively developing and transferring the skills required to build up the country’s capacity, so as to ensure more sustainable, greener industries. The availability of suitably skilled manpower is critical to the sustainability of RECP initiatives in industry.

Four young project managers from the NCPC-SA recently completed international HCD training with colleagues from fellow developing-nation NCPCs in Colombia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and Viet Nam.

The 6-month e-learning course in ‘Capacity Development for Promoting a Resource Efficient and Environment- oriented Private Sector’ was run by German development agency GIZ for RECPnet. Via interactive online group sessions and follow-up assignments, the team honed their strategy development, communication and marketing, project acquisition (fundraising, proposal writing), process and project management, as well as soft skills.

The four young change agents – Faith Mkhacwa, Thembi Kodisang, Lee-Hendor Ruiters and Pearl Thusi, all project managers at the NCPC-SA – found eye-opening value in their exposure to global experts and counterparts from other nations, offering a deeper understanding of the national and global significance of their daily toils.

The HCD project sets out to strengthen the capabilities of these NCPCs to improve on institutionally and financially sustainable, demand-driven services to SMEs and to enhance their professional exchange and learning in the North-South and South-South knowledge exchange via RECPnet.

The highlight of the programme was a recent trip to Germany, where the four were exposed to the learnings and expertise of the other participating NCPCs in a week-long feedback workshop.

Reuben Kadalie, NCPC-SA Operations Manager, mentored the four young managers. “Sustainability is a long-term journey and NCPC-SA has an important role to play in equipping South African industry in that space.

I am excited about the leaders that are being developed within the NCPC-SA and how their professional exchange and networks have been enhanced,” he said.

Manufacturers (particularly those in the key sectors serviced by the NCPC-SA) can email to enquire about an RECP assessment, hosting an NCPC-SA intern or resource and energy efficiency training.

“Information-sharing with other NCPC’s in this course gave us a better understanding of where there’s room for innovation and other value-adding services we can offer
to South African industry, without compro- mising the quality of our current offerings. NCPC-SA is not just about RECP and Industrial Energy Efficiency. Rather, it has the ability to become South Africa’s environ- mental hub and has the right team, with the expertise to become just that.

While we grow, we are taking a strategic approach in order to ensure sustainable success. I have learned that it will take more than the NCPC-SA management team for positive change and growth to take place – each staff member plays a critical role and needs to be well-equipped to utilise our technical and soft skills.

People cannot be fully equipped to grow with an organisation without being empowered to align their thinking with the organisation’s vision and strategy, no matter how many masters or doctoral degrees they have obtained. Qualifications alone are not sufficient to develop individuals for future developments within the RECP space, but HCD will certainly assist the team to learn and apply new ideas, competencies, skills and attitudes.” – Faith Mkhacwa, HCD course participant

Faith Mkhacwa, PearlThusi ;Thembi Kodisang (front); Reuben Kadalie (Ops Mgr); Lee- Hendor Ruiters (back).
Faith Mkhacwa, PearlThusi ;Thembi Kodisang (front); Reuben Kadalie (Ops Mgr); Lee- Hendor Ruiters (back).

“Although participating centres are from different parts of the world with varied business models, underlying challenges remain the same. A clear understanding of each centre’s goals and objectives in the long, medium and short terms is critical for its success. Service offerings need to be constantly strengthened and diversified to service industries stepping into greening and resource efficiency.

The face-to-face workshop in Germany promoted interaction amongst participants, and we could exchange best practices and information on projects, resulting in the request that an exchange programme be set up amongst NCPC’s, to promote further collaboration. My overall impression from the course is that, despite the successes and challenges that NCPC’s face, it is always important to articulate transparently and plan properly our goals and objectives to ensure that investors, clients and the organisation can work together towards the success of the organisation.” -Lee-Hendor Ruiters, HCD course participant

Renewables Could Revolutionize African Energy

Africa is experiencing a revolution towards cleaner energy through renewables but the story has hardly been told to the world, says Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Steiner, who had been advocating for renewable energy at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Lima, said Africa is on the right path toward a low carbon footprint by tapping into its plentiful renewable resources – hydro, geothermal, solar and wind.

“There is a revolution going on in the continent of Africa and the world is not noticing it. You can go to Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, and Mozambique. I think we will see renewable energy being the answer to Africa’s energy problems in the next fifteen years,” Steiner said in an interview with IPS.

Sharing the example of the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, Steiner told IPS that the decision was taken that “if UNEP is going to be centred with its offices in the African continent on the Equator, there can be no reason why we are not using renewable energy. So we installed photovoltaic panels on our roof which we share with UN Habitat, 1200 people, and we produce 750,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, that is enough for the entire building to operate.”

He noted that although it will take UNEP between eight and 10 years to pay off the installation, UNEP will have over 13 years of electricity without paying monthly or annual power bills. “It is the best business proposition that a U.N. body has ever made in terms of paying for electricity for a building,” he said.

According to Steiner, the “revolution” is already happening in East Africa, especially in Kenya and Ethiopia which are both targeting renewable energy, especially geothermal energy.

“Kenya plans to triple its electricity generation up to about 6000 megawatts in the next five years. More than 90 percent of the planned power is to come from geothermal, solar and wind power,” he said.

Kenya currently runs a geothermal power development corporation which invites tenders from private investor bids and is establishing a wind power firm likely to be the largest in Africa with a capacity of 350 megawatts of power under a public-private partnership.

In Ethiopia, expansion of the Aluto-Langano geothermal power plant will increase geothermal generation capacity from the current 7 MW to 70 MW. The expansion project is being financed by the Ethiopian government (10 million dollars), a 12 million dollar grant from the Government of Japan, and a 13 million dollar loan from the World Bank.

Renewable energy has costs but also benefits

Phillip Hauser, Vice President of GDF Suez Energy Latin America, told IPS that geothermal power is a good option for countries in Africa with that potential, but it comes with risks.

“It is very site-dependent. There can be geothermal projects that are relatively cost efficient and there are others that are relatively expensive. It is a bit like the oil and gas industry. You have to find the resource and you have to develop the resource. Sometimes you might drill and you don’t find anything – that is lost investment,” Hauser told IPS.

Steiner admitted that like any other investment, renewable energy has some limitations, including the need for upfront initial capital and the cost of technology, but he said that countries with good renewable energy policies would attract the necessary private investments.

“We are moving in a direction where Africa will not have to live in a global fuel market in which one day you have to pay 120 dollars for a barrel of crude oil, then the next day you get it at 80 dollars and before you know it, it is doubled,” he said.

“So if you are in Africa and decide to exploit your wind, solar and geothermal resources, you will get yourself freedom from the global energy markets, and you will connect the majority of your people without waiting for thirty years until the power lines cross every corner of the country,” Steiner added.

A recent assessment by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) of Africa’s renewable energy future found that solar and wind power potential existed in at least 21 countries, and biomass power potential in at least 14 countries.

The agency, which supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, has yet to provide a list of countries with geothermal power potential but almost all the countries around the Great Rift Valley in south-eastern Africa – Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania among others – have already identified geothermal sites, with Kenya being the first to use a geothermal site to add power to its grid.

IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin told IPS that the agency’s studies shows that not only can renewable energy meet the world’s rising demand, but it can do so more cheaply, while contributing to limiting global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius – the widely-cited tipping point in the climate change debate.

He said the good news in Africa is that apart from the resources that exist, there is a growing body of knowledge across African expert institutions that would help the continent to exploit its virgin renewable energy potential.

What is needed now, he explained, is for countries in Africa to develop the economic case for those resources supported by targeted government policies to help developers and financiers get projects off the ground.

The IRENA assessment found that in 2010, African countries imported 18 billion dollars’ worth of oil – more than the entire amount they received in foreign aid – while oil subsidies in Africa cost an estimated 50 billion dollars every year.

New financing models for renewable energy

According to Amin, renewable energy technologies are now the most economical solution for off-grid and mini-grid electrification in remote areas, as well as for grid extension in some cases of centralized grid supply.

He argued that rapid technological progress, combined with falling costs, a better understanding of financial risk and a growing appreciation of wider benefits mean that renewable energy would increasingly be the solution to Africa’s energy problem.

In this context, Africa could take on new financing models that “de-risk” investments in order to lower the cost of capital, which has historically been a major barrier to investment in renewable energy, and one such model would include encouragement for green bonds.

Green bonds are the recent innovation for renewable energy investments,” said Amin. “Last year we reached about 14 billion dollars, this year there is an estimate of about 40 billion, and next year there is an estimate of about 100 billion dollars in green finance through green bonds. Why doesn’t Africa take advantage of those?” he asked.

During the conference in Lima, activist groups have been urging an end to dependence on fossil fuel- and nuclear-powered energy systems, calling for investment and policies geared toward building clean, sustainable, community-based energy solutions.

“We urgently need to decrease our energy consumption and push for a just transition to community-controlled renewable energy if we are to avoid devastating climate change,” said Susann Scherbarth, a climate justice and energy campaigner with Friends of the Earth Europe.

Godwin Ojo, Executive Director of Friends of the Earth Nigeria, told IPS that “we urgently need a transition to clean energy in developing countries and one of the best incentives is globally funded feed-in tariffs for renewable energy.”

He said policies that support feed-in tariffs and decentralized power sources should be embraced by both the most- and the least-developed nations.

Backed by a new discussion paper on a ‘global renewable energy support programme’ from the What Next Forum, activists called for decentralized energy systems – including small-scale wind, solar, biomass mini-grids communities that are not necessarily connected to a national electricity transmission grid.

Source: Oil

The Role of Infrastructure in a Sustainable Society

Green Business Journal 9 (2013)

By Kristan Wood

“Infrastructure is probably the single most important need for Africa to develop.” These are the words of Stephen Hayes, president of the Corporate Council on Africa – a major U.S. business organisation linking the United States with Africa. The development of infrastructure is essential for the creation of a healthy, happy and thriving economic climate in communities. Future endorsements, successes and the enhancement of sustainable development rely on an efficient infrastructure programme within any given country. Particularly in developing countries such as South Africa, the planning, design and construction of sustainable infrastructure is of vital importance – how else are we to connect and grow as a nation?

If infrastructure is to be of benefit to future generations and contribute positively to the potential of a country, it must be sustainable. Infrastructure in South Africa can and should be viewed as an investment into economic growth, and therefore, it is not only the short term provision of infrastructure that holds weight, but it is the planning and designing which will take full account of its own impact and its operational needs and use. A responsible standard of sustainable infrastructure plans and designs needs to be set in both the short and long term and those who set the standard are held liable for designs that benefit not just the public, but the environment as well. What precautions and plans has South Africa proposed in an effort to achieve these aims?

National Infrastructure Plan:

The South African Government adopted a National Infrastructure Plan in 2012. With the plan, the government aim to transform the country’s economic landscape while simultaneously creating significant numbers of new jobs, and strengthening the delivery of basic services. The plan also supports the integration of African economies.

Government will, over the three years from 2013/14, invest R827 billion in building new and upgrading existing infrastructures, Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan announced in his 2013 Budget Speech. These investments will improve access by South Africans to healthcare facilities, schools, water, sanitation, housing and electrification. On the other hand, investment in
the construction of ports, roads, railway systems, electricity plants, hospitals, schools and dams will contribute to faster economic growth.

Gordhan delivered a good budget from an infrastructure point of view with budgeted spending for public-sector infrastructure totalling R827 billion over the next three years. But the challenge for the state and South Africa is implementation and delivery on the ground and the huge amounts of the budget that are wasted each year through corruption and chronic implementation.

South Africa has spent R642 billion over the last three years on infrastructure projects in the public sector and a substantial number of projects are in progress or about to get under way. Weaknesses in planning and capacity, however, continue to delay implementation of some projects. But Gordhan said steps were being taken to address the problem: “Government is improving capacity to plan, procure, manage and monitor projects, as well as working more closely with the private sector at various stages of the project development cycle. Building technical capacity in the public sector is a multi-year effort, and initiatives to strengthen these functions have expanded.”

Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID)

The GDID Green Programme starts from the premise that achieving a green Gauteng is a major challenge, as well as a key opportunity. It is a challenge because it requires a fundamental shift away from historical ways of organising and managing our society and economy. Accelerating climate change; resource constraints and rapidly rising prices; the sudden re-appearance of environmental risks that were previously not accounted for – are all key drivers for change. There are major market opportunities and many decent jobs that can be realised from building a green economy. And fundamental changes in the way we live will bring healthier, happier and more resilient communities and households – something that has huge value evenin isolation.

GDID has embarked on a project to quan- tify the usable roof space in all government owned buildings in the Gauteng province. It is estimated that all government buildings have approximately 8 million square meters of roof tops that could be used for the mass roll-out of solar panels. If all the roof spaces are utilised, up to 300MW of electricity could be generated from public buildings alone. The department also believes that a mass roll-out of solar panels in the province can be used to spark a massive demand for solar PV technologies. Gauteng can utilise this demand to spark the development of a solar manufacturing industry in the province. Experience gained in South Korea indicates that a solar panel manufacturing facility can be built from a demand of approximately 12MW/month and GDID’s potential demand alone could sustain a standard factory for a period of two years. A partnering with Eskom has also been approved to audit and retrofit all government buildings with energy efficient technologies including lighting, air conditioning and water heating.

South Africa’s infrastructure plan sufficiently incorporates an inclusive social agenda. It begins from the premise that
it is not enough to merely select a limited number of economic firms or clusters for targeted green support, but that rather the sustainability of our economy depends on a fundamental transformation in number of sectors. “These cross-cutting sectors include air quality, climate change, economic development, energy, food security, land use, transport, water and sanitation, and waste, which together form the foundation for a true green economy,” reports GDID. “The department’s view is that investing in these sectors will promote economic growth so that green jobs become the norm, rather than add-ons to inherently unsustainable development. This broader shift in its development path will see Gauteng at the forefront of sustainable economic development.”

Green Building Council of South Africa

The Green Building Council of South Africa is an independent, non-profit company that was formed in 2007 to lead the greening of South Africa’s built environment. The Council provides tools, training, knowledge, connections and networks to promote green building practices across the country and seeks to build a national movement that will change the way the world is built.

But what does the concept of green building entail? Green building incorporates design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of development on the environment and people. Green buildings are energy efficient, resource efficient and environmentally responsible. The green building movement addresses what are becoming the major issues of our time: excess energy consumption and the related CO2 emissions from burning carbon fuels; the pollution of air, water and land; the depletion of natural resources; and the disposal of waste.

Sustainable Infrastructure

It is possible to then deduce that sustainable infrastructure design is not just about incorporating new infrastructure into society – it is about the rehabilitation, reuse and optimisation of existing infrastructure. This includes the renewal of existing infrastructure, the long-term economic analysis and considered benefits of infrastructure, energy and cost mitigation in the building process, the protection of existing infrastructure from the environment as well as the conservation of the environment during material selection and the building process. Sustainable infrastructure and responsible design should balance all social, economic and environmental issues.

In both developed and developing nations globally, a lack of, or compromised access to clean water, sanitation, energy, transportation and various facilities severely compromises the growth of the economy. Basic infrastructure is therefore not a luxury that can be implemented once a country is established, but a necessity for supporting and creating a sustainable economic environment.

The stipulation of appropriate infrastructure is an urgent and ongoing requirement not just for South Africa or Africa, but on a global level.


Running on empty – diesel was the last straw

Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona apologised to the nation on Monday after four days of rolling power cuts disrupted Christmas shopping, costing the retail sector dearly and inconveniencing clients all over the country.

Matona disclosed that a delay in ordering diesel was the last straw that pushed the country unexpectedly into load shedding on Thursday.

Eskom’s two open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) are currently being used for up to 17 hours per day, which is way beyond what they were designed to do. Ankerlig power station uses 425 000 l/h and Gourikwa 236 000l/h. In November alone Eskom burnt about 140 million litres of diesel, Matona said.

He said diesel is a huge factor determining Eskom’s financial health and the financial director keeps a close eye on the cost. A delay in getting the green light from finance delayed the placement of the diesel order. These “internal processes need to be better aligned,” he said.

This was the main contributing factor for load shedding on Thursday, Matona said. It came against the background of unacceptably high breakages in the power stations and depleted water resources at the pump storage stations.

The situation continued on Friday and deepened when the OCGTs ran completely dry and a further 1 000 MW generation capacity was lost when three coal powered units tripped and a unit at the embattled Majuba power station went off-line due to coal supply problems.

These issues carried over into the weekend and on Monday a power cable to the mobile coal feeder system was cut accidentally at Majuba, as the remains of the coal silo that collapsed on November 1 were being demolished.

Matona expected most of the short-term problems to be sorted out by Monday night, adding 1 700MW to the system. He said load shedding is probable on Thursday and Friday and a medium risk will remain until December 15. It will reduce thereafter until mid-January, he said.

A total of 6 037 MW is expected to return to service by the end of the month, promising a stable January, but the risk will increase for February and March.

Eskom’s current projections show 17 days in February and 16 in March with a high probability of load shedding, as money for diesel runs out.

Matona said Eskom’s diesel budget is fast running out. The rate of diesel consumption has increased disproportionately and if it continues Eskom may need more money, which would be recovered through increased tariffs.

He said at current projections the diesel cost for the financial year will be equal to the R10 billion spent in the previous financial year.

Eskom executive for sustainability Dr Steve Lennon said Eskom will look for savings on other budget items that can be reallocated to the diesel budget, but if need be, the utility will ration diesel. He said Eskom had until the end of January to find a solution.

Matona denied over and over that there is a crisis at Eskom, but acknowledged there are “challenges galore”. He said the leadership of the organisation has been stabilised and there is a plan for each challenge. “It won’t deliver results overnight and we are engaging government.

“There are solutions. We may not have all the tools we need, but we are thinking it through,” he said.

He added that if there is a total blackout, one would be able to say there is a crisis at Eskom, but as long as load shedding is implemented when the national control centre deems it necessary, that won’t happen.

Lennon advised customers to check load shedding schedules and prepare for stage 3.

Load shedding schedules for municipal schedules are available here. Click on your municipality to see days and times affected.

Direct Eskom customers can search for their suburbs here.

If the less invasive phase 1 or 2 is implemented, it will be a bonus. He said Johannesburg decided to implement less frequent but longer periods of load shedding of four hours. Ekurhuleni is shedding in three-hour slots and in the rest of the country it is mostly limited to two hours at a time.

He said suggestions have been made for longer periods and more regular load shedding in an effort to bring more certainty. Eskom is however only implementing load shedding when absolutely necessary and any decision to expand it beyond that will have to be taken outside of Eskom.

Source: Moneyweb