Department of Energy on Energy Efficiency Strategy 2005; Energy Sector Education and Training Authority (ESETA) briefing

Energy

23 August 2010
Chairperson: Ms E Thabethe (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The Department’s presentation indicated that the supply of electricity would fall short of peak demand by
1 387 megawatts in 2011, and by 2 720 megawatts in 2012.  This meant that there needed to be an intensified effort to achieve energy efficiencies through a demand side management programme.  However, the level of funding made available for energy efficiency campaigns had dropped from R15 million in 2008-09, to R10 million in the following two years.

A number of energy efficiency standards for various technologies were under development, covering such items as electric motors, household appliances (such as stoves, washing machines, refrigerators, television sets and other audio-visual appliances), buildings, and energy management, and these standards would soon become mandatory.

Members expressed concern over the lack of action over the installation of solar heating in domestic and public buildings, and were told that a roll-out for the whole country was planned for 2011.

The Department’s energy-saving campaigns were being targeted at young people through electronic media, such as MixIt, as they were known to be able to influence parental behaviour.  Tax incentives were also in the pipeline to encourage people to embrace energy saving.

There were no manufacturers of energy-efficient Compact Fluorescent Lamps in South Africa.  These have to be imported from either Lesotho or China.

The
Energy Sector Education and Training Authority presentation drew attention to the fact that it was much smaller than other Sector Education and Training Authorities, and that it lacked the capacity to provide nationwide coverage.  Limited funding also meant its training targets had to be tailored to what was affordable.

Training was currently focussed on providing basic skills, but the bar needed to be raised to meet future needs.

The
Energy Sector Education and Training Authority board members, drawn from organised labour and business, were not remunerated, and this placed constraints on their motivation to drive skills development through monitoring and evaluation.

The shortage of black water engineers, at a time when the country was facing a water crisis, came under scrutiny.  Members were told this imbalance would be addressed over the next five years.

As Members’  questions indicated far more information was required than had been made available in the presentation, it was decided to schedule a further meeting with the
Energy Sector Education and Training Authority before the end of the year.

Meeting report

Mr Maphuti Legodi, Acting Director, Energy Efficiency and Environment, Department of Energy, briefly outlined the background to the Department’s energy efficiency strategy, which had been published by the Department of Minerals and Energy and approved in May 2005.  This document had set a 12% energy savings target by 2015.  This was considered ambitious, but achievable if all stakeholders worked together to implement the policy.

The emergence of current and projected future electricity supply shortages meant that there needed to be an intensified effort to achieve energy efficiencies through a demand side management programme.  Following the adoption of the strategy, a number of progressive companies had signed an Energy Efficiency Accord, committing themselves to its implementation.

Mr Legodi showed a graph depicting energy targets since 2005, and highlighted the fact that by June of this year, there had been verified evening peak period savings of 70 MW.  He expressed concern, however, at the level of funding made available for energy efficiency campaigns, which had dropped from R15 million in 2008-09, to R10 million in the following two years.

The campaign had been spread across media advertising, public relations activities, schools’ involvement and the electronic media, such as a live web page, a digital game and on-line stories.  A key target had been children, as they had the capacity to influence the behaviour of their parents.  A number of energy efficiency awareness campaign activations had been conducted at 40 schools in Gauteng, while the Department had also partnered with the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) to educate learners about electricity consumption and savings.  A series of 24 lessons on the topic was now part of the school curriculum.

A website – www.savingenergy.co.za – had been developed which aimed to become the central information portal for energy efficiency information.  The new site included information on reasons for saving energy, energy-saving tips, energy role players, links to media editorials, and an energy quiz whereby visitors could access their own energy consumption.

Research had shown that the onset of load-shedding had been the greatest factor in creating awareness that South Africa was facing an energy crisis, followed by television and radio coverage, and the increase in electricity tariffs.  Consumers had been made aware of efforts to deal with the energy crisis through constant reminders to save electricity, the distribution of energy-saving bulbs, the building of new power stations and education programmes.  This had resulted, according to the survey, in 86% of consumers admitting the advertising messages had influenced their consumption behaviour.

Mr Legodi referred to the disposal problem associated with the new energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).  Failed CFLs should not be discarded in normal household waste as they contained small amounts of mercury, and this was hazardous if accumulated in large amounts in ground water.  The Eskom mass roll-out programme included a safe disposal component, and the mercury content had been restricted to 5 mg per lamp, which made them RoHS (Restriction on Hazardous Substances) compliant.  Major retailers were providing lamp collection bins for safe disposal, electronic waste (eWaste) disposal sites were available in Gauteng, and some municipalities provided an annual or periodic hazardous waste collection day.  However, more communication was still needed to deal with this issue.

Looking at the electricity supply and demand situation, he said this needed to be communicated to all the stakeholders involved.  In 2011, supply would fall 1 387 megawatts (MW) short of meeting peak demands, widening to 2 720 MW in 2012.  Both sides of the problem – supply and demand – had to be addressed.  On the supply side, the Department had to ensure the government’s energy policy, infrastructure, processes and systems were in place to deliver continuous energy to all South Africa, taking into account the environmental impact and cost implications.  On the demand side, there needed to be a comprehensive and strong campaign to persuade all stakeholders to shift their behaviour towards the responsible use of energy.

In preparation for 2011-12 requirements, the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) had met with the Treasury team on the International Marketing Council (IMC), where the view was expressed that more funds needed to be made available.  Workshops had been held with municipalities, the South African National Energy Research Institute, the Department of Education, Demand Side Management workgroup members, Eskom and tertiary institutions.  Agreement had been reached on the need for a single co-ordinated and integrated campaign for the country, with clear definitions of roles and responsibilities.  It was important, however, for the government to take the leadership role.

Mr Legodi cited a number of examples of energy efficiency measures being introduced in public works buildings throughout the country, as well as the preparation of tender documents for the appointment of shared energy contractors for 2010-11, with a budget allocation of R75 million.

He also reported on the Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management (EEDSM) allocation of R220 million in 2009-10 to a programme involving about 19 municipalities over a three-year period.  The bulk of this funding had been used to replace about 153 600 street, building and traffic lights, while the remaining funds had been allocated to Eskom to implement the Solar Water Heating (SWH) programme.  EEDSM funding of R328 million was being made available for 2010-11, and R398 million for 2011-12.

Mr Legodi said the EE strategy was being reviewed to see whether, in the light of current developments, the targets were being achieved, and what progress had been made to date.  The Energy Efficiency Accord was also being revised, in co-operation with the industrial sector, to see how it could be improved. 

A Standard Advisory Body on Energy had been formed at the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) which would focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy matters.  A number of EE standards for various technologies were under development, covering such items as electric motors, household appliances (such as stoves, washing machines, refrigerators, television sets and other audio-visual appliances), buildings, and energy management, and these standards would soon become mandatory.  The Department of Trade and Industry had also gazetted amendments to the National Building Regulations, aimed at enforcing the EE standard within the building sector.

He said the Department was trying to transform the appliance market by introducing an appliance labelling programme, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).  This project would intensify government’s efforts to eliminate or discourage the sales of inefficient appliances.

Other initiatives supporting the implementation of the energy efficiency strategy were the R70 million Industrial Energy Efficiency Project, designed to train and create capacity in industry on energy management practices; offer tax incentives for energy efficient practices; support the roll out of solar water heaters; and provide a “green” rating system for commercial and public buildings.

The EE Strategy needed a good infrastructure, such as incentives, legislation, co-operation among all stakeholders, and a monitoring system to be successful in the short term.  Monitoring progress had been a problem since 2005, and required a system as well as access to data for all sectors.  The Minister had signed an agreement with the Swiss Development Corporation to fund the development of an EE monitoring system within the Department of Education.  A parallel project would be undertaken to enable municipalities to monitor electricity sales data on a regular basis

Mr Legodi concluded his presentation by saying draft EE regulations aimed at mandating efficient practices and the supply of energy consumption data by consumers were being prepared for gazetting.

Discussion
Mr E Lucas (IFP) said that people had been talking about solar heating for too long, and it was time for action.  A start could be made with government buildings.  There were many small businesses willing to install solar heaters, but it was difficult for them to get started.  The Department should step in and help.  He also said that town planners should not approve new buildings which were not energy efficient, and asked if there were benefits in using solar power for traffic lights.


Mr O Aphane, Acting Deputy Director General of the Department, said a number of solar water heating pilot projects were being conducted, and it was hoped to introduce a roll-out for the whole country early in 2011.
He agreed that new buildings should be energy efficient, and there were already regulations that houses above a certain size must have solar heating.  Solar powered traffic lights saved an insignificant amount of electricity, but because they did not go out during power failures, which caused motor vehicles to use additional energy to avoid the congestion, they actually had an energy efficiency benefit.

Ms L Moss (ANC) asked how many new job opportunities were being created through the energy efficiency strategy.  Mr Aphane said the Department did not have an appropriate socio-economic impact instrument to measure this aspect.

Miss Moss asked which municipalities were included in the 19 which had benefited from the EEDCM project to replace street, building and traffic lights.  Mr Aphane said it was the six major metropoles, plus the smaller, secondary municipalities.

The Chairperson, expressed doubt over the authenticity of some of the figures presented by the Department, particularly those reflecting progress and awareness.  In her view, too little had been done to educate the public, to justify the figures.  The use of electronic media and web sites was hardly relevant in the townships, where access was strictly limited.

Mr Aphane said the Department had taken the advice of the government communication and information service in choosing electronic media, including MixIt, recognising that children were major users of electronic media, were capable of influencing parental behaviour, and were therefore an ideal target market.  Outside experts had been employed to conduct market research surveys to assess the impact of the Department’s various campaigns.

Mr Lucas asked whether big businesses, some of which enjoyed favourable energy prices, had a role to play in helping to implement the EE strategy.  Mr Aphane conceded that a successful EE programme depended on all stakeholders playing a role, and so far the focus had been on the government and Eskom, while business and civil society had been left behind.  This had had the effect of stretching resources, and 43 companies in the business sector had now been engaged through the National Business Initiative, and would assist in the solar heating roll-out.

Mr P Dexter (COPE) asked if any tax incentives were envisaged as a means of encouraging behavioural changes.  Mr Aphane said the Minister was empowered to motivate energy efficiency regulations, but the Minister of Finance had to concur for tax incentives to be approved.  He said draft regulations had been circulated for public comment, so the process was well advanced.

In response to questions about the availability of CFLs, Mr Aphane said the only local manufacturer was based in Lesotho, while the balance was imported from China.

Concluding the discussion, the Chairperson said she felt a much better job needed to be done than what had been reported in the presentation.  Parliament had to be energy efficient itself, and give a lead to the country.  She urged members of the committee to be champions of EE in their own constituencies.

Energy Sector Education and Training Authority
Mr Funamna Mankaye, Chief Executive Officer, Energy Sector Education and Training Authority (ESETA) said ESETA’s mission was to “facilitate skills development for energy and water sector stakeholders, through providing integrated, value-added education and training services.”

The components of the energy sector were renewable energy, nuclear, gas and electricity, while the components of the water sector were sanitation, waste management, water distribution, water catchment and water reticulation and purification.

The ESETA board was comprised of representatives of major organised labour unions and employer bodies, while the Departments of Energy, Public Enterprises, Water Affairs and Human Settlement were strategically aligned to ESETA’s mandate. 

Mr Mankaye gave a detailed breakdown of the body’s structure of governance, indicating that three committees – Sector Skills Planning and Development, Quality Assurance and Learning Programmes – were at the heart of the organisation’s operations.  However, the structure was very lean, and posed a challenge to provide training to all areas of the country.

ESETA’s training programmes were accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), which enabled ESETA to accredit those who received its training.  This status helped to eliminate “fly-by-night” training operations.

He said ESETA was small compared to other SETAs, with an income in 2010 of just under R148 million, compared to R124 million last year and R96 million in 2008.  There were three sources of levy income:
Administration income (R19,7 million), for day-to-day operating expenses;
Discretionary income (R37,1 million), for projects approved by the board; and
Mandatory Income (R91,1 million), for employers who have met criteria after submitting a workplace skills plan/annual training report in terms of Department of Education regulations.

Mr Mankaye turned to some of the projects with which ESETA had been involved.  The first of these was conducted in collaboration with the Thabo Mbeki Development Trust, during which about R5 million was allocated to train 50 disabled learners in water and electricity disciplines at an entry level, with the objective of preparing them to acquire technical skills which could be used in organisations such as the Rand Water Board and Eskom.  This was a pilot project, and a consistent and constant relationship with these participants would be needed in the future.

Another project, in partnership with the Department of Education, provided basic electrical skills training in 26 rural areas of the North West Province for 2 000 learners.  During this training, the learners fulfilled the practical component of their training by carrying out wiring of neighbouring schools and churches.

The Loyiso project covered nine provinces, and saw learners and interns placed in companies such as Eskom and Coega.  The National Skills Fund (NSF)/ESETA target was to get 550 trainees qualified at various National Qualifying Framework (NQF) levels in electrical engineering (construction and internship), waste water process operations, and water reticulation services.  So far, 373 had qualified – an achievement rate of 68%.

Mr Mankaye said ESETA learning programmes included adult training, and training for those who were currently employed, the unemployed, people needing to be placed in practical employment to gain work experience, and for those who wanted to start their own businesses.

With its Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQA) function, ESETA needed to work very closely with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), and had retained its green indicator status for complying with its criteria.  The next audit of its performance was scheduled for September, 2011.

He presented a list of NQF certificates which had been issued in various disciplines.  These had amounted to   1 959 in 2009-10, bring the cumulative total since 2000 to 8 184.  A feature was the high proportion of electrical engineering qualifications, which was a direct response to the needs of the country.  A further 641 Manpower Training Certificates had been issued to artisans in the past year, bringing the total to 3 304 for the past ten years.  ESETA was assisted with education and training in the field by a large body of registered assessors and moderators.

Mr Mankaye said the list of qualifications and learnerships registered by ESETA in the water sector were supplemented by several skills programmes, while qualifications and learnerships for the energy sector had been developed and were in the process of being implemented.

He said the organisation was facing four challenges.  The first involved governance by the board, which was expected to drive skills development by monitoring and evaluating the work done by ESETA.  However, because participation was voluntary and unpaid, it was difficult motivate the members to provide 100 per cent support and assistance.  Members had their own jobs to consider, but with limited funds, only travel costs could be covered. 

Another challenge was the need for ESETA to have wider national coverage, but at the moment it had only two regional offices.  The number of employees was also too small to achieve a countywide “footprint.”

Administrative processes were being revised to overcome paperwork problems, with a new management information system being introduced to ensure an improved work output.

Finally, there was a need to conduct research to identify relevant learnerships which would assist the government to overcome skills shortages in specific sectors.  It was also essential that the quality of training offered remained at a level that ensured that those undergoing training would get jobs when they qualified.

These challenges meant that ESETA had to work towards improving its performance and quality training, improve its response times in areas such as funding or the awarding certificates, while the board needed to be capacitated and its performance assessed.  A further objective was to strengthen its strategic relationships with major stakeholders such as Eskom, water service providers and relevant government departments.

A prime long-term objective was to align and implement the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS III) by identifying core projects, such as Eskom’s “New Build Projects”, solar water heating, rainwater harvesting and the green economy.  ESETA also wanted to move beyond providing merely basic training, and introduce International Leadership Programmes, for which there was an increasing demand.

Discussion
The Chairperson asked if ESETA was one of the four SETAs placed under administration.  In reply, Mr Nkrumah Kgagudi, Chairperson of ESETA, said that according to the media, it was one of those affected.

Mr J Selau (ANC) asked what had happened to the 2 000 learners who had participated in the electrical skills programme in the North West Province – had they just been “trained and dumped”? 

Mr Mankaye said this was a five-week programme providing on-the-job practical training, at the end of which certificates were issued by the Department of Education.  ESETA then obtained details of the participants so they could be traced to find out what had happened to them, and to see whether they wanted to proceed with more advanced training.  Although there was not enough staff to complete this part of the programme, ESETA was committed to following up on the matter.  Mr Kgagudi added that ESETA needed to see how a company like Eskom could take recruits from this pool and give them further training.

Mr Selau asked whether training targets were set by taking into account ESETA’s financial or capacity constraints, or as a result of an assessment, or research, of what skills were needed. 

Mr Mankaye said the targeted figures were derived from the Department of Higher Education, which identified the needs, and then adapted by ESETA to what could be afforded within a very tight budget. 

Mr Selau expressed concern about the capacity of the board to carry out its functions, as well as its composition. 

Mr Kgagudi said the board was not an executive body – only the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer had executive functions.  The board’s responsibility was to provide strategic leadership and monitor performance.  This meant that board members needed to understand the legislative requirements of the board.  They also needed to develop greater capacity in the areas of risk and financial management.

Mr Selau asked whether ESETA’s objective of nationwide coverage would involve establishing offices in each of the provinces.

Mr Kgagudi said a budget of R18 million did not allow for this type of expansion.  He said ESETA would try to create a presence through strategic projects having an impact in various areas.  It would also try to make use of the facilities of the Departments of Education and Public Enterprises, who were already represented in the provinces.

Mr Selau said no reference had been made to linkages with universities and other training institutions, although the Minister had said there should be a close relationship between the product of training and the social, economic and political needs of the country.

Mr Mankaye conceded this had not been covered in the presentation, but assured members that ESETA was working in close collaboration with universities, and a summit was planned for the end of September.  There was also a “memorandum of understanding” with the colleges to drive certain areas of skills development.

Ms Mathibela said the country was facing a water crisis, and yet there was a shortage of water engineers, particularly those from previously disadvantaged communities.

Mr Mankaye said the Sector Skills Plan was essentially a five-year research document which detailed the skills requirements over the period.  This included an equity component in terms of race distribution.  ESETA wanted to see the emergence of black service providers within the employment equity context.

Mr Dexter commented that the indicators needed to be examined more closely, so that there was an understanding of what the real skills shortages were, what targets should be set, what it would cost to provide the required training, and what benefits would accrue.

Mr S Njikelana (ANC) asked why ESETA did not have a close relationship with the Department of Human Settlement, as it was responsible for providing housing where a major energy saving component existed.  The Chairperson also asked about its relationship with other government departments.

Mr Mankaye said ESETA enjoyed close relationships with the Departments of Energy, Water Affairs and Public Enterprises, all of whom were represented on the board, but had only just formalised a relationship with the Department of Human Settlement, and was in the process of developing projects they would be working on.

Mr Lucas said he was concerned that training was being offered only at the lower level, and even though ESETA was doing well in this area, more specialised training was needed.  For years, people had been doing electrical work, but they did not have a wireman’s licence, so they could not “pass” a building and their entry into the industry was therefore restricted.

The Chairperson asked whether the statistics on training could be broken down to show how many women, youths and disabled persons had benefited from the programmes.  Mr Mankaye said these figures were available, and undertook to report back to the Committee.

After Mr Kgagadi had spent some time elaborating on some of the issues handled earlier by Mr Mankaye, the Chairperson interrupted to say that the more explanations that were put forward, the more it seemed that “we are back in 2000.”  She acknowledged that progress had been made, but suggested that this progress was not quantifiable.  She therefore proposed that another meeting should be scheduled, at which ESETA could present more relevant information.

Mr Kgagudi said it appeared the committee’s areas of interest had not been properly communicated, and as a result they had had to “muddle through.”  He said they could submit the information the Chairperson had requested to the Committee in advance.

The Chairperson said the introduction to the briefing had been well presented, but that the key issues would have to be discussed at a later date.  She hoped a meeting could be scheduled for later this year, as skills development was such an important topic.

The meeting was adjourned.




 



Share this page: